Mozzies, Mud and Mistiness…More of Madeira

The mozzies have come out to play in Funchal. It was getting a bit ridiculous being bitten lots of times in the night, waking up in the middle of the night with both arms itching like mad or the high-pitched squeal of wings around your head so we decided to foil them for the last few nights with mozzie nets…ha ha, that showed them. No more tasty midnight snacks for you 🙂

(Thanks FPH coders for the kind donations for that investment)

Pete hiding from the mozzies

We have continued to keep busy walking and exploring the island. Highlights were the Riberio Frio – Portela walk that took us through the nature reserve area of Madeira. It turns out something like 80% of the island is reserve and this is where all the greenery is. This must be the place where the brochures show pictures of, it is spectacularly green and hilly. Some of the paths are a little scary though. We were glad of the hand rails.

Chris ponders the sheer drop beneath (Riberio Frio- Portela)

Yes this is a tunnel, yes Caroline did go through it…and yes, there was
another way around (Riberio Frio – Portela)

Pete has been getting quite into his walking during our time here and has done a lot more walks than Chris and I. He enjoyed a walk through banana plantations and a farmland valley the other day. Apparently they grow a smaller variety of banana than those you might be most likely to find in Tesco but we have also seen passion fruit growing here. We all tried some of those, along with prickly pears from a local stall. I’m not sure any of us were overwhelmed by either fruit (if cactus can be called a fruit)…crunchy fruit seeds seem to be the order of the day. Next time I think we might strain them first.

Madeira is famous for cake, wine and triangular houses. Santana is the best place to go and see these traditional houses. In fact we haven’t really seen them anywhere else.

Santana house

We hired a car intending to do day’s walk amongst some of the biggest mountains and to make a trip to the sea cliffs of Cabo Girao. Both of these would have been difficult or impossible without it. Cabo Girao is over five hundred metres high (compared to the cliffs of Dover that are around 100m) and again, it’s good that they put a barrier up. We had misty views of Funchal from there. Whilst browsing youtube we found a video of someone who parachuted after riding his motorbike off this cliff. We just looked at the view…that was enough.

Looking down from Cabo Girao

We got up at about 6.30am to get to the summit of Pico do Arreiro in time for sun-rise. We made it in good time round the windy roads with quite a few 1st gear moments up the hills. It was cold but the sunrise was amazing over the clouds below us.

Sunrise at Pico do Arreiro summit

Our intended walk would have taken us from there to Pico Ruivo about 5km away but in the end we only did a small amount of the walk before turning back. The track is officially closed but the fact the path looked good and we had seen other people continuing tempted us into cautiously carrying on with the intention of turning back if it looked unsafe anywhere. After about fifteen or twenty minutes we remembered that we probably wouldn’t be insured to be on the path should anything bad happen so made our way back. We were later to find out that the path was closed due to the forest fires they had a while ago here and doesn’t look set to be repaired until December “when funds permit”. I’m quite glad we did…another couple we met on our second trip up in the car that day had done the same walk as we planned to but were told on their way back from Ruivo by some wardens that they “were very lucky” not to be hurt by wind-blown stones. I do wonder just how unsafe it can be if wardens are allowed on the path but nevermind I’m glad we were sensible eventually!

We saw none of these stones on our short walk but were scared a bit by the drops to either side and the relatively narrow bits of path. The mist sort of helped because you couldn’t see all that much to either side but yet again, we were glad someone had put railings up! Vertigo sufferers look away now…

“Don’t look down…oh no, I can’t see anything anyway…”
(Pico Arreiro)

We spent a lot of the day driving around the island instead which was good. Lots of views, some very tame birds and good weather.

View looking towards Pico Arreiro (near Riberio Frio)

Tame birds at the same view point – they enjoyed our lunch too.

Madeira wine and strange hand-knitted hats near Riberio Frio.
(I suspect Hermione Granger is trying to free house-elves again.)

The second drive up to Pico Arreiro on the way back to the boat
– this time a view 🙂

As I write this, the cabaret across the marina at one of the bars is in full swing and unfortunately, still no one has told the man and what I assume to be his son that they aren’t very good. Oh well, at least it’s getting easier to sleep through this entertainment the longer we stay here

One Response to “Mozzies, Mud and Mistiness…More of Madeira”

  1. […] and why on earth could hermione granger knitting bring our blog up? (click here for answer) […]

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