Day 9 - Funchal
|Wednesday, October 18, 2023: We awoke at 7:30 AM to the lights of Funchal outside our cabin.
|Debbie went out onto the balcony to get a better photo. Here's the view looking to the east, ...
|... and to the west.
|A little after 8:00 AM, the sun was up enough for us to watch as a ferry departed for the nearby island of Porto Santo.
|Speaking of the sunrise, check it out. And also notice the line of clouds moving off to the south. Today had been forecast to be overcast all day, but then the Bundlings arrived on vacation. Now the forecast was for high 70s and clear. That's the Bundlings weather luck for you.
|Sunbeams peeked out over the other islands in the Madeira region.
|We didn't have a tour today, so we let everyone else rush ashore before we headed down to the gangway on deck one around 9:30 AM.
|We were last here in 2011, and we remembered the painted signs left by boat crews on the harbor wall. We were hoping to see some that might have been here from before.
|Portuguese countries have the best sidewalks.
|This sign, left by the crew of the Norwegian sailing ship Christian Radich was definitely here the last time we were here. From the dates on the sign, it seems like they come here often.
|The most famous Funchal native is footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, and there happens to be a museum dedicated to him just 400 meters away just on the other side of the harbor.
|Debbie loves stamped manhole covers with interesting designs.
|At the end of the pier is a hill with stairs cut into the side and benches at the top.
|We decided to go up to the top of the harbor wall and have a look around, ...
|... and see what is on the outside of the harbor. The surf was breaking over these huge rocks just offshore, and we could see a little further to the west along the coastline.
|Just about thirty minutes after getting off the ship, we were on the upper terrace of the CR7 Cristiano Ronaldo Museum looking at this sculpture of a fish titled "Plastic Mero." It was created by artist Artur Bordalo from garbage collected from the waters around Madeira Island in 2018.
|There's a mural of Ronaldo on the wall of the musuem facing the harbor, ...
|... and a sculpture of him on the east side of the building. On the base of the sculpture it reads "born in Madeira" and "best player in the world." A young fan wearing a Ronaldo jersey was visiting with his father.
|As we continued our walk toward the city center, we passed this restaurant on the other side of the street that had some really cool metal sculptures on the rock wall that made up the far side of the venue.
|As we neared the city center, we saw this ad for McDonald's which was our first stop this morning.
|We crossed to the inside of the Avenida do Mar and passed the Palácio de São Lourenço, a fortress built in the early 16th century. Tom wondered why don't we ever stay in a hotel protected by cannon, then Debbie pointed out that we were staying on one right now, because we're pretty sure all cruise ships travel with defensive weapons.
|There were clumps of these birds of paradise flowers growing along the sidewalk. Aren't they pretty?
|This manhole cover not only has a great design, but it also features a convenient hinge.
|We arrived at McDonald's just after they opened at 10:00 AM, ...
|... and went inside to the self-service kiosk to place our order. Debbie knew right away that she wanted to try the featured item, the Maestro Egg Benedict sandwich, ...
|... and Tom selected the McCrispy Creamy BBQ chicken sandwich.
|We added fries and medium Coke Zeroes to our order, ...
|... and then added a donation to Ronald McDonald House Portugal to round it up to 17 Euro.
|After waiting for our food, we decided that it was cooler outside and selected a table on their patio that was at least partially in the shade. Here's Tom ...
|... and his McCrispy Creamy BBQ sandwich.
|Here's Debbie ...
|... and here's her Maestro Egg Benedict sandwich. It consisted of a hamburger patty topped with a fried egg, fresh spinach, and sauce. She was delighted when the egg yolk popped right out of the fried egg so that she could just eat the sandwich with the egg whites. Overall, both sandwiches were delicious.
|The text on the McDonald's cup was the Portuguese translation of the same list of movies we'd seen on a McDonald's bag two months earlier on our trip to Seattle.
|After breakfast, we continued walking eastward along the Avenida do Mar. We had seen the cool cascading water fountain on the right side of this photo when we were here last in 2011.
|We took a photo of the Madeira sign on the waterfront, ...
|... and then headed to this public restroom that was right off the main street.
|Debbie paid her 50 cents Euro for admission, and had this beautiful clean bathroom all to herself.
|There were several sculptures and art installations along the walkway, including this one across from the Praça da Autonomia.
|We watched as a worker used a small backhoe to dredge the area between two piers where there was a little river flowing. Tom very much wanted to climb down there and explain that he had trained for years as a kid in his backyard sandbox to do just this kind of work.
|This rocky little beach is named Praia do Almirante Reis and there were half a dozen people laying on the rocks here enjoying the sun.
|There's a skate park next to Funchal's cable car station, and we watched as a car left the station headed up to the top of the nearby hills. We had done this in 2011 so we weren't tempted to do it this time.
|We had planned on walking to the Santiago Beach Bar, which is right at the end of this wall. You can just make out the blue railings and the awning covering the tables. However, we decided to skip it and continue our walk, ...
|... but not until we'd stopped and photographed this lizard that was hanging out on the wall right in front of us. It was a little skittish of us, but eventually paused long enough for us to get this photo.
|We'd reached the eastern limit of our walk, and we walked back westward through the narrow streets of the Old Town along the Largo do Corpo Santo. The cable car lines were strung just over the end of this block, and Debbie managed to get this photo with one cable car centered above the street and another just visible coming in from the left.
|There was lots of murals and other street art along our route, including this cool mermaid painting with a door knocker where her hair is.
|Our next stop on our walking tour was the Mercado dos Lavradores, ...
|... which is a huge indoor farmer's market. There were flowers strung on wires suspended across the open courtyard in the center of the building.
|There were stands selling fresh fruit, some selling trinkets and touristy stuff, ...
|... and this stall selling a huge variety of dried peppers.
|Here's a view from the second floor looking down on the flowers over the open courtyard.
|This blue mural on tiles was near the entrance to the market.
|We left the market heading northwest and crossed over this canal draining water out to the sea. This was the source of the small river that we saw where Tom wanted to work the backhoe earlier in the day.
|A few blocks from the farmer's market is the Bazar do Povo, a shopping center that has been here since 1883.
|Inside were two floors of everything anyone could ever want. Hair brushes? Sure. Socks and duct tape? No problem. Debbie had made a list of everything that we wanted to buy and we managed to find it all here, including a beautiful decorative bowl that wasn't even on our list.
|Just outside the store was the Banco da Madeira and it started us wondering exactly when the Portuguese use "do" versus "da" versus "de." But while we considered it, we couldn't help but noticed the really beautiful design in the sidewalks.
|Douglas. Douglas Douglas Douglas. That's a lot of Douglases.
|Right at noon, the bells on the clock tower of the Funchal Cathedral started ringing.
|In the square in front of the cathedral, there is a statue of Pope John Paul II commemorating his visit to the island in 1991. To this day, he is the only Pope to ever visit Madeira.
|Next door is Cafe Funchal, where we'd had lunch on our visit in 2011.
|We continued strolling along the Avenida Arriaga, checking out the display of cute socks for sale outside this shop. Unfortunately, we already own too many socks to use before we die so we didn't buy any.
|Here's the modern Banco de Portugal building, ...
|... or you can choose to go to the building that is so old it uses a "V" in its spelling of Banco de Portvgal.
|This statue was of João Gonçalves Zarco, a 15th century Portuguese explorer who established settlements on the island of Madeira.
|Blandy's Wine Lodge has been here since 1811. We tried samples of Madeira here last time but decided against it this time.
|The next block contained the Municipal Gardens of Funchal, ...
|... and we found a bench on the street across from the park and sat in the shade for a little while, just outside the Madeira Ritz Hotel.
|After our break, we headed across the street to look at the fountain on the edge of the park.
|As we reached the end of the Avenida Arriaga, we headed up the Avenida do Infante and walked up the hill and into Santa Catarina Park.
|It's a large park with beautiful walkways, ...
|... and lizards everywhere you look, including this beautiful iridescent one just hanging out on the low stone wall getting some sun.
|There's a duck pond near the top of the hill, and we walked around it toward a concession area ...
|... where we bought ice cream. Debbie got mint chocolate and Tom got caramel, and both were absolutely delicious after walking all day.
|We found a bench overlooking the pond and sat while we ate our ice cream, ...
|... and watched as these Muscovy ducks frollicked near by.
|Their warty heads were spectacular to see, and while they preened and pecked at each other, they never made a sound. Maybe that's why the Portuguese name for these ducks, pato do mudo, translates to mute duck.
|We headed toward the exit at the southern edge of the park, ...
|... and got a great view of our ship docked on the other side of the harbor.
|Do you see that blank white wall just below the deck where the flag is? That's the side of our cabin. Our balcony stretches from just below the bottom of the flag pole to the end of the ship and then around the back. Best balcony ever!
|As we started down the hill toward the street, we passed these hibiscus plants along the edge of the walk.
|We were very happy that we'd decided to visit this park at the end of our walking tour when all of the steps that we'd be taking were downward. There were quite a few steps, ..
|... and even more lizards to see among the bricks on the walls. How many lizards can you count in this image? Hint: there are at least five.
|Just after 1:00 PM, we were nearing the end of the port and could see the awesome building on the other side. It appears to be built right into the original rock. So cool.
|Ewww. As we made our way around the port toward the security checkpoint, we saw this smashed crab on the street and had to photograph it in all of its gruesome detail. You're welcome.
|By 1:15 PM, we were back in the area where the signs painted by the crews were, ...
|... and we noticed something on the front of the ship that we hadn't seen before.
|The front of the ship has been painted with the Africa Grand Voyage logo. Cool!
|When we got to the gangway, we got two ice waters from the waiting staff before we boarded the ship. Oh, that cold water tasted so good!
|Back in our cabin, Tom's laundry was waiting for us.
|We spread out our souvenirs from the day onto the bed. We'd gotten socks, a hair brush, red duct tape, and a decorative coconut bowl from the Povo Bazar, and we'd gotten a Madeira sampler, coasters, and a rum punch sampler from the shops outside of the Ronaldo Museum.
|We headed up to the Lido Market for a late lunch and grabbed a few pieces of sushi each and brought them back to eat on our balcony.
|It's always different looking at the town after you've been there and have context on it. The green space in this photo is the Santa Catarina Park at the western end of our walk, ...
|... and the yellow building at the end of the town marks the eastern end of our walk.
|Just to the right of the big tree in the center of this photo is the McDonald's where we'd started the day.
|We watched the windsurfers in the harbor as they crossed back and forth, ...
|... including this guy who seemed to be a novice and kept crossing other people's paths.
|At one point, he nearly got himself run down by this tourist boat even though it was honking its horn continuously as he tried to cut in front of it. Eventually, he realized he wasn't going to make it and turned his board with a few feet to spare.
|We got out the binoculars and tried to find where the baskets run down the streets of Funchal, and sure enough, Debbie was able to spot them.
|Look for the bridge in the center of this photo, then follow it up the hill to the white tower, ...
|... and then to the right over to the pale yellow house, and then to the street just below and to the right of it, ...
|... and if you watch long enough, you'll see people flying down the street in wooden baskets. Here comes one ...
|... and here it is a little further down the street.
|These three baskets came down all bunched up where normally there was a 30-second break between baskets. It is a very strange activity that is very unique to Funchal, but it was a lot of fun when we did it.
|Here's the LEGO daily calendar display for today, which is day 9 of the trip. The flowers represent Funchal which is famous for them, our minifigs are carrying McDonald's French fries and Euros, and the display has the flag of Portugal above the date on the left panel.
|We hopped down to the Neptune Lounge for a quick snack of pitas and hummus, ...
|... and then headed back to our cabin so that we could watch sail out. Is that dock moving?
|Yes, it most certainly is.
|There's the cable car station again. Tom counted 38 cars in motion going up and down the hill.
|There were a lot of birds hovering around the back of the ship as the propellers churned up the sea.
|Just after 5:00 PM, we watched the pilot boat head back toward port, ...
|... and we watched with fascination as the birds effortlessly glided along behind the ship, sometimes getting near enough to our balcony so that we could almost touch them.
|We headed up to the Lido Market to get dinner as soon as they opened at 5:30 PM. Dinner was vaguely Indian, with spicy chicken, noodles, and a delicious baked corn chowder.
|When we went back to the cabin after dinner, Josmen and Catur had already cleaned up the room and left tomorrow's daily program on the bed.
|We sailed past three other islands that make up part of the Madeira archipelago. The tiny one on the left is barely visible in this photo.
|After we had finished dessert in our cabin, we started watching "Blinded by the Light" for tonight's movie, but we only got about halfway through the movie before we couldn't watch any more of it, so we spent the rest of the evening relaxing, tired after all of today's walking.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy