Thursday, December 13, 2007

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

By the time we left Cadiz, we had had eight straight days of shore excursions and had walked just short of fifty miles over some fairly hilly territory. An entire day at sea then, came as a welcome respite on the journey to the island of Madeira. We made the most of it - late to rise, ate frequently, watched television and generally behaved disgracefully - a pleasing project.
Madeira, the largest island of the Madeira Archipelago is 34 miles long, 14 miles wide and is home to 250,000 people. First laid claim to in 1419 by Portuguese explorers, it has remained in Portuguese care and is now an autonomous archipelago. About 200 miles from both the African continent and from Lisbon, Madeira enjoys a mild climate and a colossal variety of lush vegetation, some species of which are said to have been left there by explorers returning from the Americas.

Funchal is the capital of Madeira and sits in a natural bay on the south side of the island. In 1479, Christopher Columbus visited Madeira to buy a cargo of sugar and he not only stayed there, he married the daughter of the first governor of the second largest island, Porto Santo. Overall, an interesting place to visit although one day was not enough to do justice to everything available.
After leaving Funchal, it was, as they say, plain sailing as the ship headed for Fort Lauderdale and the end of our tour. An easy two hour flight later and we were back in the reality of a mid-west winter refreshed and ready for Christmas.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You did an outstanding job on your trip blog as it was just like being there on the trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Happy New Year to you and Marion!!!!