Good times in Madeira - part 1
Richard and Janet
Thu 21 Aug 2014 16:02
On Tuesday 12 August we tied up on the jetty at exactly 2pm. It was wonderful to step off the constantly moving boat onto solid ground although this is a strange feeling for a while as the ground feels as if it is moving! The first thing we did was wash the engine with fresh water, hose down the roller furlers and then the whole boat ... and fill the tanks. Then it was off to the showers to enjoy a good wash ourselves. After that it was time for cold alcoholic beverages and making phone calls to our families. Kevin and Lise treated us to a delicious meal in the hotel restaurant, where not only was the food excellent, but our host, Jose was a great entertainer, with a wonderfully dry sense of humour... a propitious welcome to this friendly island!
On Wednesday we spent the day sorting out things on the boat and doing tons of laundry. There is only one washer and dryer, but what a lovely laundry room... big and spacious with an ironing board and a table to fold on... and books on book shelves!
We also moved the boat from the visitors’ pontoon where we had rocked somewhat during the night, to a more sheltered spot. See us in the second pontoon just below the walkway in the photo below.
By Thursday we were ready for an outing and all caught the local bus into Funchal. It is only about 13 km as the crow flies, but on the twisty roads and with all the stops it takes one and a half hours. We sat back and enjoyed the scenery and were happy to have someone else in charge of this journey! On the way in we had a smart air-conditioned bus, but were not so lucky on the way home, although I am not complaining... generally I love being warm! We were amazed at the way the Madeirans have used as much of the hillsides as they can, with homes and gardens covering every possible space. On arriving in town we first visited the chandlery and got one new grab rail. We have discovered that two would be good near the door, especially in rough conditions. We found a second one yesterday in a shop at the marina in Calheta so are now good to go.
We had a lovely lunch sitting outside at the Apolo Cafe and then explored the lanes in the newer part of town. Every lane and pavement has black and white mosaic which is very attractive. We visited the embroidery shop and made a few purchases of the beautiful Madeiran handiwork. I bought a dish towel (with a strelitzia on it) as ornamental souvenirs are no good on a small boat.
We stopped off in the town gardens which have a small selection of the amazing flora on this island. Strelitzia (the South African national flower) is found in abundance, cycads, frangipani, jacaranda trees, hibiscus, bougainvillea and many other SA favourites. Hydrangeas and agapanthus grow wild on the county road sides! We finally bought some delicious fruit... pawpaw, grapes, peaches, grenadillas, mangos, kiwi fruit and oranges from a street stall before getting the express bus at 4.30 pm... only took an hour to get home!
Watch out for the next installment covering our drive around the island over two days.
1. First night dinner, with our host Jose
2. Pleasanr laundry room at the marina
3. Good Company in her new berth
4. Richard outside Mare Chandlery
5. Apolo Cafe
6. Lane with mosaic paving
8. At the fruit stall