Thursday, 5 June 2014

Madeira...on and off the island.

Hello to you on Thursday 5th June.

I'm writing this from the island of Madeira where I'm having a holiday week. The internet connections are iffy at best and my online interaction limited to a few snatched moments between sightseeing and eating superb food and imbibing lovely cocktails and wines.

So far, we've enjoyed the open top bus trip around the city of Funchal. Funchal has carved its way up around the bay, the habitation quite splendidly different. There's no same-iness to the architecture, even though much of it is holiday accommodation and hotels. The basic white cuboid doesn't feature, thank goodness, most of the buildings being of wonderful geometric shapes to take advantage of the sunshine and sea outlook. The colours of the brickwork and rendering are pleasantly muted light pastels. From an inexpert eye, I believe, the light terracotta roofs of houses look traditional topping pastel walls.

Sadly our (my husband and I) communication problems are not only centred around access to the internet. We have discovered that our phones don't work, both similar types, which means that photos taken on them are unable to be posted to dropbox! But since I can transfer direct to my laptop I can process some of those photos. My digital camera battery has died on me and the charger we have brought is only for my husband's camera. (Silly me) No photos then, at present, from my camera, which is unfortunate as some were taken during our trip on the cable car. Watch this space though, for updates!

Yesterday, I made friends with Vasco Da Gama.

I really did. He's the parrot on the vessel named the Santa Maria de Colombo. This is a replica barque, built by Robert Wintje in 1998, in the fishing village of Camara de Lobos, Madeira, for tourist sailing around the bay of Funchal.

The three hour sail was a lot of fun. Mostly powered by engine the vessel putterred out of the harbour and went west till we reached a turning point on the coast, not as far as the village of Camara de Lobos but an hour + out of Funchal.

the water in the bay is!

unfurl the sails me hearties! 

At the halt point the captain cut the engines and the orders were given to unfurl the sails.'Jack be nimble, Jack be quick' nipped up the rigging and did the honours.  

Moving very slowly under wind power we sampled some Madeira grog and 'ginger' cake. Very tasty!

sitting directly below means no far off photo of the sails

After a while, the sails were re rolled and engine power used to take us to the far side of the Bay of Funchal (to the east of the bay) where we were treated to a natural display from a couple of bottlenose dolphins.

A great day out since the dolphins weren't the only ones entertaining us. A coachload of French tourists were also on board, a happy group who sang songs of the sea. My translation skills were limited to a few words here and there, but I was able to sing along with 2 songs in English. Sadly, my recall of sea shanties from school learning was absolutely zilch, so I couldn't return the favour. Bet they were glad!

Tonight we are going on a traditional evening of eating, drinking and local entertainment. Watch this space for updates.

From Madeira...


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