What a fantastic 3 weeks in Madeira we had ...even with the construction work!
I've probably said enough about the construction work but as we left, the Lido road was almost finished and it looked like they'd finally "moved in" on the Beatles boat which had clearly been getting in the way of the construction works in town.
We hired a car for a couple of days and although the weather was mixed we still managed to have a good time. We returned to Poussada dos Vinhaticos in Serra de Agua for lunch, it's so peaceful there. Came back across Paul de Serra but unfortunately it wasn't a clear day so visibility was poor. We stopped off at Cabo Girao and was very impressed with the new viewpoint, we loved looking through the glass platform but it is possible to avoid this and still have a great view. Drove back through the tiered gardens of Estreito de Camara de Lobos where most of the grapes for Madeira wine are grown.
The next day we intended doing a walk in Marecos but it was pouring when we got there. We sat and admired the fantastic scenery through the car window then decided to add it to the "must return" list and headed off instead to Faial for lunch at A Chave. It's always handy having a few places you know you can rely on and the multi-lingual friendly staff there are always so welcoming.
After reading Mike's comments about Sea Born (catamaran) we finally decided to give it a try. It turned out to be a very calm day and was good to see the island from a different viewpoint. Although we weren't as lucky as Mike to see sperm whales, we did see dolphins and a turtle and we will definitely do this trip again.
Being May, the blue jacaranda trees were in full bloom in various places. In town, with the Municipal Gardens in the background, Avenida Arriaga looked very colourful with no hint of the construction work going on in the next street.
Our favourite restaurants this visit: Forte, Brasserie and O'Chefe but also enjoyed Beef and Wines, Istanbul and the ever-reliable Casa Italias. As always, there were many other restaurants we meant to try but ran out of time.
On one of the nights we went to the Forte there was a wedding on with 250 guests. The place looked stunning and as the bride and groom passed the restaurant they dimmed the lights and everyone cheered. A fantastic evening and to cap it all we booked one of the chauffeur driven vintage cars home (this time the Opel, only €8). I'll add a photo of the cars to my review when I post it.
Cafes/bars: as always great outdoor cafes in town in and the Latino musicians really add to the atmosphere in Avenida Arriaga. Further back we loved the chocolate cake at Cafe do Museu (very rich, best to share) and Pastel de Nata (custard cake) at Penha d'Aguia. Even with work going on all round it we visited the Beerhouse several times and in the Lido area we loved Qasbah and the Hole in One pub.
We didn't get one single mosquito bite and I am usually a mossie magnet.
....So had a fantastic time. I know a lot will happen in the long year before our next visit but looking forward to hearing any updates.