Friday, January 02, 2009

Christmas Day - 25 December 2008

Christmas Day started with more heavy rain, but by the time we had dressed in waterproof jackets & leggings, it had eased off somewhat, so we set out to explore Funchal. Nativity sceneSanta in his trainThe storm that had temporarily prevented us from landing was still with us in the form of infrequent short, sharp, heavy downpours and huge waves battering the foreshore. As we wandered along the promenade we were treated to some spectacular displays as the waves smashed into the sea wall and created huge fountains of spray.
Storm clouds over the chapelA sunny break for the hotel guests
The Complexo Balnear da Barreirinha, a bathing area near the Sao Tiago Fortress, was well awash with the sea breaking over the area used for sun loungers and cascading into the pool. I don't imagine they were losing any business as the complex would be closed at this time of year but nevertheless it was all quite impressive.
The bathing complex gets a showerWaves crashing over the foreshore
The town has the Christmassiest feel of any of our northern hemisphere Christmas destinations. Forget the Blackpool Illuminations, forget the Regent St lights switch-on, if you want to see Christmas in lights the place to be is Funchal in December. I have no idea how long it takes the Municipality to set it all up and I shudder to Foreshore lightsChristmas angelsthink of the electricity bill, and they certainly have not heard of saving the planet by switching off the lights; millions upon millions of bulbs set the town ablaze with festive cheer. And, as you wander around gazing at the spectacle you are subtly serenaded by carols and Christmas songs from the temporary speakers set on lampposts throughout the central business district.

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