VACATION IN BEAUTIFUL MADEIRA AND LISBON PORTUGAL!
Traveling to Madeira took all day since it is five hours ahead of us here in the USA. We left at 2:00 pm for our 6:40 pm flight on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 and arrived in Lisbon, Portugal on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 7:30 am. We had to stop in Lisbon to change flights to travel to Madeira which was another 1 1/2 hour flight.
After all this traveling we were exhausted and didn’t know what day or hour it was! Sigh! We wanted to go to sleep and stay there for the day but alas, we could not do that. We needed to get into the new time and day and plug along.
This was our first trip to Madeira where my grandparents were born. I have always wanted to come here to walk where my ancestors once did. It was a special feeling to be close to them. I love the shushing sound of the Portuguese language that was familiar to my ears having grown up with it. I still never learned the speak Portuguese but can recognize and understand a little (un pecuniaho).
Once we made it to our destination, the gorgeous island of Madeira, we noticed the beautiful painted tiles in the airport corridors.
The above two paintings on the walls of the airport are of the good luck rooster which can be seen often painted on dishes. We have a couple of trivets with roosters on them from our first visit to Portugal back in 2002.
Here is a little information on this island. Madeira is a Portuguese island which has an area of 740.7 km. It’s total population is 262,456. It is the top of a massive shield volcano that rises about 6 km (20,000 ft) from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Oops my cousin, Birgit, corrected this stat – she said it is 1865 km at its highest point, Pico Ruivo. I guess Wikipedia is not always right.
Our guide told us Madeira has a sub-tropical climate which is evident by the eclectic mix of tropical plants, palm trees and cacti everywhere.
Also, please notice the lovely walkway all in tiles done by hand by talented workers. Everywhere you look you will find walkways like this and even the streets are all in cobblestones and tiles.
The photo below is of the flower known as the Pride of Madeira. We were told that this plant only blooms in June. Lucky for us that we got to see it. It’s beautiful!
Madeira capital is Funchal which means fennel due to the abundance of the fennel plant on the island. This fennel plant produces wiry greens that can be used to make soup of funch which was something my mother made often. It’s delicious and has a mild taste of the fennel seed without being overpowering. I don’t particularly like the taste of licorice but this is pleasant without the harshness.
Madeira was first settled in 1424 according to Wikipedia. Our guide told us it was discovered in 1419. Cruise ships often visit the capital of Funchal since it is a popular destination for many especially for New Year’s Eve. But it is a fascinating and enjoyable place to visit any time of the year.
Here are some gorgeous scenic pics to enjoy.
Our hotel, Porto Mare, was breathtakingly beautiful as you can see from these photos. It had two pools, a garden area and an enormous bird cage housing colorful parakeets. Our room was a spacious suite with an expansive balcony that offered an incredible view. All the rooms are like this. We are not rich and never have stayed in a place like this before. It made me feel like I was though!
Views of the ocean on our visit to Funchal. The weather usually is high 80’s to 90’s but the island was experiencing cooler weather due to a front that was coming from the Azores, another Portuguese island. We needed sweaters or a light jacket at night. I needed a sweater or jacket also the time. But that’s just me – always cold! I thought the weather was perfect for sightseeing and walking around. I don’t like getting all sweaty.
We took a whale and dolphin watching cruise out of Old Funchal harbor. It was a pleasant sail on a catamaran that had plenty of cover to prevent sunburn. I was ecstatic when we saw a juvenile whale who was playing with our catamaran as he glided in front under and alongside us. We were in the middle of dozens of dolphins that cavorted along our flanks and jumped out of the water to show off their skills to us. It was an incredible sight to see. Here are some photos my husband took.
Here are some professional ones and a photo of us being buffeted by the winds but happy.
Of course we ate heartily and enjoyed the delicious food and wine in all of Madeira. Here are some samples. The food was delicious everywhere we went. But we did have three excellent restaurants in our hotel where we dined each night. A couple of these restaurants we liked so much that we went back a second time. There was an Italian (Il Basilico), Portuguese (Alfama), a Mediterrean (Med) and also a buffet (Atlantida) with plenty of excellent food to choose from. I highly recommend you stay at the Porto Mare Hotel for the beautiful rooms and grounds, the friendly and helpful staff, and the fantastic choices of food. It will delight all your senses!
While we were in Funchal, Madeira, we dined with my cousin, Walter and his son, Eddie. We had a lovely visit and dinner together catching up. We hadn’t seen each other for over forty years. We were young back then. Sigh!
Here are some views of the Old Funchal. There are two Funchals – the new part where our hotel was located and the old. I loved visiting the old part. It was like stepping back in time.
We went on three tours altogether. One with a tour group of 14 people. We met some lovely travelers from England. We took two other tours with a private taxi-cab driver, Angelo Gomes. He was kind, accommodating, and thorough as he drove us around the island. I will share more photos of where we went in another post. If you ever get this way call and tell him I sent you. Here’s our handsome guide’s info:
Angelo Gomes – Taxi 1270-Funchal – Tel 00351 919912578
A special thank you to our travel agent, Faye Sell, of Martinelli Travel of Londonderry, NH, for arranging this memorable trip for us.
Faye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is so much more to share with you about this magnificent island that I will do another post or possibly two to put in all the points of interest for you. If you have never been to Madeira before you have to check it out one day.
Thank you for stopping by to read about this fabulous trip.
Oh, by the way, I read five books while I was on vacation. Without any social media and writing to get in the way it was an enjoyable time well spent reading some good books. I will post the rest of my reviews on Goodreads if you care to check them out.
REMEMBER: READING GIVES YOU WINGS TO FLY! SOAR WITH JEMSBOOKS.COM ALL YEAR THROUGH! HAPPY READING!
Reading is good for your health!
Blessings & Hugs,