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Monday, October 29, 2012

Madeira 24 to 27 October 2012

 24 October we went to the old market of Funchal
above the entrance to the fish hall is a tiled picture of a market scene with some men carrying the black Baracuda-like Madeiran Espada fish
 there were many of deep water Espada fish for sale

Had a coffee at the market cafe while waiting for the rain to cease
 then walked over to the cable car

 for a trip up the hill to Monte

From the exit from the cable car we walked the trail to the Levada dos Tornos which goes to Camache.
Due to the heavy rainfall the waterfalls were in full flow
after about 30 minutes we reached the Levada as it emerged from a low tunnel
 Due to the rain, the Levada was overflowing in places
 returning to Monte - renegociating the route through the fallen trees

 the church at Monte
 visbility not too good - can just see the cruise ships in Funchal Harbour
 A bus returns several sledge drivers
 The wicker sledges were in great demand
 Paid our 15 euro per person fee and enjoyed the crazy ride down the steep road

 back on Dutch Link for a game of Cartegena
25 October rented a car for a tour via Santana in the north east of the island

below are somewhat touristic versions of the traditional Madeira houses one sees in some of the rural areas
 Drove up to the start of the hike to Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira. However we were not sufficiently warmly dressed for the  cold and windy conditions so aborted.
see blog link below for this hike which we did in 2010

 and walked part of the beautiful Caldeira Verde Levada trail
see blog link below for thids hike which we also did in 2010
 passing many waterfalls on the way
 26 October the weather improved so we drove to the Encumeada pass in the center of the island
 view from Encumeada
 and walked part of the Levada do Norte at Folhadal.

looking back to the Encumeada Pass

 several Madeiran Chaffinches entertained us

 here the levada emerges from a tunnel

 which we explored for a hundred meters or so. A pretty moth was found on the tunnel wall
 back to the tunnel entrance
 stopped at this convenient cafe at the start of the Levada walk
 for elevenses with a view
 continued to the northern side of the island
 to the coastal town of Sao Vincente
 after doing a few stretches
 past vineyards
 crossed a foot bridge at Sao Vincente to visit the extensive caves
 the tour starts with a 3D video
  then explores some 700 metrs of the 1.5 km network of volcanic pipes

 afterwards had a picnic lunch on the stony beach at Sao Vincente
 with views of the high cliffs of the northern coast

 walked back to the car along an old path along the river
 looking back at the strange little chapel carved into a rock in the middle of the river
 drove from Sao Vincente westwards along the new coastal road, a large part of which is in tunnels in the cliffs

 view of part of the old coastal road - no longer in use due to landslides such as this one close to the watefall
 the small coastal town of Seixal

Seixal harbour
 Jeannette could not resist doing a sun salutation on the diving board over the Seixal rock pool

 another balancing act
 Discovered the delights of the Eco Club - a funky cafe by the Seixal rock pool
 the furniture was made from recycled waste - we sat in a sawn-off bath on old car tyres, the coffee tables were supported by old washing machine drums
 the vivacious artist herself posed for a photo
 the menu was printed on an old LP record
 some other tables were made from old pallets
 as were  some of the settees

 all in all a very special cafe
 After leaving Seixal, we drove along the Via Rapido back to the south coast through some very long tunnels under the Ecumeada pass with the objective of seeing the Faja das Padras lift close to Cabo Girao on the south coast .
 This cable lift is just for the staff of the restaurant over 400 meters below
click on below link to previous blog when we sailed past this lift
 this is the top of the public lift

 the public lift runs on rails bolted into the cliff face
 can just see the lift car almost at the bottom of the cliff
view from top of lift
 we had wanted to visit the nearby new Cabo Giroa viewing platform but this was closed as workmen were putting the final touches ready for the inaugural opening on Wednesday 30 October.

Afterwards stopped at the fishing village of Camara de Lobos - made famous as Sir Winston Churchill is painted here (we were disappointed to find that the restaurante named after him, which used to serve good food and had a superb view over the harbour, had closed down two years previously
 rounded off the day with a very pleasant meal in the Santa Marie street in the old part of Funchal
 followed by a nightcap at the Fado bar - Susana Andrade was one of the Fado singers that entertained us

27 October was also a fine day so we drove to the east of the island to do the hike to the Ponta de Sao Lourenco
 Start of the hike
 last time we did this hike, the soil was barren and red coloured - see below link to july 2010 blog
. Due to all the rain we have had lately, everywhere was green - the desert had indeed bloomed

 many lizards make their home here
 Quinta do Lorde marina and new village - the very picturesque brand new village and hotel will be opened this December
 ended the trip with lunch at the Quinta do Lorde Marina cafe
before going to the airport to say a reluctant bye bye

1 comment:

mgjb said...

Quite a hike! Could the youngsters keep up with you old folk?
It appears that Sandy is far enough away from you to cause trouble. The city slickers of NY will have a hard time.
Greetings from Bilthoven!