Friday, January 02, 2009

Around the coast - 26 December 2008

Another showery day, so we decided to stay near the sea, but explore further a field from Funchal. Winston Churchill enjoyed painting Camara de Lobos, a local fishing village 14k from Funchal. We intended to get a bus, but as it was Boxing Day & still a public holiday, the bus we needed did not appear to be running. So, in totally uncharacteristic style, we negotiated a deal with a taxi driver. We arrived in the fishing village just as the sun drove away the showers, and enjoyed the small, but picturesque spot. After the village the road became more torturous as we continued on to Cabo Girao, the second highest sea cliffs in Europe (Norway takes first place).

On the way, the taxi driver treated us to a drink of Poncha; a local drink of lemon, orange, honey & sugar cane brandy: a little medicinal for us, but apparently a local favourite. You can buy bottles of it already made but the lady in the bar made it fresh for us so that was quite special.

The cliffs have a viewing platform with brilliant views. We were fortunate to see the views, as we drove through heavy rain and total whiteout to the cliffs, and once again, the shower passed, and allowing us to enjoy the views from 580m above sea level.

Returning to Funchal we missed the central markets by a few minutes but the supermarkets were still open so we selected some Madeira wine to sample as Winston Churchill once said, "to drink Madeira is to sip history with every glass." A walk around the yacht marina took us past the sea wall that is decorated by crews of trans-Atlantic yachts before they set off from Madeira to conquer the ocean waves. As the paintings fade with time they are over painted by newer crews so the wall is an ever-changing mosaic celebrating the exploits of those brave enough to have made it this far from either Europe or the Americas.

Once darkness had fallen we ventured out to the Lido end of the foreshore to look at the lights at that end of town and made our way back just before the heavens opened once again.

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