Monday, March 31

Madeira Day 4 - Out and About

The old cliff edge roads are now mostly replaced by tunnels. This is part of the old road on the west side of the island.

It's still the access to this farm land. As you can see, all the terracing is man made ( there's an idea for the RA show, if entries weren't already closed) - no land is wasted.

The sea was magnificent - but not somewhere I'd like to try swimming.

Some of the older tunnels were rather scary too!

No wonder there are shrines everywhere!

Thursday, March 27

Madeira Day 4 - Cabo Girão

If you don't like heights - close your eyes!

Cabo Girão is 589m above sea level.

It's vineyards down at the bottom - so we all MUST drink more madeira, so show our solidarity with the farmers.

Madeira Day 4 - Câmara de Lobos

On Wednesday we hired a car - our first stop was Câmara de Lobos .

It was the first place that the discoverer of Madeira, João Gonçalves Zarco landed. Apparently, he saw the sea cliffs at Cabo Girão (of which more later) and turned back. Winston Churchill stopped off here in 1950 and did a few daubs.

As you can see from the terracing on the hillside, no land in Madeira is wasted. If there's a patch of earth, they'll get a banana tree or some vines in it. It's quite inspiring, but it makes you realise, just how hard life still is for many Madeirans.

Câmara de Lobos is a thriving harbour - although when we were there, the fishermen were all busy playing snooker, cards and expectorating.

As you'd expect - I was very keen on the different blues of the fishing boats. I've cropped this to get rid of street ligts and all those other nasty modern things :-).

The bar where we had a coffee, had a big football scarf collection. As I was discussing with Lorna, yesterday - it's always interesting to see collections of things.

The BVM is very popular in Maderia.


"He felt bored, and consumed by the feeling of weariness that makes a man jib at the serried ranks of masterpieces before him as he is being dragged round a museum.... The noonday hour imposes rest and privacy upon the beasts of the field, and the silence of deep woodland undergrowth upon the birds of the air, but civilized men no longer obey the dictates of the sun"

Colette - The Last of Chéri

Wednesday, March 26

Madeira Me

At last...a pic of me that I like (OK - there's a lot of coat) - guest photography by The Boy. If you have a look at his blog, you'll see another snap of me, that he likes.

Madeira Day 3 - Cable Car Trips and Monte

There is a cable car from the Botanic gardens to Monte, and from Monte back down to Funchal. It gives an excellent view of some of the extensive civil engineering projects that have taken place on Madeira. There are tunnels everywhere.

The trip over to Monte is quite long, and at one point the cable car juddered rather! I've also seen too many Bond films I think, as I kept looking out for Jaws to break in!

They're not that big are they?

Hmm...what's going on here?

It's the famous tabbogan rides. Sledges made more sense in Funchal because of all the cobbles (in case you're wondering, the tabbogans come back up the hill on a truck, and they have a mini-bus for the 'drivers').

That Baden-Powell got everywhere!

Madeira Day 3 - Tropical Bird Gardens

The Botanic Gardens is attached to a Bird Park. I'm not really keen on birds in cages, and these were no exception. However, the peacocks were roaming free. This white one posed beautifully - The Boy thinks he looks like a Christmas decoration.

This chap was squaring up to a tortoise for some reason!

Peacock feathers are just stunning aren't they?

Tuesday, March 25

Madeira Day 3 - Botanic Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are up in the hills above Funchal. They are justly famous, and as you can imagine I took a LOT of flower pics. They'll appear on my blog in due course, but I thought I'd give you a flavour of the place.

There's lots of shade and shadow, which I enjoyed.

The cacti in a sheltered part of the garden, reminded me of the collection in Barbara Hepworth's Sculpture Garden (a place I love).

This dangly item reminded me of one of SueC's paintings.

This was inspired planting!

One of the best things about the garden was the amount of contrast - here between 'wild' and formal.

The bird of paradise flower is everywhere in Madeira. It's quite amazing to see it growing in huge numbers. We managed to bring a stem home intact, nestled in The Boy's golf bag.

My New Niece!!!!

Here is Zoe - born at 5am this morning!

Madeira Day 2 - Casa da Luz

I admit that I went to The Electricity Museum in the hope of adding another museum to my 'crap museums' collection. However, it was a super place - given Madeira's geography, bringing electricity to the island, was an amazing engineering achievement.

It was fantastic to see electrical components displayed as 'art objects' (as Lorna would say :-)). Here are some cables.

It would be easy to believe that these had been made by an artist, rather than an industrial process.

And there was even an Easter bunny!

Madeira Day 2 - The Fish Market

In Funchal Old Town there are some lovely Art Deco buildings.

This includes the market - apologies for the light spoil, but this is my only pic.

I got to the fish market quite late, but this should give you a feel of the place.

Yum - look at the tuna.

This is espada - a deep sea fish. And it's pretty yum too :-)

Madeira Day 2 - More Street Scenes

This was taken in the Largo do Phelps - named for Elizabeth Phelps, who founded the Madeiran embroidery industry. The name made me smile, as my colleague, John Phelps, is one of the nicest men in the world.

Glad to see the studio has a balcony....

What SWEET little mermaids - I wish I knew the background here.

Thursday, March 20

Madeira Day 1 - Street Scenes

We set off into Funchal Old Town, to investigate the cathedral.

It's an amazing building, a mixture of Gothic and Moorish influences. The ceiling is beautiful - gilded wood, which reminded us of Granada. As it's Easter week, lots of people were praying or queuing for confession. For the first time, in a long time, I felt like an intruder.
I loved this statue. Both Lorna and Graham have discussed glasses in art of late. This is a great solution I think, with them suggested.

Embroidery is a BIG thing here - I like the inherent feebleness of this Easter display. Let's just add some chicks!

Cockerels are more of a mainland Portugal thing, but you can buy them in every size!

The newspaper kiosks remind me of Paris.

The Azulejos tiles are everywhere. This used to be the Chamber of Commerce, but it's now a car showroom.

And there's building work everywhere!