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Tuesday 12th October 2021Blog from the Edge - 15

Alison’s Blog from the Edge- 15 relates our latest explorations of the island and some new discoveries.

 

Poncha, Potatoes and Pool - Life in Madeira

 

This last lovely week was spent seeing Madeira anew with family again.  Suffice to say, my niece Emily has left already planning her next visit with her friends, and mapping out Levada walks and hikes!

 

We had one gentle meandering day walking the streets of Funchal, and then Emily (plus her parents and Paul and I) took the obligatory cable car up to Monte and raced down via the toboggan. On another day, we went out on a little boat, aiming to land on the secluded beach of Calhau da Lapa (the only access). Sadly, the sea was too choppy (I had already slipped getting on and bruised my thigh 😳) but we enjoyed sailing along the coast and had a swimming stop later for those who dared! 

 

A very memorable day was a trip out with Paulo, who took us around the north and east of the island, visiting Cabo Girao glass viewpoint (the highest in Europe) then down to pretty Camara de Lobos (famous for the Churchill connection).  Next, we travelled high through Curral das Freitas - or Nuns’ Valley: nuns took refuge there during the French privateer attacks from 1492-7.  From there we went on to the highest point on the island - Mount Pico at 2351m. The weather was perfect so we got stunning photos! We dropped down a little to Santana and had a lovely meal: we girls had the local Scabbard fish (found only in Madeira) with banana - delicious 😋! We all continued on around Sao Vicente, Ponta Delgado and finished at a local Poncha bar at the top end of Ribeira Brava - a long but unforgettable day!

 

Gilbert, our taxi driver, picked us up one night from Ribeira Brava then stopped at his home in Tabua on the way home and persuaded Paul to go in with him. They arrived back in the taxi with two huge bags of potatoes - they’d just dug them up from Gilbert’s potato patch in a cave in the dark! Gilbert then took us higher up to a little isolated Poncha bar, probably just frequented by locals - it had a real feeling of the ‘Wild West’ to it🤣

 

My sister’s pool was a big draw for us all - the weather was glorious all week. At this time of year it starts to get a bit mixed and cooler.  We had a fantastic last evening meal at Muralha’s in Ribeira Brava, accompanied by a stunning sunset.

 

Our next visitors could well be my daughter and family again for school half term week (at the end of this month) but flights have rocketed in price. It’s so unfair that airlines do this! If they do arrive, I’ll be blogging about it! Thank you for the lovely feedback for my earlier blogs.

Posted on October 12th 2021 on 01:02pm
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Friday 08th October 2021Blog from the Edge, 14

Alison’s latest Blog from the Edge tells of our visit to Funchal to see its vibrant flowers.

 

Flags and Flowers 

 

The prayers flags are flying over our house in Madeira and we enjoyed fabulous flowers as we carried on exploring Funchal this week.

 

With the arrival of my sister Judith and brother-in-law Neil at the beginning of the week, and also of our combined small extra shipment of belongings, many days have been spent arranging, hanging and sorting furniture and paintings at their house and catching up with jobs at our own place. There was also the problem of having no hot water at their house (sounds familiar) - Nono to the rescue again!  After a visit to Tabua garden centre with Judith and Neil, a delivery of plants arrived for them which we duly potted up.  I resisted the temptation to buy more for us!

 

We went to Funchal on Tuesday. The actual flower festival parade was on the Sunday, but Funchal was still full of flowers - and the flower girls! It was actually a Bank Holiday on the Tuesday, so it was very quiet through the day - the perfect time to meander and explore the intriguing streets and back streets without the crowds!  The atmosphere picked up at night, when we enjoyed cocktails and a lovely meal.

 

Judith and Neil’s daughter has arrived for a week so we are planning more trips out, which you can read about in my next blog! 🤗

Posted on October 08th 2021 on 06:24pm
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Monday 13th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 11

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 11 from Alison, as we carry on working the garden and exploring the area.

 

Funchal, Fiesta and a Rainbow

 

We’ve had a quietish week this week. I decided it would be a shame for number 11 to be blank, so I went ahead with my blog.

 

We took another trip into the big city of Funchal via the Rapido bus, there and back this time - a much quicker journey, but not as scenic (as there are so many tunnels). The price is the same. The trip primarily was for bureaucratic matters, but we took time out to bimble around the side streets and sea front and saw the first cruise ship for a while in the harbour. We found an art supplies shop for Paul 👍 - and then visited the big garden centre again. More plants were ordered - mainly bougainvillea for our perimeter wall.

 

The weather was cloudier this week with some rain, mainly through the night. It was actually a bit of a relief from the intense sun.  Because of the rain, weeds pop up before your eyes, so consequently Paul has been clearing the garden again and keeping on top of the orchard whilst I’ve been hanging huge curtains at my sister’s house.

 

We took a trip to Madeira’s equivalent of our B&Q to source items for my sister’s place - Nono (our electrician guy) kindly offered to take us. On the way back, we stopped for a beer at a little village and its very busy quinta (old, traditional house in Madeira) - they were just starting a fiesta. The priest was making his speech in the local church and outside people were gathering.

 

There was a lovely rainbow tonight - everything was green and sparkly and fresh!

Posted on September 13th 2021 on 12:32pm
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Monday 06th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 10

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 10 from Alison - a good insight into exploring Funchal for those of you who are planning a visit in the future.

 

Friends in the City

 

This week was highlighted by a lovely visit from friends who were staying in their favourite hotel in Funchal (Porto Santa Maria situated on the sea front, next to the old fort). 

 

We decided to return the visit before their week was up and rather than taking the 20 minute taxi ride to them, we decided we would take the local bus.  This was a Sunday and the ‘Rapido’ service doesn’t run on this day, so a full 1.5 hrs later, we arrived!

 

It was a lovely ride - twisting and turning up and down through numerous little villages along the way to Funchal, with fantastic views - for the princely sum of 3.35 euros each. We dodged heavy showers all day - a good excuse to shelter under cafe/bar umbrellas 🤣 - but even in the rain it was still warm and beautiful.  After a memorable chateaubriand for the men and fish for the girls it was getting a bit late (and dark), so we decided that a taxi back was the sensible option!   

 

Other days this week saw us putting in a few sweaty hours clearing my sister and brother-in-law’s garden in preparation of their impending visit to their holiday villa at the end of the month. A cooling dip in their pool was our reward after!  Their two mango trees were laden and so had to be picked - mango chutney on the hob this week, I think!  Also a walk up the hillside above our house revealed a mixture of impressive new villas mixed in with a smattering of the old.  Possible inspiration for future paintings for Paul perhaps?

Posted on September 06th 2021 on 11:47am
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