Update: 9 - 16th June 2014
Enjoyed our time on Madeira Island, staying at the Porto Santa Maria Hotel, even though it was for only a one week this visit. There was so much going on in around the city.
On Tuesday 10 June it was Portugal Day, as it was a Bank Holiday and lots of shops etc., were closed, the city was not busy. We thought this would be a good day to have a walk around and catch up with the city and its narrow streets and alleyways. So many shops and cafes have closed up since out last visit 2 years ago. Waked for hours.
We then went along to the Sao Laurenco Palace and watched the Madeira Military Band marching. They all looked so smart and proud. Lots of locals and tourists taking photographs.
From Friday and through the weekend there was a Fiesta taking place in the Old Town. Again, very busy with locals and tourists. There was a parade along Rua Santa Maria on the Friday Night which was really good. The streets around the Old Town were decorated and the fairy lights also added to the atmosphere. The costumes worn by both ladies and gentlemen were bold and full of colour. Some wore flower pot hats on their heads. The Brass Band were also there playing which added to the atmosphere as they made their way through the happy crowds. Good evening.
There was a small stage in the garden near the cable car and they put on a few displays of Zumba on the Saturday, it was such fun watching. The beat of the music got everyone joining in from small children to some ladies sitting on the seats watching. They put so much effort into the routine.
Also on the Saturday evening the Firework Display was set off in the port. The Brass band played along the Rua Santa Maria and just outside the gates of the Porto Santa Maria Hotel. By 10.00 pm a large crowd gathered along the promenade wall just past the cable car. The Fireworks were excellent, lasted for about 25 mins or so. We could have watched from the hotel balcony or roof terrace but decided to go out into the crowd just for the atmosphere. It was great, watching the family gatherings and all the excited little children etc.,
On the Sunday evening we went along to Restoration Square, the small square by the Golden Gate Cafe as over the weekend they were holding a Bread Festival (organised by the Lions) with different Breads on sale that had been made throughout the island. So, many lovely breads. The bread we took back to eat on the balcony as a midnight snack with a glass of madeira wine was delicious under the light of our citrus candle. Earlier, at 8.00 pm watched the Army marching and lowering the flag outside the Sao Lourenco Palace.
Did lots and lots of walking every day in and around the city. So glad I broke my tracking shoes in well before my visit. No levada walks this visit though.
Walked up to the Pico Fortress on Sunday Morning (as cloud was forecast for the early morning) hot sun by lunchtime. Bit of a hike to get there, good view of the city. Asked if we could spare a Euro by locals. Too hard to say no, the ones that approached us really looked hard done by.
Also, walked out to the Lido Area (and back to PSM) and along the Prom to the Magic Garden Cafe, refreshed ourselves, then went into their garden. it has matured well since the last time I saw it.
Still lots of work going on along the road at the Lido, got told off by a bloke on his bicycle, I told him to invest in a bell instead of shouting.
Had some good food at O Calhau in the city. Donna Maria in the Old Town. Some nice late Buffet lunches on the terrace at the PSM (they serve buffet until 3.00 pm) Take aways from the Pingo Doce which we ate on our balcony, so hungry after walking. Called into the Golden Gate Cafe a few times for refreshment (Bob, I looked out for you each time I went there, said to my husband if a gentleman sits down asks for a Tall White Coffee, it must be Bob I will ask).
Each time we sat at an outside table in the City we were approached and asked for a Euro by both men and women. Some looked so hard done by found to too hard not to give. We were sitting there enjoying our time etc., on their island.
Really enjoyed the week. Great weather, warm sunshine, little cloud at times, warm breeze. Good food.
So much building work going on all over Funchal, just hope the budget lasts out. The area outside the PSM was just nearing completion. On Monday morning they were working further long the beach west of the cable car, compacting the pebbles, it should not be too long before this area is also completed. They were doing last minute painting at the Barreirinha on Saturday, ready for the grand opening at 10.00 am on Monday. Good to see it open again.
Look forward to our next visit........