Thu 24 Sep 2009 19:49
Another place with lots of mountains!
Lucky enough to arrive in time for a local religious festival. This consists of a Virgin Mary statue being brought from a cliff top chapel (above our marina) by sea to the next village and back again. Each boat is decorated with palm leaves, has a DJ playing very load club music (album versions!) and is then overloaded with very drunk dancing locals. The village has shot bars and meat stands set up around the streets. 5 foot kebab sticks are filled with the freshly butchered meat of your choice, rubbed with salt and herbs for you to cook on a public beach wood fuelled barbecue, or they will do it for you (us!). 10 Euros buys you 14 shots of Poncha (much enjoyed by Hellie and Murray) - Caroline stuck to the vodka and Red Bull.
Most of the village drink, drink and eat all night and stop at midnight the next night once the virgin Mary has been returned to her chapel.
As Religious festivals go, this one is not listed in the guides, but is strongly recommended by the three of us (somewhat in contrast to Ramadan).
Lavada (waterway paths, often cobbled) walking provides great views of lush mountainous countryside. We first walked lavada do Tomos. Had a narrow (1 foot) path with a sheer drop down 1500 feet with no fence. Hellie froze but Murray rescued her by playing trains. Hellie was so scared she was wet with sweat and shaking. The aftershock left her feeling sick (and not needing Senna any more). Luckily Hellie was fine for the next one as it had fences.
Meat kebabs, garlic bread, fab views, friendly locals, sea wildlife and alcohol make Madeira a great place to visit.