Well day 4 of our holiday certainly brought about a change of scenery. We opened the curtains of our cabin on-board P&O’s Azura and looked out on to the balcony to a fantastic sight. We were just coming in to the harbour of Funchal, on the Island of Madeira. All the the lights were just starting to come on in peoples homes, the view was stunning.
I’ve sandwiched about 6 photos together here to try and give you the panoramic feel of the harbour. To get the best effect click on the image and it will open at a better size.
A quick breakfast later and now we could see a bit more of the island (I’ve done the same again click on the image for the best results)…
By the time Azura had docked the sun was just starting to touch the top of the hill tops on the island, it was really beautiful. The houses spread out up the hillside, all seemingly white with red roofs.
I did however come across what seemed to be an older fort on the hillside or certainly one made to look like one.
With it being on such a steep hill one of the excursions P&O suggest includes a cable car journey to the top. Well we decided to try and find the cable car ourselves rather than book on the excursion. It was very easy to do, and a lot cheaper too. I would suggest if anyone is going to do it, that if there are two or more of you, then one person buys the ticket whilst the other person joins the queue as it can be quite long during the morning.
Oh and remember to step over the resident dog who sleeps on the walkway leading up to the cable cars.
The view once in the cable cars is stunning. As you can see this was our ship from only a quarter of the way up.
and to the top…
Now once you are at the top the people of Madeira have a strange way of getting you back down to the bottom very quickly. They put you in a heavy wicker sled and push you down the hill with only two men holding on to a rope to slow you down.
We watched them as they offloaded the sleds at the top of the hill…
Then as the first people got in and were pushed off down the hill…
There are no safety barriers or harnesses only the skill (well you hope the skill) of the handlers to look after you on the 2km run down the hill.
Unfortunately the queue was over an hour long and I don’t think a disabled driver would have been very suitable anyway. So for that reason we decided to go back down the way we had come up, the cable car.
Sat at the entrance was this woman in full local costume so I just had to get a picture.
We didn’t have to queue for the journey down. Also a tip we found when we got to the bottom there was no longer a queue there either. So if you can wait to travel up in the cable car until after 12pm then you shouldn’t have such a big queue as first thing in the morning.
When we got back down we walked in to the town centre of Funchal and found an indoor market.
There was fish down in one section of it, although I think we had missed the main time for the fish market and we only saw what was left. Even so there was still some very nice big pieces of fish.
Through in the other section of the market was all different types of basket work…
and flower stalls. The types of flowers were certainly a lot more exotic than we are used to seeing on the market stalls in England though.
When you look closely at the flowers they really glow.
After a bit more sight seeing and the compulsory souvenir buying we headed back to the ship for a very late lunch.
The Entertainment team on Azura, hosted another Sailaway party by the Coral Pool as we left Madeira at 5:15pm. We had enough time for that, before going down to change for dinner at 6:30pm in the Oriental Restaurant. Tonight’s dress code was Evening casual.
Peter Piper the comedian was on in the Playhouse Theatre again so we went to watch his show, before relaxing in the Planet Bar with a Mocktail.
Come back tomorrow as Azura moves down to the first of the Canary Islands.