Blogs from Madeira, Portugal, Europe - page 18


Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira January 16th 2008

The final "tour" we purchased for the first week of our stay in Madeira was a "Typical Dinner". A minivan picked us up the hotel at 7:30 p.m. There were two passengers already in the van, a mother and daughter from Surrey, England. They immediately commented upon my American accent. Given that I've neither met nor heard any other Americans so far in Portugal, I guess my accent is noticeable. I wonder what an American accent sounds like to a Brit. Anyway, we were driven to a large restaurant that probably holds up to 500 people, with a stage across one end of the room. We thought, oh dear, this is going to be a mass production. But, only about forty people came to the dinner that night, so it had an intimate feel about it. ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira January 13th 2008

Our first full day in Madeira, we signed up for three tours. The first was the sailing excursion that I last wrote about. The second was the Nun´s Valley tour we took on Thursday afternoon. The minivan picked us up at the hotel and took us to a lookout point, Pico dos Barcelos, about one-third of the way up the mountains above Funchal. It turns out that when you look at Funchal from the sea, you can see only about two-thirds of it. From Pico dos Barcelos you look down on more Funchal tucked in behind hills that block the view from the shore. From there, we wound up the mountains, twisting into and out of draws and ravines that hold more houses perched here and there. These houses are old because at some point there ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira January 11th 2008

We booked a chartered catamaran to spend time on the water, view any wildlife that might pass by and cast loving eyes upon the fascinating landscape that is Madeira. There wasn´t enough wind to sail, so we were motored along at a pleasing pace and reveled in the sea and sun until the crewman with binoculars shouted out. The captain sped up the boat and we were soon surrounded by about a dozen cavorting dolphins. What fun to watch and try to get photos as they rolled out of the water and before they dove back down. We were soon joined by the ancient looking sailing vessel we´d noticed a few days ago from the shore. After the dolphins had moved on, I asked a crewman about the boat. He said it is an exact replica ... read more
Playing Dolphins
Cabo Girao

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira January 9th 2008

Monday morning as we prepared for our mid-day flight to Madeira from Lisbon, we thought we had an easy day ahead of us--Not! It turned into the most bizarre travel day either of us has ever experienced. First problem: as we were deposited by taxi in front of Terminal One at 11:15 a.m. for our 1 p.m. flight, we realized that Someone had misread the itinerary and our flight actually left at 11:30 a.m. from Terminal Two! Our first inclination was to make a mad dash to Terminal Two, but we were shortly disabused of that notion as the path we followed took us to a bus that just sat there for ten minutes waiting for more passengers. O.K. We re-booked for the 2 p.m. flight and had lunch in the terminal while waiting for the ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Madeira January 1st 2008

New Years Eve on board was celebrated with a Formal dinner. The menu was excellent and, as is the tradition on cruise ships on New Years Eve, the dessert was Baked Alaska. This is paraded into the restaurant with sparklers to much cheering and applause by the galley staff. After dinner we went up to deck 9 to take our positions for the Firework Display. Madeira holds the world record for the largest ever firework display on New Years Eve 2006. This year proved to be no exception with 27 tons of fireworks set off from 40 fireworks stations. This year's theme was "Legend of the Ocean" and the colours of the fireworks depicted the colours of the sea. Based on the Legend of Atlantida - the land which joined the Island of Madeira with the ... read more
NYE - Firework Display, Funchal, Madeira
NYE - NewYears Eve Firework Display, Funchal
NYE - Our Table, New Years Eve

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Funchal December 31st 2007

We arrived at Madeira at our due time, but had been advised by fellow passengers as to what to expect and they were correct. We did not dock at Funchal but tendered in. Why? Because there was a cruise ship traffic jam with, seemingly, half the cruise ships in Europe trying to dock at once. There were two or three super cruisers and all the big companies were there, including Black Watch from Fred Olsen. We eventually anchored about 3 kms to the east of the main harbour about half a kilometre out and, following clearance, were on the second tender. However, when we arrived in the harbour - which only had three slots for landing tenders - we were in a line of boats sent from about nine other cruise ships. It took until 5 ... read more
Madeira -  D with Xmas Decorations
Madeira -  New Year Decorations on the Waterfront at Funchal
Madeira - M in Funchal

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira December 6th 2007

are u ready for this........... ASKED ME TO MARRY HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am engaged!!!!!! wow it still doesnt seem real, but yes he asked me last night and my ring is absolutly AMAZING! I am still shaking! he was so nervous...but said everything right and was so sweet!!!! I obviously was crying and shaking but had to tell everyone,,so we went to the nightclub and my whole cast was there and I CRIED MORE, and everyone celebrated with us...we got Champagne and the DJ enounced us being engaged....and we danced....and just had the best night ever! I STILL CANT BELIEVE IT!!!! we are talking about having it summer of 2009...that gives me time when I get home to get settled...and then start planning!!! WOW I have waited my whole life for this, and I couldnt be happier....everyone ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira April 21st 2006

Today would unfortunately be my last on the island. I had a 5:00 P.M. flight back to Lisbon so, I had to have the bike back by about 3:00 P.M. I took another route from Seixal across the highlands to the center of the island. The going was a bit chilly at the higher elevation but not enough to deter my progress. Approaching Funchal, I made a quick detour to the inland town of Curral das Freiras. What a great decision that turned out to be. The town lies in the middle of a dramatic valley that resembles Yosemite. Valley walls rise up in all directions to dizzying heigths. Unfortunatley, team orson’s ever-whining team photographer had allowed his camera’s memory to run out! So…no pictures from Curral das Freiras. I made my way back to Funchal ... read more
Steep Climb

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira April 20th 2006

After a refreshing night’s sleep, I decided to make my way around the west coast of the island. By mid-morning, the ocean mist had burned away and I had clear blue skies. Porto Moniz lies in the Nortwest corner of the island. They have some neat salt water bathing pools amidst the crashing waves. Purdy cool. From Porto Moniz, the road climbs straight up. Before long, it seems as if I had been teleported directly to Northern California. The road cut a path through a grove of eucalyptus trees looking for all the world like the section of the Pacific Coast Highway just north of Bolinas. Of all the places I’ve ridden, this section came the closest to matching the PCH for twistyness and beauty. Unfortunately, it only lasted for a few kilometers. The entire stretch ... read more
Porto Moniz

Europe » Portugal » Madeira » Madeira April 19th 2006

Tonight’s destination would be another quaint fishing village on the northern coast named Seixal, in the heart of the famed Madeira wine growing area. I followed the coastal road but took every opportunity to explore any roads I encountered heading up into the mountains. These inland roads provided scenery just as dramatic as the coastline. Mountainous terrain shot straight up into the sky at dizzying rates. Farmers took every chance to cultivate any plot of available terrain, with terraced plots in every conceivable nook and cranny. Some of these backroads had also benefited from E.U. funds with a new coat of pavement making for some great curve strafing. Thank gawd for the E.U. funds. The last section of coastal road before reaching Seixal was clawed from the precarious cliffside making for a dramatic view of the ... read more
Road Heading Inland
Coastline Near Sao Vicente
More Dramatic Coastline

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