The following morning we awoke to a thick blanket of cloud and a weather forecast that didn't bode well for a relaxing day lounging around the outside pool. 'Madeira had it's June hat on' so we were told. The cloud covers all but the highest peaks. Once about a cloud level the sun would be out and glorious. Time for a gentle stroll into the capital city Funchal.
|View of the Marina|
The city has a population of 111,892 and has been the capital now for 5 centuries. It is also the leading Portuguese port for cruise liner dockings. We didn't see any during our stay and I was told that it was one of the most expensive places to dock in the world. We took a slight detour up a very steep hill, and believe me there are a lot of steep hills in Madeira! I wanted to have a look at 'Estádio do Marítimo', home of Maritimo FC, who finished a creditable 7th in the Primiera Liga last season.
|'Estádio do Marítimo'|
Talking of football you can't miss the statue of Cristiano Ronaldo down on the marina. In fact right outside of his very own hotel and museum. Unveiled in his presence in 2014 it shows him in 'ready for it' pose. In my opinion the greatest footballer currently playing the game. Born in 1985 in the suburb of San Antonio to working class parents who supposedly named him after President Reagan. He started his career with Nacional before moving to Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and then in 2009 sold to Real Madrid for 80 million. The most expensive player ever at that time. A regular visitor to Madeira where his mother still lives, he does a lot for the island, donating signed shirts and trophies to good causes.
|'Estádio da Madeira' at the top of the mountain|
|At The Beerhouse|
The 'Beerhouse 'is Funchal's only microbrewery. At the time of our visit they were serving a sweet 'Passion Fruit beer', a German style lager and a house lager. I couldn't quite get my head around the strange Bavarian style lederhosen garb the waiters wore though.
(Teleférico do Funchal).Built
to replace the old Monte Railway, which ran from 1886 to 1943.
The length of the cable car line is 3,718 m and the height difference 560 m; the journey takes approx. 20 minutes.This major engineering project was completed in 2000 providing spectacular views over the red rooftops and plunging gorges. Instead we chose the bus !
Monte is famed for it's 'dry toboggan run'. The Monte Toboggans first originated in the early 19th century as Funchal´s first means of "downhill" public transportation. Nowadays the "Carro de Cesto" is used to transport tourists for 30 euros for 2 people. The toboggans are driven by two men (carreiros) dressed in white, with straw hats and black rubber boots which seem to double up as the braking system. The runners on the toboggan are greased up for additional speed .The ride starts off below the steps of the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church and follows a 2km steep downhill route. Again we were not tempted and opted for the bus option once again....
Senhora do Monte Church (Church of our Lady of Monte). It was well worth climbing up the 60 or so steps even with my dodgy knee to this little gem on the hill.
The church is the most important pilgrimage site on the island. The original church was built in 1741 on top of the foundations of an old chapel that was said to be built by the son of the settler of the island, but it was soon destroyed by an earthquake.
The church that stands today dates to 1818.
The interior features elegant chandeliers, a statue of 'Our Lady of the Mountain' and the tomb
of Charles I of Habsburg, the last emperor of
Austria who lived in exile on Madeira
until his death in 1922.
|Senhora do Monte Church|