Second time we ventured into the Atlantic (first time was in Azores), we sought out the beauties of Madeira. Not much of an effort actually, apart from the nifty-shifty weather. From afar and from close up, Madeira looks all around like the entrance to Moria. Either that or the Cloud Central Headquarters. In-between some temporary windows of clearer skies, off we went, exploring around.
First stop: Funchal centre – a sprawling city it what is one of the flattest areas of the island, not like the hills actually prove any match to humans will of living there. Crowded vibrant busy place! After tasting all sorts of fruits in its famous market – Mercado dos Lavradores (think banana-pineapple and all sorts of cross-breedings!), we headed out to some quiet time at Santa Catarina Park, overlooking the city. Those colorful doors painted in all sorts of ways? Rua de Santa Maria. Good walk around there!
Another day we went to the extreme East of the island for some raw rough scenery, past Canical, towards Ponta do Castelo. Mind your step if you ever get around there. The wind can knock you down in some places, but that makes for a nice wavy spectacle. :)
From there we went on the North side, to Porto da Cruz and Faial. More breaking waves, more cliffs, and A LOT of waterfalls.
Then Santana, with its traditional houses. Bit of forest here, a miradouro there, wait for the clouds to pass (never too long) and then we made out way to Ilheus da Janela, some tall rocks of a spectacular appearance. Also spectacular are the walls there, showcase of a violent and energetic past, but that’s more of a treat for a geologist’s eyes.
After checking out Porto Moniz and just looking at the natural pools there (sad faces here as it was damn cold and I like my ocean warm – it was still February!), we went walking on one of the famous levadas. We chose 25 Fontes. Not so impressed to be honest, but I guess I got spoiled by Madeira with too much of spectacular on the high coasts. After that we headed back on the South coast to Ribeira Brava. Also to check out is Miradouro de Cabo Girão. Nice vertigo feeling there, as you can walk out on a glass-and steel floor above a 580m high cliff.
Last day: Ponta do Sol and Cristo Rei for the some more nice views and that was it! Thank you, Madeira! :)