Madeira is in a group of islands about 500 or 600 miles west of Morocco. This beautiful place was discovered and claimed by the Portuguese in the 1400s. It was uninhabited, and was quickly settled by the Portuguese and due to its climate and soil, well suited to grow almost anything; it prospered, quickly becoming an exporter of agricultural products. The land is mountainous, requiring terracing to farm and virtually every inch is terraced with a growing crop or a house.
Due to its position, it is a very frequent stopping point for cruise ships going to or from Europe, and more cruise ships stop here than any other place in Portugal. We are tied up just inside the breakwater, directly across from the center of the capital city, Funchal.
We have been to Funchal several times, and so elected to bypass the tours, and just go into town for brunch and to look around a little.
The shuttle bus dropped us on the main street, where we discovered that the annual flower festival was in process. I believe this was the case on at least one of our previous visits, also.
The Festa Da Flores is a week-long celebration of flower growing on the island. There are parades (today is the children’s parade) and the entire town is decorated with flowers.
Pretty ladies and pretty flowers – notice the little girl at the right.
There is something quite refreshing about an entire town celebrating something like “flowers” and EVERYONE including hundreds of children turning out for the celebration.
There were many vendors selling seeds, bulbs, and flower arrangements and each of them had their finest wares on display.
As the children’s parade finished, we looked for a brunch place. One of the fascinating little things about Funchal are the sidewalks – they are all built with these small black and white stones, set in intricate patterns.
For brunch, we found Theos, a little restaurant with seating on the balcony, just off of the main street.
After some delicious omelets, we headed back to the ship for a relaxing afternoon aboard.
Photos of Christiano Ronaldo, one of the best soccer players in the world, are all over Madeira, since he was born here. This one was in the cruise terminal.
Most of you know that we normally get an inside cabin on these cruises, but this time we got a balcony and this is one of the ports that it is really nice to have.
In the afternoon we lased around, spending much time on the balcony watching the activity in the harbor.
Fishermen came back from their day’s fishing.
Paddleboarders came by.
Christopher Columbus sailed his crew out of the harbor on the Santa Maria, making really good time, even with no sails.
Two little ones got towed out for sailing lessons.
A gang of teenagers, in two boats held a prolonged war – throwing buckets of water on each other and attempting to capture each other’s boat. I think they were part of a sailing school, but it must have been recess.
Another, younger, more serious sailing school. In the background you can see construction underway on a new berthing area. I suspect Funchal is increasing its cruise ship capacity. We shall see on next visit.
After a very pleasant day in Madeira and on the balcony, with clouds coming in, we set sail for Bermuda – six relaxing days at sea.