The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Day 3 in Madeira

Thursday 17 November

The majority vote for Day 3’s activities was to have a look around Funchal - although not before another three-course breakfast had been consumed. After all, it would be foolhardy to step out for an arduous day of sight-seeing without sufficient fuelling!

I hadn’t really thought that a stroll into town would count as a walk in its own right, but given the distance covered it did amount to a decent circular outing (the circular bit wasn’t entirely intended, but I’ll say nothing about the tunnel incident).

After a visit to the cathedral and the market, we wandered down a randomly picked back-street, in the direction of the fort. At first it looked like any ordinary back-street:


Then we discovered that the street doubled as an art exhibition, where an art project has seen the majority of the doors in that area being painted – and not in the usual sense of a coat of gloss. Martin declared that this one was more than a handful…


The quality varied from professional right down to ‘did a five year old do that?!’, but I only snapped the ones that caught my eye.


This one was my favourite:


Further up the road Mick turned a sudden pirouette and snapped Sue & I walking up the road, without even giving us the chance to adopt the usual grins. It isn’t an interesting photo in its own right, except that a few days later Mick & I were sitting at one of those restaurant tables to the left and half way through lunch Mick (who was seated facing up the road) commented on how many photos he was appearing in, as almost everyone who walked up that road turned at the top and took a photo looking back. It wasn’t until we got home and reviewed the pictures that we discovered that Mick had done the exact same thing himself.


Having reached the fort, we didn’t get to visit it immediately as it had just closed for lunch, but we did stop and read the information sign outside. There were quite a few of these information signs dotted around and in general the translation was excellent. This one held up well until the very last sentence: “The Contemporaneous Art Museum here installed displays its heap mainly through temporary exhibitions.”

It’s heap?!


Having followed the fort’s example, and found a good spot for lunch ourselves, we returned early in the afternoon. Unfortunately my photos of the fort don’t in any way show what it’s really like, but the opinion I formed was that it’s definitely worth a visit.


The art exhibition wasn’t my cup of tea, but that turned out to be secondary to the interest of the building itself. This was one of the modern art exhibits (a backpack complete with all of the backpacking essentials: ice axe, bed roll, skeleton…):


The art exhibitions even led us down into the dungeons:


Back out in daylight we walked past the local chaps variously playing dominoes or cards in the square:


By this time we were on our return leg, but still got distracted by sculptures placed along the sea-front promenade:


Funchal seems to have quite a few gardens and we walked through one as an alternative to a road walk back to the hotel. Here we witnessed a subject of graffiti that I’ve not before seen:


Then we stumbled across the Presidents house and recalled that we’d been told that you could take a stroll around his gardens. The guard gave us the nod and so that’s what we did. It was excellent! Amongst the interesting flowers, plants and border:

IMG_3601 there were also various caged birds, including this golden pheasant:


And these Macaws:


The president had a pretty impressive view of Funchal too:


Finally we did drag ourselves away for the final bit of a walk up the hill to the hotel. It was an excellent day out – so much more than I expected from a stroll into town. To my surprise, we’d walked somewhere in excess of 6 miles.

Having won the hotel quiz (no prize, it was just for fun) it was then an evening of beer, wine and too much food, whilst we decided what to do on Day 4…


  1. Another cracker, Gayle. Well done!

    Talking about 'too much food' - have you looked at the menu I sent?

  2. What an interesting place. But making me cry (with laughter) at this time in the morning is a 'heap' much!