Madeira 2. From the market, we moved on to a hand embroidery manufactory, where we saw the detailed processes behind the production of the beautiful goods, and many of the goods themselves.
There are many stages. Firstly the pieces are designed.
Then each design is pricked through. and on to two more copies of the tracing paper, so that three copies of each design are made. One of these is then inked, the ink being transferred on to the cloth.
After it has been embroidered the piece is beautifully ironed.
Sadly the days of the factory are surely numbered. Not only are the prices of the goods prohibitively expensive, given the work that has gone into them, but the workers are ageing and not being replaced. I saw only one sale from our party – I do hope that the factory was given a decent fee for the visit it had just allowed us. Just looking at the finished pieces in the shop was a real treat.
The morning ended with a trip to D’Oliveiras, Wine Growers and Exporters, where we each could – and most did – partake of a small glass of each of three types of Madeira wine, and yes, I bought a bottle (medium dry, 5 year). And to go with it a small bolo de mel de cana da Madeira, a traditional sugar cane syrup cake, sweet, rich and spicy, which they have traditionally at Christmas. It is as different as you can imagine from what we call madeira cake. And it must be broken, not cut. (No worries here about the enterprise breaking even from our visit!)
After lunch we were taken to the Funchal botanical gardens. I’m not sure why, but we were obliged to stay together as a group, and I am fairly sure that we did not see all of the gardens. Our local guide, Lina, was very learned on her plants, especially trees, and there were not many labels, but it was a shame that we were not ‘allowed’ to explore on our own.
Throughout the week, it was fascinating, and enjoyable, to see plants in the open air that we think of as house plants. Few are truly native to Madeira. (Indeed, what can be considered native, given that the island is only 7 million years old, a babe in geological terms?!) In no order, other than that in which I took them, are my photos of the afternoon.
The night before had been that of the best ‘supermoon’, and I had been hoping to get a photo of it with a Madeiran flavour. Unfortunately the sky was covered with thick cloud on Monday night. So I went up to the hotel’s roof terrace after dinner on this day, Tuesday 15th, and managed to get these pictures, for what they are worth.