Funchal, Madiera Island, Portugal
Trip Start Dec 25, 2005
44Trip End Apr 28, 2006
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Funchal was the perfect port-of-call to essentially end our journey and prepare us for the next week at sea as we begin the onerous task of packing and heading home. We still weren't feeling very well and almost stayed aboard but we're very happy we decided that this would be a bad move.
Madeira is a volcanic island and its charming capital city, Funchal, terraces up the steep slope. We took a cable car ride to the top, which gave us spectacular views. At the top there are extensive terraced botanical gardens, part of a former private estate of an obviously very wealthy person. The gardens were so large that we could have easily spent the entire day there. Truly one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen
After heading back down, we decided to skip the final world cruise event, which we pretty much figured to be another cocktail party in a lovely setting. Instead, we went to old town Funchal to soak up some culture, buy some Madeira (what else?) and have lunch at an outdoor café. The weather was gorgeous - it was in the low 70s, sunny and dry. A bottle of Portuguese wine, delicious bread, grilled fresh fish, mussels, and pasta seemed to nurse us back to health. So much so, that we decided to walk back to the ship along the harbor front. Amongst the many and yachts and boats was a yacht formerly owned by the Beatles. I guess time moves on a little more slowly here. Which is what makes this place so nice. They haven't caught up with the rest of the world yet. You can still buy a t-shirt for under $10.00!
We will definitely come back to this charming place. But please don't tell anyone about Madeira, because once the tourists arrive, it's all over.