Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

                                                        Oosterdam docked at Funchal Harbor

October 25, 2009

When we were in Funchal on the world cruise, one of the ladies Susan knew said that she would gladly live there; it was her favorite place we’d been.  Susan wasn’t so sure, because her favorite island [as a place to live] was Malta.  After this visit, she's added Madeira to her list.  It is a beautiful island, and also a comfortable place.  

Our first stop was at Pico Areeiro, atop a mountain at an elevation of 6000 feet.  There was not much up there beyond a nice, extensive view.  When it came time to leave, our bus was not there - it had gone to rescue a group from a bus that had broken down most of the way up the mountain.  

Our next stop was fun for Susan.  It was a hotel next to the golf course, and the place where she’d had lunch on the world cruise.  This time we stopped for tea.  What was fun for her was that she recognized the head waiter.  She mentioned to him that they’d had their picture taken together the last time, so he insisted they do it again.  How could anyone say no to that?

Our drive back to Funchal was very scenic, and went past the airport, with its long runway built out over the ocean.  The people make good use of their space: the area under the runway has been turned into an athletic complex.

Once back in Funchal, we went to Blandy’s the winemaker that makes the famous Madeira wine, where we got to taste three varieties of the wine.  We left the tour after the tasting, since we were within easy walking distance of the ship.  We decided to have lunch on shore, because Susan wanted to try the Espada (black scabbard fish) that she’d had for lunch on the last visit.  We found it at a dockside restaurant, where it was served with a fried banana on top.  We also enjoyed a glass of Coral beer, a local one, and a dark beer brewed at the restaurant (we shared that one).  After a very pleasant and relaxing lunch we walked back to the ship with a stop at the dockside ruins, which are a great vantage point for taking photographs, including the replica of the Santa Maria de Colombo (one of Columbus’ ships), which is moored in the harbor.

One detail we learned about the island is that the name “Funchal” is derived from the name for fennel, a wild form of which covered the island when it was discovered.

It was good to be back on Madeira.  It has become one of the places we can gladly return to many times.  There are a few more pictures in the photo album.

                                                                     Punta Areeiro

© Susan L. Stone 2015