Dear readers of your humble reporters reporting of uninteresting events during current the travel-groups experiences while performing international travels. This time your humble reporter will try to report for you honored readers the Madeira travel-adventures in English language.
This will of course be some of a challenge for your humble reporter since the skills in this world-leading language is not one of your humble reporter mostly skilled areas.
The reason for taking this type of brave step is to perhaps increase the readers group by 50 %! Since two of your humble reporters customer reps are native Polish and the only common language is English. This is also to mitigate some risk that this minority group can feel somewhat outside the common community and contacting the European council regarding discrimination of minorities.
A 50% increase of the readers group is impressive and can also create some opportunities for being sponsored by some global brands who will ask for editorial space to expose their services. This will of course generate some extra income and definitely support your humble reporter performing other trips and reports in our beautiful world.
The destination Madeira has been visited a number of times before, since it is beautiful island with facilities that is suitable for restless people that cannot stay more than 15 min on the beach or in the sun. The visit always includes walking’s in the mountains on tracks and Levadas.
Normally the trips have been ordered through a charter company but in this case the travel group decided to create a more tailor-made travel to pick up the “golden seeds”. The booked hotel had high rating in trip advisor so the travel-group looked forward for that stay.
The months before came up with some surprises. Air Berlin which was a new experience changed the flight schedule two times and in the end there was only 35 min left for changing plane in Berlin Tegel. Initially it was 2,5 hour.
Well hopefully that would not cause any trouble and cause similar experiences as reported before thru this media. Well, next surprise came from the hotel booking agent. The Hotel just cancelled our booking! Further in the mail the travel group explained a new hotel has been found. The rating seems also high in the Trip advisor but not as high as the first booking.
So my advice is – Do not book Clifff Bay hotel in Funchal! I do not like to be treated like this. Also valid for hotel Billingehus top of Billingen in Skövde. Some years ago they just cancelled a weekend-visit for concerned travel-group.
The departure from Arlanda was 06:30 which resulted in a very early wake up call. The car trip to Arlanda did not include any exiting details to report about but just passing Kungens Kurva. If you are a Polish speaking person you can perhaps find some amusement in this place.
The terminal was again Terminal 2 which is not one of the funniest. Air Berlin was a new experience and due to my Polish customer reps it is some kind of low-cost flight operator. Well everything went okay during first jump to Tegel Berlin. Got some light breakfast, there was a toilet without fee (soap was not included) etc. The lid on the toilets trash bin was secured by elastic tape. Perhaps a cost-efficient solution but hopefully this art of engineering is not also used for attaching the wings. Flight attendant smile was not included in the price for the trip.
Approaching Tegel airport was a depressing sight and the airport was creating a similar mode. Airports are normally not the most beautiful places but still this would not come in the top 500! As we say in Sweden the atmosphere encourage you to hang yourself.
The landing was 20 minutes late and we had also to transport ourselves with bus. When entering the terminal the travel group had 10 min left for getting to next connecting flight. These challenges really encourage a lot of energy! Full speed to the gate written on the boarding card and when arriving it was totally empty and closed. Tried to get some support from the ground staff at the gate, if they could assist in this little problematic situation. The answer/attitude was – This is not my table.
Back into the gate center area to find some information but there was no information sign. By a slump the travel group saw a sign showing that it was the gate for next flight to final destination! The gate has been changed and the gate number on boarding card was not valid anymore. As we say in Swedish – HÄPP!
When reaching this right gate the travel group realized that there was other connecting flights that where late so the stress was not needed. Everything is so easy when you know the answer!
The next flight was operated by a bigger plane and the flight attendants had the standard uniform for this flight operator. Very interesting cap on the head which need to be seen! Some similarities with a bottle capsule. Not ugly but interesting.
If you want hot meal you have to order it extra. Some so called brunch is included in the trip price so what the hell it is vacation so your humble reporter decided to be extra-vagrants and order an exclusive meal a 10.9 Euro!
The Brunch and the hot meal were surprisingly served at same time so it became a little too much of the goodies. To use a metaphor for this situation you could perhaps see this as a threesome which all its challenges. Also called ”dubbel-macka” in Swedish.
The meals were served with a smile but the situation became a little complicated since the flight attendant serving your humble reporter was a man. Your humble reporter always gets some uncomfortable when male “you know” attendants are smiling (too much) when serving. Perhaps this was an unfair conclusions and the Ham-Ham-radar needs to be calibrated? BUT he came back asking just me if the meal was satisfying. Ham, for safety reason rest of the flight will be performed by just sitting in the chair.
During this 4, 45 hours trip some entertainment was distributed thru internal-TV. Did not bother to buy any headset since the entertainment probably was dubbed in German. Your humble reporter took the same approach as the family’s old Finish grandmother. She looked on every program even the Swedish speaking news (She only understood Finish). Her comment was that it was nice to look at the pictures. If you compare Swedish Television news-reporter Claes Ellsberg with a news-reporter in Finnish TV you can say that Claes is ten times more entertaining than the Finish reporter.
Since the start of the day was very early “John Blond” made some attempts to get your humble report into a stadium of relaxation. There was not much resistance and the fellow in the middle part of the body needed some energy to digest the Exotic course a 10, 9 Euro. Just when approaching what the yogi’s describes as Nirvana a flight attendant made your humble reporter aware of that the lunch-check needed to be settled. OK let’s read some rows in a book to relax so the nearly approached stadium can finally reached. This time a neighbor in the left row leaned over to request the other travel group member for the Swedish newspaper Expressen. Since your humble reporter is some sensitive having males leaning closely over your humble reporter’s body the result were a quick return to a more alert status. Should it be so damn difficult to get some sleep?
The trip from Berlin to Funchal took 4,45 hours and this is of course nothing for more experienced globetrotters. Still this was extremely boring because of lack of sleep and energy.
When arriving to Madeira the sun was shining and it was really warm the weather was really a booster for coming to better mode. But say that joy that last more than 20 minutes. The travel group did not get any bags. This was also the case for some other passengers and the administration to get all paper settled took quite some time.
The only equipment that is in the hands of the travel-group is the clothes travelling in. So the next day needs to be used to find the most necessary personal stuffs.
A rental car was booked and when controlling and documenting the prior damages there was quite some marks on the door when some has tried to break in into the car. Interesting place!
The hotel was very good and the receptionist was really service minded. The room is with see-view and writing the last word while the day-light slowly disappear. It is daylight until 18:00 local time.
Before the travel-group had some walking and found at least one Geocache. Even if some minor rain came the walking could be done in short-sleeves. During the return back to hotel some hygiene stuff could be found in a minor SPAR-shop.
The hotel and environment is very nice but still the bag issue is causing many complications. Power cable, maps, planned routes, clothes, medicine, training clothes, walking clothes, etc. are all in the suitcases.
Your humble reporter is really pissed off but should not be so because this is the travel-groups vacation. The investment needs to be taken care of but some dark thinking is nagging back of the head.
We will see if there will be any more reports depending on inspiration, mode and having equipment to write on!
This was an attempt to perform a reporting in English and your humble reporter does not know which is the most preferred language from the majority of the readers group. The usage of English broadens the opportunity to have more readers but lacks “stupidity’s” that can be expressed by using the native Swedish language.
Since an Account manager need to adapt to markets needs there is an opportunity for you dear reader to express your preferences!
By the way – Who loves Air Berlin?
Back to start
Woke up middle of the night listening to shaking windows, hard wind and rain. Outside were storm and your humble reporter immediately seen the view that coming day no plane can land on Madeira airport. The day had also to be spent at hotel room all day.
Luckily the storm had passed Madeira during the night and when the daylight came at 08:00 the sun was shining even if it still was some wind.
The hotel room had what I believe is called queen-sized bed. Meaning that the travel group has to share one bed and also sheets and blanket. This caused of course a number of heavy weight fights during the night since both parties in the group seems to dream very energetic. When turning, blanket/sheets where dragged to one side and after a while it was taken back. This was ongoing the whole night. Who won then? As in boxing games light heavy weight beats bantam so you can guess who was the winner.
I have always wondered what my travel companion is dreaming about observing her night moves. Sometimes it is better to not know the truth!
The late evening was compensated by late morning. Daylight came as late as 08:00 local time. Had a good night sleep and that was needed after yesterday’s early start and some mode breaking activities.
Sometimes your humble reporter reflects if he has the ability to predict the future. When packing the equipment for the 2 week vacation your humble reporter of some reason decided to also bring contact phone numbers to the insurance company. Why? Would the bags arrive if the insurance contact information had been left home?
When waking up this first day your humble reporter called for some advice regarding the missing bags. The insurance covered some investments for “needed equipment”.
Yesterday some urgent stuff was purchased like toothbrushes and tooth cream. This morning the travel group realized that some very simple stuff like a comb was missing. So the hairstyle had to be as we say in Sweden – ”Knullrufs”. Since two of you Polish readers have some more religious background and probably do not want to create any noise with the “CEO” your humble reporter do not dare to translate this.
Have decided to be grumpy all day. Since your humble reporter has an age that authorize this type of behavior this will be the mode rest of the day – Grumpy old fart.
After a while your humble reporter managed to get the travel companion back to a more social status instead of just sawing timber. Impressing sounds!
The breakfast was excellent . The scrambled eggs were top class. Your humble report decided that this first morning should at least be celebrated with champagne. For some reason hotels at Madeira serve champagne at breakfast. Drinking champagne at breakfast was first time in life for your humble report. Usually alcohol is never thought of or talked about at breakfast, besides some painful occasions where the statement “never again” is stated. The breakfast view was excellent over the Atlantic and your humble reporter must admit that a small smile came up even if the decision was that this day was just shit.
First objective was to drive to a shopping center to get some clothes for hygienic and walking purpose. This was included in the above insurance. The temperature was already constraining 20 degrees Celsius. 1 hour of shopping and the most urgent clothing was settled.
Change of clothes to more appropriate for walking was made and the travel group headed towards Porto laurenco. This is a nice walking at the most eastern side of the island.
During the car trip the travel companion asked about details regarding this walk. Your humble reporter had some information back of the head and shared this with the travel companion. The walk is about 10-12 km in total but many ups and downs. The travel companion asked if there is any Geocaches on this walking and your humble reporter could inform that at least two of them remains from last visit.
“Good so we do not walk in vain!” was the travel companion’s answer. The comment shows that perhaps the Geocaching business has reached geek status for the travel companion. “Well” was the comment from your humble reporter “ perhaps there is also some attractive views on this walk”. Your humble reporter also appreciated this comment from the travel partner providing some input to this travel report.
“Well, it is nice to contribute” was the comment from the travel partner. “Yes, just be you” was the humble reporters comment. This comment initiated of course some analyzes if this confirmation could be good or bad for the travel partners status. The rest of the car-trip was performed in silence when travel companion was analyzing and your humble reporter for some tactical reasons kept his mouth shut.
The car was parked at end of the road and the walking started. This is a very beautiful walk and there were a number of other walkers performing the same activity. At the end of the one-way walk there was a Geocache on top of a hill. The hide was located outside the secured area and your humble reporter had some problem deciding if it should be approached or not. The comments “please leave your wallet before logging” from the travel companion encouraged the decision that the logging was associated with some risks. No logging was made but a fantastic view was the result of this walking. In the end the pure meaning of Geocaching is to get interesting experiences.
The walk back was some heavier since the legs and foots where some tired. The assumed poor weather has not shown up and the sun has been shining whole day. Back to the hotel a small detour was made to a “miraduro” – view point and a Geocache logging.
Back at the hotel room there was a note that one of the travel companies bags have been found and will arrive to airport/hotel 18:00 this evening. Hit rate 50 %?! The English language was even poorer than this report so it was not so easy to understand the message. Let’s see what happens 18:00.
In yesterday report one interesting happening was excluded. As mentioned before the Cliff Bay reservation was cancelled and the new hotel offered was CS Madeira Atlantic Resort & Sea SPA. To avoid any problems finding the hotel the GPS address was documented and maps where printed. BUT when approaching the hotel yesterday it was impossible to find it. The travel group went around and around but the hotel did not appear! At last when parking pretty close to the GPS-address your humble reporter had to ask a passing local citizen about the hotel. The message was that he worked at the hotel , the travel group was parking in front of it and two days ago the hotel name was changed to “Vidamar resort” which has been observed many times when searching for the accommodation! . HÄPP! How can this be possible?
Did you believe any suitcase(s) arrived 18:00? Buhahahahahaha.
Next day will be another day with just some newly purchased equipment.
The dinner was taken in a Chinese restaurant and the menu was as used to be. Just for curiosity the travel group took a walk to check the status of the prior hotel visited some years ago. As suspected it had changed name. There seems to be some restructuring of the hotel business at Madeira?
The battery is almost empty…..Will there be any more reports?
Back to start
Looking out and see that today it is raining. This causes some problems/limitations since the travel groups missing a lot of stuff that could be needed for such weather conditions.
The night has been little more quit when it comes to blanket fighting. The walk yesterday took its tribute for the travel companion which laid still on her back almost whole night. Your humble reporter suspected some exhaustion after previous day adventures. Made also the observation that not only sheets and blankets are shared but also the so called second pillow is common.
During the breakfast the strategy for the day has to be discussed and the decision was to perform so called “drive in” Geocaching.
While loading in the breakfast the travel group could observe that two big cruise vessels where approaching Funchal harbor. Have seen some documentaries about these ships and what they can offer. Have been thinking if this can be an alternative vacation but have some doubts that this vessel can be somewhat limited for a man from the big forests.
Besides the visit to the breakfast needed also some improvisation. Yesterday’s walking was on a track that has been exposed to some days of heavy raining. This had the consequences that the only shoes that the travel group had in their possession was VERY muddy.
It was of cause not so nice to step into an elegant breakfast saloon in this type of foot wear. To avoid any embarrassing situations the choice became to use the so called spa slippers that were included in the room. Perhaps you dear reader is familiar with this white small attributes.
Yesterday evening, the same choice was also considered to be used for the dinner restaurant. But after some discussion this alternative was rejected since walking in the city with these withe slippers can perhaps cause that the travel group will be assumed to have escaped from some senior living and need to be taking in some kind of custody.
It was dark yesterday so probably the muddy foot wears where not observed. Must also admit that the restaurant visited did not give any continuous memory for the travel group. What a shit place!
The travel group started their Geocaching hunt by driving to the upper parts of Funchal. This time the choice of car became a diesel and that is definitely the best choice in this type of driving with many uphill roads. You also need good nerves when driving on these roads which go up, down, are narrow and you have to deal with drivers that seemed to been practicing driving taxi in Poland.
The Geocahing was also a challenge since there is no roadmaps for Madeira included in the GPS the travel group have. There is only a blank page (with contour) where you can see the GPS-positions of the Geocaches. It can be whatever in between the current position and the hiding place.
As mentioned before it was a rainy day. When going higher up in the mountain the rain became more and more intensive. Some of the roads assembled the rain and there was definitely an opportunity to use a wakeboard on some parts of the roads. You have to drive very carefully.
After some logging and very adventures driving the travel company needed to rest their nerves and returned back to the hotel to perform some Geocahing at sea level. When arriving to the reception they had the pleasure to deliver one of the suitcases that were missing. This was your humble reporter’s suitcase but there were no information at all where the travel companion’s suitcase can be located. Very strange that a suitcase can totally disappear these times of bar-codes and scanning. Perhaps the travel group should not complain since 50 % delivery is not so bad? Anyone love Air Berlin?
The possession of the suitcase increased the opportunities for the rest of the vacation. Last trip the travel group invested in a very detailed map with all Levadas and walking tracks marked. Yesterday was a little tougher walking so the decision was to make an easy Levada walk on a Levada close to the hotel. The only backside was that the first part to the Levada was very steep uphill.
After some heavy breathing the Levada was reached and the rest of the walking was easy and relaxing. The walking was finished by a short visit to the hotels gym for some exercises of the “beer-muscle”. The walk has stimulated the middle part of the body so much that the travel group decided to have an early dinner. Tis time the selection was made more seriously and planned by looking in trip advisors rating of restaurants. One alternative just besides the hotel seemed to be a perfect choice.
The restaurant manager was really skilled. He managed to turn the travel group upside down and shake out a significant sum of money without the travel group had the feeling to being used. The dinner was excellent and the service was very good. So in the end this could been seen as a win-win situation even if the final bill caused some heavy breathing.
Besides, the travel companion felled in “love” for the managers son who was really bullied by his father. He was a handsome young fellow and caused the travel companions heart to melt.
Well at last your humble reporter managed to get her out of the restaurant back to the hotel.
Next day the travel group hopes for better weather so the walking in the upper mountains can be performed. At least one of the travel group members has the right stuff. The travel companion can of course use some of the stuff and probably also looks OK in men’s wear.
Have a nice evening.
Back to start
Late last night when the travel group has fallen asleep there was a tapping on the door. Your humble writer was the only one recognizing the tapping but ignored it. No visitor where expected and this was probably only some desperate guy from the night club that has been locked out by his wife or was desperate for some company for the night.
Managed to fall asleep again but after a while when going down into deep sleep there was a phone call. The room was totally dark and it took some time to get to some consciousness after being deep down sleeping.
It was the reception informing that the last suitcase has arrived. The feelings were little mixed – not so glad being waked up but happy that the bag finally has arrived. Perhaps this was the business strategy for Air Berlin – keep the passengers awake? It was the same situations on the plane.
Of course we were both relieved getting all stuff since it has been some complications the first days. Anybody love Air Berlin? ”Gott im himmel NEIN!”
The return trip to Sweden will be by TP which is also a new experience. Let’s hold the thumbs.
Had some problem to fall asleep again and thoughts about this booking came up. The purpose was to find the golden seeds but until now it have also been some backlashes. Perhaps the travel group should follow the stream and being transferred around in a bus with a guide in holding a stick with his hat in top. Just to follow the guy and being moved around to all famous places where all others visit?
NO absolutely not, still there are a lot of unknown experiences to explore!
The hairstyle went back to normal when the travel group has a comb in their possession again. What is normal? Is it hm-hm-rufs or more styled friseur? This morning breakfast was the second time for Champagne! The breakfast tasted even better this morning for some reason!
The weather is mixed so the next challenge is to find a walk that is ok considering these conditions. Yesterday when driving and later walking the weather in the mountains could be experienced. Heavy rain, lightning’s and thunder. Perhaps it needs to be walking closer to the sea-level again?
The decision became to go to the most west part of the island. It seemed to have the best weather there when looking up to the sky.
During the latest 10-15 year there have been a lot of investments in infrastructure and nowadays there are some roads – via rapido – which take you faster to the different parts of the island. Before you had to drive small serpentine roads over the mountains up and down. Now there is e.g. a straight road to the west side of the island. Besides a small part which I come back to later on.
To get a straight road many tunnels have been built and these are of course very good for the traffic speed but the air in these tunnels are not healthy. It seems that there is no ventilation at all and the air you breathe is definitely not healthy. Besides the cars in the tunnels the travel group observed people walking on the sidewalks! They must faint before they manage to reach the other side of a 2 km tunnel?!
During the first day your humble reporter had only walking boots and these where of course also on when driving. This resulted in when pushing the clutch also the break was hit. The same problem also for the throttle/break. This caused some embarrassing and also surprising situations.
The last part of today’s driving to Ponta do Pargo was what you could say a “picturesque” road. Today your humble reporter had the possibility to wear ordinary shoes since the bag had arrived. When driving the last part as assumed – controlled and nicely – the travel companion asked – “Do you have the walking boots on?” Last part of driving was in silence.
This part of the island is different in many ways. The nature is different with more spurs and pines. The houses are also older and not so “modern”. It seems that the urbanization have not reached this part of the island yet. The last part of the roads where under construction so in a number of years this part will be reached also with via rapida.
When arriving to the village there was some confusion with the signs for parking. The travel group took the decision to park on a road in front of one house. When doing so an elderly lady with some bags approached to the travel group and probably had some input regarding leaving the car at current position. The lady had probably had some hard years and saying that she had two teeth in her mouth is to somewhat exaggerate.
She had many things to say about the parking situation and no one in the travel group understand Portuguese but it was very clear that from her view it was recommended to park the car in Funchal! This was a little surprising since the travel group’s experiences until now have been that the Portuguese’s are friendly and always wants to help. Perhaps she had some pain in some of the remaining toots?
The walking was a round-trip for 10, 5 km. The walking was a mixed walking on roads above the coast with very nice views, one very steep uphill part, an easy walk on a levada, downhill to attach to the first part of the walking and return. Some of the views where really nice which hopefully the pictures published will show. It also nice with Madeira since it seems to have all seasons at once. We saw hibiscus, Chrysanthemum, Tagetes, calla/canna, Fuchsia, Easter lilies, etc. Flowers that we need to keep indoors grow almost wild on this island. For some of the views that during the walk, vertigo warnings was really valid. Standing close to the edges definitely caused the balls to shrink!
The walking took some time since it included many ups and downs. The travel group had not brought any picnic lunch this time but hoped to find some nice lunch restaurant during the way or at least at the finish. This realized to be a disappointment since most had closed down during latest years or had just a very limited menu.
It was pretty late in the afternoon and the blood-sugar was very low so every statement had to be made with great cautiousness not to start a third world-war. The travel group had to head back towards Madeira to find some lunch restaurant and finally reached such in Prazeres. The time was 15:00 so this was really in last second before the third world war could have been started. Prazeres seemed to be the last civilization before the wilderness started.
The restaurant was simple but the food was ok and the people managing where nice and friendly.
The lunch was good for the blood-sugar increase and some ideas were initiated for finding Geocaches on the way back to Funchal. The weather was really nice – sunny and warm. In the beginning of the performed walk it was really cold with winds from the North.
The Geocaching went OK but after a while the travel group decided to return to Funchal and make some shopping and go back to the hotel. A cold beer was an appropriate choice to end this day.
Hope tomorrow will be good weather so the travel group comes up to the mountains for walking. Sea-level walking is also nice but still the mountains are something the travel group wants to try.
Have a nice evening
Back to start
The walking’s starting to take their tributes. The blanket fighting has been reduced from the early night’s heavy-weight championship to just some sparring rounds with light jabbing. The travel group lies very still after the latest performed walking’s.
Made one reflection regarding the building construction standard used here on Madeira. The climate is mild so the heating is not any problem during the wintertime. Because of that they are building the same way we did in Sweden in early days where the energy cost for heating was not so significant. There are many cracks for the air to circulate and when windy outside the room becomes a singing room. This is a new sound not experienced for many years. But, should it be like this on a five star hotel? The same is the sound of the waves outside. Some shrinks says this should be relaxing but the travel group do not agree when it is strong wind.
Observed at breakfast today that the hotel seemed to have recruited a Swedish chef! What’s behind this statement? Let’s keep it as a cliffhanger and the explanation will come later.
Today’s weather forecast was some clouds but no rain, so the decision became to go for a mountain walk. To get to the start of the levada careful map reading was required. Since it is difficult to both drive and read map the map reading responsibility was taken by the travel companion. Made some regular control questions after leaving the main road, if the position was known and under control? No problem – all in control, was the answer.
After a while the travel companion outburst that she have been following another road on the map. The question was of course how could then the map and the road been aligned due to previous confirmation about having control? This question where never answered.
This mistake did not cause any deviations from the decided route since the driver in charge had some gut feeling (and also could read the road sign pointing to the walking area!) where to go. The first walk was on Levada da Bica Cana on the Paul da Serra plateau.
The walking was on altitude 1.300 m and the weather was completely different compared to sea level. It was cloudy, mist, light rain and cold. At the start your humble reporters fingers where freezing and gloves would not be wrong. Clothing needed to be long trousers (Yes, the “skinnsberg” trousers are used!) and rain jacket. After some minutes walking the wind became easier and the temperature in the fingers came back to normal. At same time the travel group arrived to a fantastic valley with very beautiful views. The whole walk must be fantastic during spring when all genistas are blooming.
The intention with this walk was to combine two levadas to get a round-trip. This intention failed because the heavy rain caused many floods which made it too risky to continue.
The travel group had to return. When coming to a crossroad an attempt was made to reach the lower Levada das rabacas. This failed because the chosen track did not connect to the levada. The travel group went 300 m down and had to go the same way up again.
Your humble reporter was using walking sticks for the first time and this gave definitely some support.
This time the travel group had brought some picnic and after the walk it was good timing to have a lunch.
Next objective was to make a short walk to Pico Ruivo. The plans had to be aborted since the road was closed from the direction where the travel group came from. Since both parties in the travel group where freezing the decision was to take another walk closer to see-level.
What a difference! It was completely different climate in the lower areas and like a Swedish summer day. The long trousers and the raincoat had to be changed to shorts and t-shirt.
The start of the walk was at Lombada da Ponta do Sol. First decision was to walk on Levada do Mouro. At the start of this Levada there was signpost which was not so easy to understand. The travel group suspected there was some trouble with the Levada which was confirmed after 600 m. There had been a landslide and big part of the Levada had disappeared. If to continue the travel group had to balance on a 15 cm concrete wall with approximately 50 meter down to ground. The decision was to return and to try the Levada Nova instead which also started near the starting point.
There was just a catch. To reach the Levada start a steep uphill walk for 200 m needed to be performed. The travel companion commented why the car is not used but your humble reporter was convinced that the only place to park the car in these very narrow areas is by the church where the car was located at the moment.
After some heavy breathing the travel group arrived to the start of the Levada. There was a car park with empty lots. HÄPP!
Had a short talk with a lady how arrived after have been walking on this levada. She informed that it is impossible to come more than 1 hour away on this path. There have been landslides blocking the way. You also need to be comfortable with heights when walking on this levada. Could be confirmed! Still your humble reporter is impressed by the travel group’s companion’s performances on this Levada since she has strong vertigo!
The walking ended at a waterfall that has been caused from the heavy raining. The alternative was to change to rain-clothes to pass, get completely wet or return. The decision became to return since the GPS trip computer showed that there have been enough meters and ascent/descents today.
When returning the last part was downhill and your humble reporter proposed to make a shortcut. The comment was that if this means any problem and the travel group needs to go back uphill again someone will have a walking stick hit hard on his head. Fortunately this was a real shortcut!
Back at the hotel the travel group took a short relax on the balcony while waiting for the daylight to disappear. Some strange ships passed meanwhile. See pictures.
The clock is 18:15 and there is still quite some daylight today when the weather is clearer. Just a comment for my friend Jacek.
Time to have a dinner! The restaurant was a standard one but the impression was that the “normal” guests must be very hungry! The main course could have been shared and the desert ordered by the travel companion was impressive. The restaurant won on quantity but not quality. The food was not bad but very simple standard. In the restaurant there was a piano-player performing a mixed repertoire. If the travel group should be positive it is worth to mention that he played enthusiastic and most of the performed lyrics could be recognized.
After this heavy dinner the travel group stumbled back to hotel for some evening reading/writing.
Have a nice evening
Back to start
This morning one of the travel group members woke up with very tired leg muscles. The decision became then to have a walk without any up and down. For the chosen levada do Canical the distance will be somewhat longer than normal walking’s for the travel group but hopefully this should not be of any problem since it was a flat walk and the travel group had also an early start this morning.
The Swedish breakfast chef had a day off today. Explanation will follow.
Today’s walking was just a flat Levada walk. Can there be anything to report about such a simple walk? Well let’s start the tour and see what comes up!
The travel group had as mentioned before an early start and the driving to the start was done same time as morning rush hour. The road planning at Madeira is as same standard as house constructions – Very compact. That means when approaching to the via rapida there is zero opportunity to speed up before drive into the fast road. You have to start standing still and there is almost zero visibility backwards on the via rapida. The speed limit is 80 km/h at the actual position. This speed limit is in reality more a recommendation for minimum speed. Average speed is probably around 110 km/h. Approaching the via rapida under these circumstances is like playing Russian roulette. When approaching you need to step on the throttle to the bottom and accelerate as much as the car can perform.
Until now there have been no sharp bullets in the pipe!
The start of this walking was at Marocos. Normally the travel group companion is excellent when it comes to map reading in orienteering competitions. When reading road maps that skill for some strange reason seems to disappear completely?! Again the driver in charge had to find the way just by “instinct”.
The walking started in the village Marocos. It is interesting to observe how close to the Levada people are living. Sometimes it feels that you are walking just thru their homes.
After just some hundreds of meters a landslide was stopping the passage on the Levada. The landslide had taken away a significant part of the Levada so the only way to come further was to go back, walk down into the valley via a steep stairway and then a stairway back to the Levada after the landslide.
This situation showed up to early and became very demotivating for one of the travel group members. The promise for today was no ascents/descents. Some heavy breathing and cursing and this little drawback was settled.
This walking is classified as easy and therefore it is popular for tourist en masse. Some local entrepreneurs have realized this opportunity and where offering fruits and drinks on this walking. There was a box with bananas and water bottles which can just been taken and a sign asked for payment of 0, 5 Euro.
The walking was on 200 meters altitude and the combination of walking close to the mountains and above sea-level caused the weather to change many times during the walk. In some areas it was cloud/sun and in others it was slight rain. The clothing had to be changed very frequently.
After 90 minutes’ walk the travel group arrived to a bar located just besides the Levada. This was a perfect timing for morning coffee. The coffee was really “affordable” and because of the nice atmosphere the travel group added some extra to the bill.
While sitting there an enjoying the coffee on of the bars employees came out and served some kind of fruit – On the house! The travel group has seen these fruits growing on the trees but do not know the name. The fruit was perfect mature and tasted delicious.
This little happening caused the travel group to continue walking with a warm smile. Such a nice extra service!
Later on the walk the travel group met a tourist group coming from the other direction. The group was led by a handsome local guide. When meeting he stated ”please do not look at me just watch your steps!” For some reasons the travel group partner managed to stumble just when passing. Perhaps this was just a coincidence? If the guide have been what could been described as “well equipped young blond lady” another member of the travel group had been in big jeopardy.
The initial intention was to combine this walking with another walk to come to the north shore. The track heading to north was missed so the walking continued to the end of this current track
As mentioned before this walking is popular for tourist en masse. When arriving to the far end of this Levada there was a taxi driver asking if he could offer a return trip to the start. He was very surprised when the travel group explained that they will walk back the same track. This meant another 12.4 km. At this time it was good timing to have the picnic lunch that has been brought. During this lunch the travel group, taxi driver and a local road worker had the pleasure to observe a couple that probably where 10 times more inexperienced about Levada walking as the travel group. They were walking around looking everywhere for the start of the Levada. As mentioned before the travel group is not familiar with the Portuguese language and the Portuguese’s are very kind and nice in general. BUT listening to the conversation between the taxi driver and the local worker made it very clear that they had some “interesting” comments about the couple’s activities looking for the start. In the end of the lunch the travel group could see that the Levada was found and the couple started their walk.
The walk back started and after some minutes’ walk the travel group catches up the above mentioned couple. They were confused by a road crossing the Levada and where to continue the walk. Usually it is very easy to find the way since the Levada is on exactly same altitude. When passing the couple they realized how simple it was. The travel group heard some embarrassing laughs in background.
The walking continued and your humble reporter was some impressed of the travel group companion’s performance. The total distance was 24, 8 km and during the whole walk there was no complaining at all.
As mentioned before this walk is used by tourists en masse and therefore different kind of walkers could be observed. Some people like pets and the most common pets are cats and dogs. When the travel group met a group of walkers they carried a basket including a wild duck! That was a totally new variant of pet!
When walking the conversation is rather limited. The standard conversation is as Finnish style. One “Joo” or “kyllä” maximum frequency on per hour. Considering this your humble travel reporter was confused that he became tired in the Jaw! That is a strange and completely new experience!
As mentioned before people are living close and above the Levada. The roads in the valley are somewhat 100 meter below and to approach they have to walk steep stairways. One reflection was the discussions that come up during breakfast – Who will go down and bring the morning paper?
When driving cars in general there are often signs showing km marks. For the first time the travel group saw a levada km mark! The marking was also correct comparing to the GPS.
During the last part of the walking the conversation became even more silent than the Finish standard. Probably because the view of the last stairways became more and more visible. When approaching the last walk down the stairway the travel group observed Levada workers attempt to clear up the previous mentioned landslide. At just that moment they managed to move a very big stone which then started to tumble down in the valley. There were a lot of shouting from different people in the valley and when the stone reach the end it had damaged a small walking bridge, missed a telephone pole, car and house. Your humble reporter had been VERY nervous if some of these objects have been own by ditto!
The travel group also observed the effects of the rain/landslides on a house close to the Levada landslide. A big part of the supporting wall had disappeared and a number of people where loading of many cement sacks to probably create a new wall.
During last part of the walk a discussion came up to have takeaway as dinner to avoid any longer walking’s – 250 meter. The question that should bring home the takeaway was never answered and stayed open. Another alternative that was discussed was to go for the hotels dinner buffet. This was zero walking and just goes down by the elevator to the second floor.
The drive back to Funchal was quick and easy and when approaching the city the travel group realized that the weather in Funchal have been full sun and warm.
Not only is the room “singing” but also the breaks in the rental car. The sound is significant and observed by many locals and tourists. Perhaps it is better to have “singing” breaks that works 100% before breaks than are silent and do not work at all?
The dinner became a 250 meter walk to a Chinese restaurant.
Have a nice evening.
Back to start
The inspiration/creativity is back. The hotel has much different kind of guests. In the breakfast room a different number of languages can be heard. The most common seems to be German, English, Portuguese and Finish. The Swedish language seems to be very rare.
However during Saturday an exception came up. A group of pretty young boys checked in during Saturday afternoon and they were as noisy as young boys are in “such” an age. Your humble reporter should not state that there are no younger guests in the hotel but this group seems very awkward for this travel destination. Your humble reporter guesses this group has bought some last minute, unspecified travel offer, From your humble reporter experiences this group did not felt to be on the “right” travel destination.
Interesting to observe these youngsters how much noise they create during the breakfast. There seemed already to be many things to share even if they have just spent one afternoon and night here in Funchal. It was a lot of Öhhhh, Ähhhh, Have you heard?, Did you see?, etc. Everyone was very eager to share something in and also very loudly. The group had created a “buffer zone” with all other guests who try to sit as far as possible against this youngster “mob”. The night seemed to have been very interesting and the borderline between the night activities and the coming day’s activities seems somewhat unclear. The breakfast champagne suited the group perfectly and the mode continued to be very positive.
Your humble report is very happy that he has not had this type of behavior in younger days!
The weather forecast presented on the hotel is crap. On Friday it was promised to be OK weather so the travel group decided to finally have a nice mountain walk. When arriving to Encumeada pass it was rain, hard wind, and mist – full storm. The walking’s where closed and even if not, it should had not been any nice experience. The travel group made the decision to driver to lower altitude but heading the north coast of Madeira. Usually the weather is better on sea-level but this became also a disappointment. When arriving to Sao Vicente the wind was hard, some rain and no sun. The sun seems to be totally absent during the winter period because of the low position and the central mountains that comes in the way. This is somewhat interesting since the main wine producing area is located on the north side of the island. Do not wine plants require full sun to have the perfect conditions?
The weather was not suitable for any of the walking’s that could have been performed on the north side. The travel group did some Geocaching during the drive eastwards for hopefully reach better weather.
The roads on the north side are “impossible”. It is amazing to observe the steep sloops on the north side and to understand that the “main” roads are meandering at these slopes. There are a number of initiatives to create better roads and a number of tunnels are under construction. Everything takes time and the activities have probably also slowed down because of the financial downturn in Europe. Still there has been a lot of progress during the years When the travel group visited the island for the first time none of the via rapida’s existed and when the travel group took a tour on the local bus it had to go over the mountains on narrow roads which are a challenge even now with a small car.
The weather did not change so the travel group decided to take a “short-cut” over the mountain at Santana. The road went uphill and at Ribeiro Frio it was time for lunch. There are two alternatives when it comes to lunch – Have it in the “village” or at the restaurant where all tourists are eating. The travel group made probably the right decision and had the lunch in the “village”. The village is consisting of approximately 10 houses including a hotel and the current restaurant. The lunch was good, good service and a lot of food. Very much!
The driving continued and the weather was the same until the travel group arrived back to Funchal. It seems that the weather is sunny and warm most of the days in Funchal and on the other parts of the island it can be whatever.
Unfortunately it became no walking today but your humble reporter decided to walk down to the old market to buy some flower bulbs and seeds. The pictures that are attached to the different bulbs/seeds are fantastic. If the purchased merchandises germinate and bloom the patio at home will be very beautiful. Previous years purchases have mostly been failures but some has germinated and have also been blooming. Let’s hope for some successes this year also.
It was late on the day and just by being present in the market area and giving the impression of an interested tourist who wants to spend some money created a number of offerings from the sales persons. Some purchases where analyzed and decided by your humble reporter but others was just some merchandizes thrown in a paper bag and offered for 5 euro. Accepted a couple of these offers so let’s see what the result can be!
When returning to the hotel the still remaining effects of today’s lunch (for “giants”) supported the decision to skip the dinner tonight.
Saturday had promised the same weather as the day before so the travel group did not take the risk to return up in the mountains again. The finally selected walking will be on lower level – 500 m. Still on this “low” level it was very strong winds and when the sun disappeared it felt pretty cold.
The todays tour was VERY interesting in that sense showing how important it is with communication and also to check that the statements from one person have been understood by the other! It should have been like in the army when the officer tries to get some “stupid and unmotivated” conscripts to understand what the mission is. “First I say what they should do, then how they should do it, then how they did it and finally what they should remember from what they have done”. “After that they can perform the selected mission”.
In this case the agreed start was located at the place where Levada Nova crosses the main road. This seemed to be a very simple and clear message and cannot be misunderstood. BUT deviating understandings and later consequences caused many confusions and in some extent frustrations. The travel group has many years’ experiences with map reading from many orienteering’s trainings and competitions. The travel group also had a walking guide, detailed walking map and GPS. Still a fatal error was made today!
The walk at the Levada Nova was mainly in the Eucalyptus forest which was not OK for the sun burn but good protection for the very strong and cooling wind. There is also a very special smell in these forests. When arriving to very wild waterfall there was no continuation of the Levada. This was strange since the Levada should continue further on considering the number of bends and distance that have been performed. There was a very doubtful concrete bridge that could be used to come to other side of the wild river but on the other side there was nothing more than some very unclear paths going up on a muddy and very steep slope. The travel group had a several minutes’ conference trying to understand how they could be at the end-point but accepted that at last. Still not understanding how this could be possible. To avoid going back the exact same way which was a little boring since there was not so many interesting views on this Levada an alternative was to climb up on a very small and “mysterious” stairway. At the end of the stairway there was a road heading against Santo da Serra.
The stairs created a very “mysterious” atmosphere, It was a very exhausting ascent but the experience was like in the computer game MYST. If you have played it you will understand the feeling.
The ascent was really tough but the rest should be easy walking first on a flat road and then slowly down to the start of the walking. On the travel guides map it looked to somewhat 1,5 to 2 km. That was of course not the case. The travel group walked and walked and the feeling was that they will never reach the start. On the last part it became even stranger since the route marked on the GPS and the walking guide instructi0ons seemed to be completely different.
The travel group decided to trust the walking guide since this showed very clear how to reach the start “where the Levada cross the main road”. The travel group continued walking downhill and just hoped that after the next bend they will arrive to the car parking. Nothing seemed to be as expected. No car showed up. After a while your humble reporter realized that the altitude was down to 400 m and he was really sure that the start of the walking was at 500 m. Something must be completely wrong. The travel group was totally confused and a conference started. The travel group had to go back as far as to the start from the hotel to understand what have happened. The start was “when the Levada cross the main road” and that have caused all the todays confusions because of two different mindsets!. There was two “main roads” and the Levada crossing was different depending on the member in the group!
The consequence of this mistake was that the travel group had to head back on the current road up to altitude 500 meter. Luckily the travel group did not have to go the whole way back to the main-road crossing but could use the Levada to get to the car parking. Of course the extra 100 meter uphill and the extra 40 min Levada walking were in some extent very demotivating. This was the last part of this ways walking. When arriving to 500 m the travel group approached the chapel which was the “correct” start for today’s walking. At least it was from the travel groups walking leader! The last part was done in complete silence. The chapel was by the way much decorated because of some wedding that will be performed later today. Later the travel group saw some also decorated cars with flowers heading to the chapel.
At last the travel group arrived to the car and the picnic lunch could finally been eaten. This was a somewhat constraining walk and of course the later part caused some challenges for the motivation.
The rest of the day was enjoyed on the balcony at the hotel.
For the dinner your humble reporter made a check on Trip advisor and found a Portuguese restaurant with high rating. The walk to the restaurant was short which was a relief since your humble reporter has got a number of blisters on his toes during the walking’s. This is very strange since your humble reporter is running very regular and still gets these blisters? What is the difference?
The restaurant was really nice. The starters were excellent and the main course was OK. The service was nice and not so “pushy” as when visiting the excellent restaurant “Tokos”. The travel group will probably revisit today’s restaurant. Hopefully the main course will be as excellent as the starters.
Today’s weather report stated rain all day. The decision was not to go up to the mountains but walk on lower level. Of course there was no rain and it was the warmest day until now! The walking was on Levada Norte from Camara de Lobos to Gabo Girao. For your honorable readers your humble reporter just wants to inform that Camara de Lobos was the place where Winston Churchill spent periods of his vacations/recovery. He has also created a number of paintings and did some writing at this location. This is of course information that you honorable reader already know about!
The walking was pretty easy with some parts where it is a challenge for persons with vertigo. The travel companion managed pretty well without any delaying stops. The end of this walk was at Gabo Girao. This is a famous steep – 604 meter and is the second highest steep in Europe. The backside of this place is that a many tourists are taken to this place and it is what you call a tourist-trap Your humble reporter took the decision to go out on the ramp which was built outside the steep and had glass floor. It was a very thrilling feeling to look down 604 meter without anything but the glass floor under the feet’s! The floor was also wavered when people were walking. The travel companion refused to put her foot on this platform.
When walking on this Levada there were tracks of bicycles. Could that be possible? just walking was a real challenge in some areas and to run a bicycle on this Levada must demand excellent skills on balance. Can people be really such crazy? The walk back from Gabo Girao to the start was hot because of the best weather until now. Luckily there was a bar in the middle on the route back and getting some coffee and coke was like getting water in the dessert. The bar was just a “hole in the wall” but was definitely suitable for the travel group needs. Your humble reporter have observed that the travel companion have been very tired the latest kilometers before the bar. It is easy to recognize since the shoulders are falling down approximately 5 – 10 cm. The coffee and coke created some extra strengths and the last 5 km walking was pretty easy.
At the end/beginning of today’s walking the travel group met a German couple with mountain bikes. They were asking if it is possible to go by mountain bike on the current Levada. The first thought was “totally crazy Germans!” but perhaps that was not the right start to get an common understanding of the huge challenges and risk to try to go by bicycle on this route. The recommendation was like Frankie goes to Hollywood – “Relax, don’t do it!”
The travel group can only hope that the German couple did not do it!
Rest of the day was spent on a warm and nice balcony with a glass of red wine. Next decision to make is to choose a restaurant for the evening. The damn blisters make your humble reporter walk like a very, very old man.
By the way there are many channels on the TV at the hotel room. All are in Portuguese language so there is not much to see. BUT there was a documentary yesterday on History channel. It was about the world’s most dangerous airports. Guess which airport came on the ninth place! Your humble reporter will give the answer when he returns back to Sweden (if he does!).
Have a nice evening
Back to start
Today morning the young travel group where pretty quit during the breakfast. Almost half of the group was also missing at the breakfast. It seemed too been a hard night and the comments/sounds where more discrete today. Perhaps high noises are not got for an eventual hangover? Yesterday when your humble reporter published the travel report the group was split in two. One went out for taking over the city and another had already occupied the piano-bar.
The only place that have free internet is on the reception floor why also your humble reporter had good “control” of what the youngsters where planning/doing. The hotel has a very open and spacious hotel interior. All floors are open so what goes on at first floor is also easy to hear on 10th floor.
Your humble reporter woke up some times during the night hearing the young “mob” having some discussions that have to be settled in the hallway and not in the rooms. The interior and materials in the building also supports a lot of echoes when there are noises.
BUT the young guys are all already exhausted after just two nights partying? What is happening with young people these days? When your humble reporter was “young” the partying could be ongoing for one week before that generation needed some intermissions.
Just a comment about yesterday’s dinner. The travel group has never tasted so poor sushi as yesterday. It was a disaster and even your humble reporter had cooked it many times better. How can you be Japanese, running a Japanese restaurant and serve such shit?
The restaurants food varies very much here in Funchal and it seems that a trip advisor check is always needed for not taking any risks. BUT how can you fail with Sushi?
Today’s weather is cloudy and grey so again there is no use to go up to the mountains. Today’s walking became Levada da Serra from Choupana to upper Camacha – 19 ,5 km easy walking to the end and back. The walking was more a muddy track than a Levada. The Levada is no longer in use and contained no water. It is much funnier when you have water rippling besides you when walking.
Today’s challenge was to get to the start of the walk. The road to the start was steep uphill from Funchal and the travel companion who is normally very unpleasant and worried about car driving on Madeira became even more worried when going uphill.
For some reason the hand brake lamp was shining red on the instrument panel. The breaks worked fine but the blinking red light made the travel companion very worried. The last part of car drive was on a very narrow street and just after approaching it the travel group met a garbage truck going downwards. There was no room for two cars passing so the travel group had to go reverse back which was little tricky and not so good for the “stimmung”.
Finally the travel group arrived to the “car parking”. As usual on Madeira there is minimum space besides the roads so the parking was as normal 30-40 cm slip besides the road.
The travel group took experiences from yesterday’s mistakes which must NOT be repeated and had a small conference checking again and again that the group was in the right position for approaching the Levada. The first part was uphill and there should be no mistake causing that the group have to return down and back up again by some other road. This time no mistakes were made and after a constraining walk uphill the Levada could be reached.
This Levada must be very beautiful to walk when the African Lilies/Agapanthus are blooming. There were numerous of plants at the whole Levada. Even if it was not any blooming season some very nice flowers could be photographed also today – See pictures. Another surprise also showed up when walking the Levada. The Levada contained a number of Geocaches which belonged to a mountain bike series. This Levada/path was also perfect for the mountain bikers. The first part to the turn point was pretty easy since there were many stops to search for and log Geocaches. At the turning point there was an opportunity to go down to Camacha center which is a giant “tourist trap” with a shop selling all types of Madeira souvenirs. This extra walk should be 1 km extra downhill and of course then back uphill if the travel group not decides to take a taxi back to the car parking.
After some discussions the decision was to return back on the Levada and visit Camacha by car. On the way back the travel group stopped at a bar which showed up in perfect timing. The bar was offering besides coffee of course also chestnut bread and lemon/coconut pastries. This was a perfect light lunch and tasted excellent after the first hours walking’s. In front of the bar there was a group of local “bums”. They played the role of pushing in walkers to the bar and the travel group is not sure if they had some commission or they just did for their own interest/fun.
The sun has showed up again after being hidden behind the clouds so the rest of the walk could be done in shorts. The bar visit seemed to have created miraculous strengths for the travel companion who continued the walking with impressive power in the walking sticks and legs. Your humble reporter was impressed and needed to stretch out the steps to catch up. How could this be possible? The pace continued almost all the way back until just a couple of 100 meters before the connecting road. Suddenly all power just diminished and the travel companion had a very hard time just going down the final road to the car parking.
There had been some discussion about going back by car to Camacha but any decision but returning back to the hotel for resting was out of the question. Your humble reporter requested for a short stop at the downhill Orchid garden to make some orchid bulb purchases.
When the travel group visited Madeira some years ago a number of bulbs where purchased but all just failed/died. Let’s see if it will be better luck this time. The short walk to the shop/garden was some downhill and then uphill and of course the same way back. The travel companion decided not to move a single meter from the car.
The bulbs was purchased and the last times failures where discussed with the seller. What could have been wrong causing all bulbs and plants to die? No real answers where found and only some speculations came up. Let’s cross the fingers for better luck this time!
Back at the hotel the travel group established themselves on the balcony with some appropriate liquids. The wind is little cold today so the stay is not as pleasant as it can be. The angle of the Balconies position is also such as the last hours of sun cannot be joined since the balcony is then positioned in the shadow. Not so pleasant when the wind is blowing cold.
The dinner today was on an Italian restaurant. The restaurant was very popular and it became full very quick. The food was not perfect. It seems to be some challenge to find the perfect dinner in Funchal. The closest have been Tokos and the Portuguese restaurant. Perhaps the travel group is picky?
Have a nice evening.
Back to start
At breakfast the travel group can see that new guests have arrived. Even the Swedish language can be heard more than from the “youth” group. By the way – The group seems to be fewer attendants at the early breakfast every day. The current “brave” breakfast consumers where today where quit and seemed to have a very, very hard hang-over. They were sitting still and quit like first graders on their first day at school.
Interesting with hang-over – Many victims for this “disease” seems to be somewhat sensitive for high noises. Because of so many new guests at the hotel some interesting things could be observed! The floor in the breakfast room is made of stone and the chairs have some kind of cushion on the chair legs. When you are a new guest you have not yet become familiar with the “technique” how to adjust your chair position without making a lot of sounds. When sitting or raising up the wrong “technique” can cause a very high squeaking noise.
Your humble reporter did observe that the youth group where somewhat uncomfortable about these noises. During the stay your humble reporter has learned some tricks how to avoid or how to create the noises mentioned. When understanding the status of the “youth” group your humble reporter could not resist using the technique to make a very long and very annoying squeezing noise. The same time of course looking very innocent and give the impression of stating a silent – “uups”! This noise was created when in same time glancing at the reactions from the “youth” group.
Oh! Your humble reporter is so mean! He He!
Another very positive observation is that the sky is clear blue this morning and no clouds in sight! Time to go up to the mountains! Hopefully the travel group will not have the same negative surprise as last time when the weather was very good in Funchal but the weather in mountains where rain and storm.
From Ribeira Brava the road went uphill to the Encumeada pass- Still clear blue sky. After the Encumeada pass the road went more uphill to Campo Grande and the start for the walk – Bica da Cana – Still the sky is clear blue!
The walking was classified as easy/moderate with some few vertigoes passages. There should also be protecting railings on the most vertigoes places. Of course these can disappear if there are landslides. At the beginning of the walk there was some kind of warning sign in Portuguese which could not be understood by the travel group. Afterwards the assumption was that it was a warning for landslides/falling rocks and new waterfalls during winter time.
As mentioned the route was classified as easy/moderate and that could be OK when considering the walk constraints. BUT if you consider the vertigo passages which in some parts where VERY “ball-shrinking” you may also wonder how the walks with serious vertigo passages look like!
The sun was shining and in the open sun it was warm enough to have short sleeves. BUT still there was frost on the ground after a cold night (1.600 meter altitude) and most of the walk was performed at North side of the central mountains. This meant shadow and slippery walk because of the ground frost. First part went downhill on a very stony and tricky path. The walking sticks were a very good investment!
The walking becomes much easier when coming down to the primary walk path. The path continued in a Juniper woods area until arriving to the start of Levada da Serra. This is a very nice and somewhat “wild” Levada with water rippling besides the travel group when walking. The walk became after a while more and more vertigoes and because of the rainy season there were a number of new waterfalls. Every new waterfall was passable but gave some extra showers on the travel group. At the same time when trying to pass them quickly to avoid being complete wet it was very vertiginous and slippery. The walking sticks were a very good investment for this type of passages.
The travel companion has problem with vertigo and her mode was becoming more and more worried. BUT the travel companion managed to overcome these tricky passages without any problems more than being somewhat wet. After the waterfalls the travel group arrived to Pinaculo. This is a very striking mountain top – See pictures. At this place there were some benches and tables and the travel group took a short break to read the walking guide how to approach further. The guide proposed to walk to next view-point and then return back, passing the vertiginous area and the go left on a very steep path back to the start of the walk.
This information was not so popular for the travel companion who had some real challenges handling the vertigo problem while passing all these “shower” waterfalls. Therefore an idea came up that the travel companion could continue from the viewpoint to the road going to Encumeada and your humble reporter goes back and take the recommended route to the car park. This seemed to be a good idea and calmed down the travel companion. Of course there where some BUT…..
The walk continued slightly downwards to the recommended viewpoint. When arriving there your humble reporter must admit that this was a REAL viewpoint. It was a VERY “ball-shrinking” viewpoint! When looking over the edge it must been somewhat 800 – 1.000 meter down to the bottom of the valley. If the travel group or some single member would continue the walk it will be downwards on a very very vertigoes walk. Your humble reporter was also somewhat uncomfortable when standing at the edge or considering walking down. The travel companion panicked somewhat when realizing the view at this viewpoint and quickly returned back to somewhat “safer” area. Your humble reporter took some pictures but unfortunately these pictures cannot give you honored readers the same feelings that were experienced. The legs became little shaky!’
This meant of course that the travel group (all members) had to walk back the same way as earlier and to challenge all the prior uncomfortable feelings/experiences.
Still this time the vertigo problems where handled much better by the travel companion and she showed some real guts when passing these tricky parts.
After the waterfalls the travel group had to look for the path going upwards. This was not observed when going in other direction. Missing the path was not so strange since it was very small and also in an area where no one “normal” even had considered that a path could exist. The area was very steep uphill and the path was climbing up in a micro zigzag pattern. Again the walking sticks proved to be a very very good support/investment. The ground was frosty and the steps were long and uphill.
The uphill walking was much constraining (can the altitude have some effects?) but went OK.
The travel groups both members where very happy to have had the opportunity to make this walk. It was a very beautiful walk and also somewhat thrilling! Sometimes it is fun to be little frightened!
When arriving to more flat areas the GPS was checked and your humble reporter saw that there was a Geocache on the top of Bica da Cana. It was somewhat another 75 m uphill so the travel group was split and the travel companion continued to the car park while your humble reporter approached the hill. The Geocache was found easily and just when it was logged clouds came in and ended todays very good visibility. The walk back was no problem and when arriving to the car park there was a young Finnish couple at the same place. The guy in the group had a real orienteering map which have been created for this area – Paul da Serra. This map was from 2007 and during this year there were some completions arranged at Madeira. It was nice to exchange some orienteering experiences with the guy from Turku.
Since the clouds made further walks somewhat limited when it comes to views the travel group decided to go downwards. The first stop was at Encumeada to buy some souvenirs and to have coffee and sandwiches. At the same time there was also some kind of Bikers meeting with many MCs all over the place. Did not see Lukasz?
The trip continued with logging some Geocaches and driving back to Funchal. The travel group decided also to go to the shopping center and to buy some Christmas presents. Back to the hotel the balcony was occupied but today the wind was cold so it was not as pleasant as it used to be. BUT still it is some sun, plus degrees and no snow!
Next activity is to plan for choosing a descent dinner restaurant.
Until now the travel group has had three failures/not perfect when choosing Asian restaurants. Today was an exception – The travel group was initially the only guests but the service and food was very much OK! Later a Finnish couple arrived and in the end of travel group’s dinner three UK guides arrived. Think the latest can be seen as a confirmation that this restaurant provides value for money. Since they are local guides they sure are familiar with what restaurants serve “shit” and who do not!
Have a nice evening!
….and after this the writing energy disappeared!
Back to start
At yesterday evening dinner a “surprise” was also offered such as the travel group had not experienced before. There seems to be a tradition on the restaurant here in Madeira to offer some little drink on the house when asking for the bill.
Usually some homemade mix or Madeira wine is served. Yesterday the travel group was offered some Chinese drink or Madeira wine. When serving the drinks, the waiter said, while blinking his eye, that these where naughty glasses. This message made of cause the travel group somewhat confused. But after some thinking and looking the travel group realized when looking in the glass that there was a picture of a man/woman in an anatomic special position/situation.
This of course created some curiosity/eagerness for further analyzing the details but the picture was somewhat blurred why the most interesting “things” could not be investigated enough.
How to get a sharper picture? One of the travel member zipped slightly on the drink and woops there was a sharper picture! Encouraged by this your humble reporter swept the whole drink in less than a second and immediately looked down in the glass to get the perfect exposure.
BUT when the liquid was gone nothing could be seen!
Do you understand the moral of this, asked the travel companion?
“If you look to deep in a glass you get less”. HÄPP
Tis evening and night were one of the more unpleasant ones. As mentioned before the room is “singing” when it’s windy outside but that’s no problem. Other disturbing noises are some pumping sounds coming from the drains which occur irregularly. There are also some buzzing noises coming from the electricity setup. It is also irregular and can start whenever. These where the only “standard” until this evening/night.
At the hotel besides (Cliff Bay – The crook mentioned before) there is a lot of stone work ongoing. They are using jackhammer, compressor, blasting/drilling machines and all creating very disturbing noises.
They also worked until 22:00 yesterday evening. Even if your humble reporter was awake and looked on the UEFA championship match PSG – Porto it was very disturbing. (PSG have really a weak defense!). The balcony door had to be open because else it gets too hot and stuffy in the room.
The match and work ended and after a while the travel group fell asleep. BUT after a while there were many noises in the different corridors when some guest where partying or having many discussions. This also ended after a while but started again in late night/early morning. These noises where so hysteric that your humble reporter suspect the “happy” people had taken something.
Perhaps your humble reporter has become too old, grumpy and just whines? By the way, this damn “Cliff Bay” noise is ongoing at same time as your humble reporter is writing this report. It is really annoying.
At breakfast it was totally empty regarding suspected party people. To be fair the party people could not be identified as the “youth group” since it was impossible to hear what language was used in the corridor conferences.
The sky had some clouds today when the sun came up but after a while the clouds disappeared and a clear blue sky was offered! The decision became of course to again go up in the mountains to make some walking. Today’s choice was to take the old walking path that in early days connected south and north side of the island. This path is very popular and one of the more beautiful on the island. For your honored reader your humble reporter also likes to inform that this walk is an anniversary since the same walk was done exactly 20 years ago. Almost exactly on same day! For some reason the walk 20 years ago was much easier than today. Do not really understand why, but perhaps it is because of the prior grass path having by walking and erosion been transferred to a cobbled stone path. That is the only reason that your humble reporter can come up with!
As mentioned before in other reports the car drive to the walking can be as challenging as the walking itself. Narrow streets, bends, up-/down-hill and locals driving like crazy. Another interesting observation is about the planning of the Via Rapidas. The connections have been reported before but another observation is the speed limits signs and planning Seen some example where the max speed goes up before a connection! Also speed signs saying e.g. 100 km/h and 75 m later 80 km/hour. Very interesting planning!
The starting point was at Boca da Corrida. The road went up, up, up and at last the parking was reached. The GPS was investigated and a Geocache came up just 80 m besides the car parking. It was on top of Pico da Corrida. The search failed and the travel group decided to ignore it and start the walk. The search was also in some extent “thrilling” since it was on the slope besides the top and the sloop was loooong if a misstep should be made.
The walk began and the travel companion was full of enthusiasm since this was a very spectacular and beautiful walk. It was classified as not so constraining but based on that you walk to the final point Encumueda!
The travel companion was very cocky today and during the walk there were some very vertiginous areas and in these areas your humble reporter could observe that the travel companion was leaning out of the edge and looking down. This is something complete opposite what should be expected from a person with vertigo problems?! The answer about this observation was “When the travel companion look down she know if she need to be afraid or not!” As suspected there where some logic behind this! HÄPP!
Many pictures were taken and the walk was pleasant. After an hour there was a crossing – Boca da Cerro – with three alternatives – One continue heading to Encumeada, One to go deep down to Curral das Freiras and one to go uphill to Pico Grande. The travel group decided to head for Encumeada and hopefully have a lunch there.
The track became worse and the passage was below a very vertically wall and at the track there were many remains from falling stones and landslides. The first landslides were easy to pass but when reaching one bigger the passage should be somewhat risky and your humble reporter took the decision to go back.
To compensate this truncated walk decision the travel group went back and decided to do an attack on Pico Grande instead. When arriving to the crossing the travel group could observe a walking group led by a professional guide approaching the path uphill to Pico Grande. Just for curiosity the travel group waited to see how the walk looked like. Usually the paths can be seen from distance but in this case the only observation was a very sharp slope and from the current position no path could be identified at all!
There was of course one path and the guide supported the group uphill. At same time many hesitations could be observed from the walking group members when passing some tricky and vertigoes areas. The decision became to skip this walk also.
So today it is your humble reporter who is the chicken. Koack, ka, ka ka!
As mentioned before in the report this walking was classified as pretty easy – When going direction Encumeada etc. It was a complete different matter going back to the start. The travel companion’s cocky mode decreased, at end disappeared totally and finally hanging on the walking sticks asking for a break! Who is the man? – Last man standing!
The walk was perfect but there where little disappointments that it could not be fulfilled as intended. So when coming back to the car the decision was that the damn Geocache should be found as compensation and at whatever price. Your humble reporter took support from the walking sticks and investigated every possible stone that could hide a Geocache and finally it was found.
Time for a picnic lunch and discussion about what should be the next activities. As many of your honorable readers have experienced when sitting down for a while your muscles become somewhat tired and stiff after physical activity. So after the lunch when rising up the decision was made to make some Geocaching on the way home.
The deal was that your humble reporter should handle the driving because it required 100 % concentration while the travel companion should alert when a Geocache was close the road heading back to hotel. As mentioned before the walking had consumed most of the travel companion’s energy causing some slow reactions/concentrations and the comment became as “There was a Geocache but we have already missed it”. Going back was not an alternative for the driver in current mode.
This situation required a lot of self-control from your humble reporter not to express the most spontaneous thoughts because that had probably worsened the currently somewhat tense situation.
The hotel was reached without any Geocaching.
The balcony was occupied again and some appropriate liquids where also consumed after that your humble reporter voluntarily offered to do some purchasing at the local shop. This offer was immediately accepted by the travel companion.
Looking back the last 24 hours the evening activity was given. Some “penalty” Geocaches needed to be found after the disastrous initiative today. Another activity to penetrate further was of course the naughty glasses. The secret was discovered and the wisdom words from the travel companion are valid (at least when it come to the naughty glasses).
Did not hear any stone work when arriving to the room?! Need to check again.
Have a nice evening!
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