Saturday, April 28, 2018

Cruise - Madeira

Madeira was, by far, our favorite port. We both really wished we could have spent several more days (at least) exploring the island. As it was, we really only got to see Funchal and I'm sure just a small slice of that.
Early morning arrival
Funchal and a foggy mountain top
The weather was cool with lots of cloud cover. The mountain top was enclosed in fog which made us happy we hadn't booked the hike up to Pico do Arieiro (one of the highest peaks).

While wandering around and exploring the city we found many nifty shops that sold not tourist-stuff but everyday items: sewing machines and supplies, fabric stores, butcher shops, a huge fish market, and hardware stores with tiles that you could turn into murals.

The fish market was amazing. Very large, very clean, and it didn't smell like fish at all. We really wish we could have tried the scabbard fish but it was too early in the day for lunch.
Espada or scabbard fish
Not sure if this was tuna or swordfish
Can anyone translate?
The butcher shop was really neat - hanging smoked meats, beautiful cuts of pork and beef, and olives! I bought a smallish bag for 2 Euro and spent the day nibbling on them. They went great with the bakery sandwich of chorizo and garlic butter, baked into a traditional Madeiran bread Bola do Caco. Definitely need to figure out how to make that properly.
The olives were awesome
We opted to take the cable car up to Monte, a small village that overlooks Funchal. Great price (11 Euro per person, one way) and very pleasant views. It is 12,000 feet long and has a vertical rise of over 1,800 feet. Really glad we didn't have to make that climb by foot!
Back toward the harbor
Up toward Monte
Our Lady of Monte Church
That's just lovely
There are botanical gardens up there but we opted to just wander the streets and enjoy the local gardens. They grow bananas! And gorgeous geraniums are everywhere.
From the churchyard
Getting back down (at least 4 km of steep grade) could be done by walking, taking the cable car, or riding in a toboggan! I mean, who wouldn't???
Loading up
These toboggans used to transport goods but sometime in the 1850's tourists started asking for rides. Now it's a quick ride down 2 km and it's well worth the 30 Euro cost. I only wish I could actually convey how very fun and exciting this ride was. Once they drop you off, you can take a taxi or bus back to town, or do what we did which was explore by foot.
Steep, curvy, waxed streets make for an exciting ride
Being pulled on a rare flat area
It just doesn't do it justice...
Definitely a place we want to come back to.

Hidden lane
Just gorgeous

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