Cabo Girao, Camara de Lobos, Columbus, Encumeada Pass, Funchal, Madeira, Porto Moniz, Ribeira Brava, Santa, Santa Maria, Sao Vicente, Seixal
Madeira 3. Wednesday 16th November. Today we had a great tour of the west of the island, starting at what we were promised would be the beautiful fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, a few kilometres to the west of Funchal.
I have to say, I was a little disappointed. For me, pretty fishing villages nestle, huddled at the bottom of their cliff, estuary, or whatever. This didn’t. It spread way up the mountain, most of it with modern houses, with their obligatory red roofs. (An obligation placed, all over the island, by the government. But, as I learned later, planning restrictions on where to build were only brought in in 2000.) Where there weren’t houses, there were banana plantations.
I wandered around a little,
and then moved away from the harbour, to find I was being spied upon.
Further along the coast to the west was Ribeira Brava.
Then there was a long drive to the northernmost tip of the island, via Santa, to Porto Moniz,
known for its natural lava rock pools.
On via Seixal to Sâo Vicente for lunch – in a circular restaurant which we discovered was rotating very slowly. I learnt this through my bag twice disappearing from the low window ledge by my side where I had put it, to be found beside another customer. No-one had noticed that the view outside had changed!
A little wander around the village afterwards.
There followed a drive right over the top of the island, via the Encumeada Pass.
From here we were driven nearly back to Câmara de Lobos, to the highest cliff in Europe*, the second highest in the world, Cabo Girâo. Where a surprise awaited some. You could look down the 580 metres through your feet!
Or, over the balcony, standing on the glass.
I was interested to see this (using my zoom!), a replica of Columbus’s Santa Maria, especially as I was thinking of going on it on the final day.
Back to the capital, which contains more than a third of the island’s population. I had to call in on the pharmacy near my hotel at the end of the day, and was delighted to see this:
*Though Madeira is on a latitude with and rather nearer to Africa than to mainland Europe.