Madeira, set in the Atlantic Ocean, lies 350 miles off the west coast of Africa with its neighbour Porto Santo, a popular summertime destination for Madeirans. Usually visible from Funchal are the Islas Desertas (Deserted Isles), uninhabited except for birds, seals and visiting naturalists. Madeira is one of a series of oceanic volcanic islands that date back about 20 million years. From the islands main east-west mountain range, numerous high ridges run north and south to the coast. All roads have to take a zig-zagging route to negotiate the deep valleys and ravines and narrow terraces have to be created to be able to grow crops, etc.
For this two leaders, two walks holiday, some walks followed the levadas - waterways ingeniously engineered both over and through rock transporting water to the sun parched regions of the south. Other walks explored mountains, valleys (and tunnels!) along contouring pathways - plus a few steep ascents and descents! The weather was mainly pleasant with routes sometimes taking us above patchy low cloud - adding to the atmosphere of the mountains.
Al and Jane took us on an orientation walk around Funchal then I returned to take in more of the sites.
Getting to know one another as we stroll along the main street . . .
and find a tree . . .
with a bulbous trunk
A frequent visitor
Returning to the sea front . . .
I don't think the digger will scoop much water . . .
and as the waves approach . . .
this one decides machinery and salt water don't mix
A closer view of the cruise ship . . .
the background to much smaller vessels
Christopher Columbus in the Jardim de Santa Catarina . . .
where I decide to take a closer look . . .
at the frangipani tree . . .
using my zoom lense
Colourful amaryllis . . .
share the same bed
Back along the main street I spot a fountain . . .
and an interesting floral arrangement