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  • gloria139

Madeira is so beautiful … and then we drink the wine by the sea

Updated: May 21, 2023

I had no expectations of Madeira ... so I was absolutely gobsmacked by its beauty. Green mountains of banana plantations and vineyards dotted with whitewashed houses and red clay roofs.

The weather ap said it would be rainy and a high of 14 C on the day we spent here ... and it was completely wrong - 23 and bright sunshine. So I lugged a sweater, rain jacket and umbrella I did not need out to my bus at 9:40am. The Windsor sisters were on the same bus, perhaps because there were just two for English speakers and many more for the other languages. This was one of about 12 free excursions that came as part of the cruise so almost everyone on the ship took part.

This is a random photo of me from later in the day ...... which will make sense as you read on.

Our tour guide was a South African woman who married a Madeiran and fallen as much in love with his country as she had with him. Which meant she was kind of awesome .. funny and knowledgeable.

We travelled uphill in our big bus along narrow roads to our first stop which was a fabulous - and precarious- view of Funchal, the capital city.

Then we went to a cute tourist place overlooking the first settlement on the Island which was established 500 years ago.

I was convinced to buy a cork purse (because the one I have used every day for five years has a hole in it and people have been picking up stuff that has fallen out of it.) And then we walked out to the overlook where we could stand on a deck of glass and stare down hundreds of metres beneath our feet. I did it to not look like a wuss.

This island is famous for its flowers - for good reason ... they are everywhere, even in January.

The Bird of Paradise are especially spectacular to Canadians who have no such plant naturally on their home turf.

Then we went to a small town called Ribera Brava where we were allowed to wander.

The Windsor gals and I bought two small bottles of Madiera (sweet and semi-sweet) and three shot glasses and sat by the sea sipping the contents.

Then we returned to Funchal. I got off the bus and walked through the city a bit. Bought a bottle of bubbly for my daughter then strolled the beautiful walkway along the sea back to the ship, stopping for once for ice cream.

The gardens along the way just sang with color. And there were vendors of all kinds of brought and sparkly things.

Back at the ship, I changed into my bathing suit and went for another dip in the hot tub. This time I was joined by a lovely German couple in their 80s. They did not speak much English but we muddled through and spent a lovely time soaking.

We finished the day with another solo meetup where I met a British gal named Jane who I expect to figure in future blog posts because we have the same interests in terms of what to do off ship.

Dinner was its usual Franglais muddle, except for Pierre the Frenchman trying to tell me that the Canadian government had convinced English people to move to Quebec to water down the French population.

After dinner we went to one of the clubs. John, the Irishman , and I danced to La Ila Bonita ... which has always been a guilty pleasure song for me ... and I had a Manhattan- worrisome that they are free for me on board with my drinks package.

Now we get five days at sea before Barbados. I will post at least once before we reach the Caribbean.

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Jan 11, 2023

I am really enjoying living this cruise vicariously through you Gloria. You are adapting well to cruise life.

Jan 11, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Sandra! It may have been ambitious for my second cruise ever! But so far so wonderful!

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