Mordor found - it's in Madeira
Day 2 around the island.
We headed up out of Machico into the hills behind - we think the centre of the eastern half is is probably the best part of the island - it is greenest and less populated that the south side of the island which in some areas is covered with terraces full of Bananas - these get a bit boring to look at to be honest when every hill is covered.
By the sea there are more tropical plants but as you head up the hills it turns to thick woodland (a bit like nice woods in the UK) then higher up still to forests of Eucalyptus that smell very nice indeed. . . then to Pine, then at the very highest peaks more like moorland.
This is the view out to the North and to the village of Porto Da Cruz
We then headed higher up to a place called Ribeiro Frio as there are hikes along a levada ( this is a watercourse in Madeira - the rivers are managed to a degree and directed with the water being channeled off - I suppose to towns and houses) Ribeiro Frio was in a stunning valley and the Levada was also used for raising trout - only a couple of houses in sight and the hills completely forested. There is water everywhere in the mountains - streams and brooks and riverbeds that were mostly dry right now - but can imagine they probably end up huge after big storms.
Adam walking in Alderley Edge, Cheshire . . . . or even Adam walking in Ribeiro Frio
Susie in Ribeiro Frio
Welcome to the village of Mordor (or the Madeirans call it Curral Das Freiras) - well it could be Mordor it is surrounded by huge cliffs on all sides, and the clouds probably shround an evil fortress - the only road goes through a long tunnel to get there - there is an old road that you can see on the side of the cliff/mountain to the right on the photo clinging to the near vertical stone mountain side - it has been closed off - perhaps it was just to scary and/or dangerous for even the Madeirans, although we had to go up something similar to get to this viewpoint . . . . through the cloud and fog, probably a good job so we couldn't see over the edge. The viewpoint we were on was at the top of a pretty much vertical mountain/cliff 1100 metres above sea level so probably about 800 metres above the surroundings - there was a sign at the top telling you not to throw objects over the edge - where's the fun in that?
Down by the coast at Camara De Lobos - there was a small old town, apparently it is a fishing town but most of the boats seemed to be hauled out at the sides. There are lots of bars (specialising in serving beautiful Madeiran Drinks such as Nikita (Pineapple ice-cream, wine, beer and sugar) and Pe De Cabra (goats foot - mmmm) - Madeira Wine, Stout, Egg and Chocolate. Even in the spirit of travelling and trying local things - we were too scared of both drinks to partake. Guess the fishing is not so busy at the moment since the old town seemed to be populated by groups of Madeirans playing cards and getting into some pretty animated 'discussions' on the outcome.
A couple of pictures around Funchal.
Funchal 'old town'