Sunday, 15 March 2009

Madeira - day one

This time, the pics are NOT of the Peak district, rather of our week in Madeira. The island is incredible. The mountains and landscape in general just blow you away, but the flowers......OH the flowers! They are EVERYWHERE, and in SUCH abundance.
These are the first lot, or 'day one'. I will post more as I sort them, so here we go...........
We took off from good old Blighty, leaving a good view of the Brecon Beacons behind (thanks to Sue for research into where this view from the plane was).
Next thing we knew (well - if you can CALL almost four hours flying; 'next thing'), we were staring at the coastline of Madeira.
HAHAHAHAHA! Looks like some idiot has built a runway on stilts - bloody glad WE'RE not landing there............
W....W....Why.....why is the plane TURNING?????

Oh God.....oh Christ...oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
(Our Father, who art in heaven) - THANK YOU for getting us down, safe and sound, on the stilts!!
Hey, I'll tell you what - it's not half bad here!
About 14C and a great hotel room. This is Sue on our balcony, day one.
(She looks like she's on the set of; 'I'm a celebrity....'
We asked for a nice view - and BOY, did we get it!

Oh, stop swanking Sue.

Eh, get that waiter here with a Daiquiri or two.
Shall we take a quick walk in the gardens?

I'm a REAL 'fan' of Madeiran gardens...
Anyway - we've not come here to sit in the hotel, time to explore a bit. Day one - MUST do the cable car up to the top of Funchal. First thing, catch a yellow bus, or to give them a better name 'funfair ride'.
I kid you not, these innocuous looking things look quite sedate in a still picture, but they are driven in only two ways - HARD DOWN accelerator, or HARD DOWN brake.
You soon learn to hang on for dear life!

I was going to ask her for ten Euros for this picture - but she beat me to it!
(I think one or two in the car with us had the same idea)

Errrmmm, is it my imagination or....NAH - I mean - NO-ONE would put a cable support right through the roof of a CAFE....would they???

Oh SH*T!
Madeira's road system has improved immensely over the last few years, tunnels and long span bridges are the order of the day. They are easy on the eye, and somehow look like they belong.

Hiya Susie :-)

It was a good ride to the top, with superb views all the way.
See the cruise ship in the harbour?

The sledge ride - one of the 'must do's' of Madeira.


Serious stuff, this sledge driving!

Any more before we go????
(Can you spot the hunchback of Notre Dame walking by?)

The (very) old church at Monte.
Inside the church.

There are loads of street cafes to stop and relax/have a beer in.

Lovely picture of Sue.

The Blandy family have a great history of producing the famous Madeira wine. In their shop, you can see (and buy, if you have enough money) some seriously old bottles of it.

After the sightseeing, it was time to go back to the hotel for a cocktail or two.

The guy behind the bar was no 'shop egg', and did stuff like this as a hobby.

The corridors of our hotel were a wonderland of mosaic.

Peaceful outside now.........
......and the gardens were so tranquil and quiet.

We decided to walk into Funchal for a bite to eat, why can't our cities be as pretty as this, and we felt safe, no crowds of yobs or hassle from down and outs - it was just a lovely experience.

The harbour slept, and looked serene and peaceful.

There were a LOT of restaurants to choose from on the harbour front, and every one tried to lure you in with some sharp chatter. They ALL claimed to be the best, so - how to decide?

What would sir and madam like?
Please accept a pre-dinner cocktail & some olives on the house (cheers).
A local speciality was 'steak on the stone'.
You sliced the steak, laid it on the hot stone to sizzle to your liking.
Believe me, it was divine!
Two VERY satisfied customers!

Then, it was time for bed - what a great start to the holiday.

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