So here I am in Madeira. Quite literally, this has been a holiday of highs and lows. The Island itself is beautiful, the people have been fabulous and so is the food. The weather could have been better. The Madeiran’s tell us you can have four seasons in one day here and believe me, we have seen that!
I said in my last blog that I loved the island, but the love affair waned a bit in the last week. The constant noise of the Cockerel at 5am, dogs barking and drilling all day, as you tried to relax on the roof terrace started to grate. I did try and get to the Ocean to soothe the Soul, only to find there is no Ocean to get to, unless you pay 13 Euro’s to get into a Lidos, which is a man made rock pool.
The final straw came on Thursday, when I was stuck in the hotel room because of the torrential rain. So we decided to move from Funchal to Calheta, where we are now looking out to sea and enjoying the feel of sand in our toes. Now I feel like I am on holiday and the Calm is returning. I sound like a right Moaning Minnie, when to be fair it is beautiful island, it has been the practicalities of Hotel and location that has caused the issues.
The Highlights of Madeira
- The Madeiran people are lovely and make a lot of effort to make you feel welcome and ensure you recommend it to your friends. The Madeiran people know that Tourism brings money to the Island and they are really appreciative of the Tourists.
- Green Devils Jeep Safari – We went on a Jeep safari into the mountains. George, our Tour Guide was really knowledgeable about the Island. driving off road was an exhilarating experience. I felt really safe even when we were off road looking down 1,400 metres into a Ravine. It was also really good value for money.
- The Cable Car is worth a Trip. The day we went the weather was not great and the winds were getting up which was a bit hairy! Breath taking. It was a bit chilly so we came back down rather than take the Toboggan which lots of people have said is great fun.
- The Lava Tube caves was spectacular, certainly beat Wooky Hole. The guide was knowledgeable and did not feel rush you through the caves. We watched a 3D show telling us how the island was formed from Volcanic Ash and why it so fertile.
- The Madeirans are not afraid of hard work. The Madeiran’s have terraced the mountains and built the Levada’s which are a feat of engineering and strength. Every piece of land is used to grow food for their own personal use or to sell. The average monthly wage here is 500 Euro.
- The scenery takes your breath away. The mountains are covered in lush vegetation. The locals grow Banana’s, Grapes and Sugar Cane on the side of the mountain. The Banana’s are exported to Portugal, as they are considered too small by the EU to be sold in the rest of Europe! Wrong shape and size nonsense! Especially when they taste so good.
- The Food here is delicious. One of the specialities is the Espada, which is a succulent boneless fish served with banana’s. The Breads and pastries are to die for. I have enjoyed a Steak Prego, which is grilled steak in a bun, on more than one or two occasions.
We still have another few days to discover more about the island. I will probably desert Chris one day and do a Levada walk. It has been an interesting holiday. It is not a place that I am likely to return, but that’s because I like to go to discover new places.
I would come if I was coming with my mate Sonia, as she and I would be out and about doing the walks, but it is not the holiday for Chris and I as there is not enough common ground for us both.
Is Madeira the holiday for you?
Yes if you are the type of Holiday maker who loves to;
- Explore: this holiday is ideal as you can be out every day doing something different. Your idea of a rest is to be active.
- Walk or Climb Mountains : Madeira is famous for its Levada walks. “Levada” is a Portuguese word derived from the word “levar” – which means to carry and is roughly translated as “carriageway”, but more correctly defined as mini-canal. The mini-canals are irrigation systems developed to distribute water from the rainfall heavy and wet regions on the north of Madeira island to the drier sun parched regions of the south.
- Keep Fit: as everywhere in Madeira you are on the side of a Mountain, so it came as a shock to us who live in pretty Flat Berkshire. We have seen a number of people with health issues here who have ended up spending Euro’s on Taxi’s, as they can’t manage the 30 minute walk to town.
- Horticulture and Botany: The Botanical gardens are spectacular and the flowers are beautiful. We have been here for the Flower Festival which is a sight to behold.
- Fish: There are great places to fish and plenty of trips for those who love to deep sea fish.
- Go with the Flow: You are not bothered if it is Sunny every day.The weather here is changeable and to be fair that might be because we are here early in the season. We have had several cloudy days and for the first week we had rain at some point every day.
If all of the above is your idea of heaven then Madeira is the place to come. I have family and friends who come here often and love it. We booked this holiday on a damp Winters night and really needed to have done a bit more research. If we had we would have come to this side of the Island, or made sure we had an Ocean Front hotel in Funchal. Oh well I live and learn .
Signing out from sunny Madeira and we will catch up next week, when I will be up to my eyes in washing and getting ready to go back to work! But for now I am savouring every moment.
Love and Light