Thursday, January 06, 2011

Funchal, Madeira

Madiera is the main island of a small Portuguese archipelago about 500 miles west of the African Atlantic coast. Funchal, on the south side of the island, has been the capital since the island was settled by Portuguese explores more than 600 years ago. Although we had visited here on a previous cruise we decided to go ashore and stroll around anyway. The weather was warm and muggy and, from the dock that our cheesy cruise line had secured (the cheap seats, so to speak), the walk to town seemed never ending. Sapped of energy, we managed a rotish walkabout and returned to the ship fairly shortly.
The island is roughly 28 by 10 miles and towers almost 4,000 feet above the ocean. In February 2010, a few months after our visit, the area was racked by torrential rain storms causing flash flooding, sustained run-off and about 50 deaths. Hopefully, this may provide an opportunity to clean up some of the poorer parts of the city. More pictures here.

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