Subject: Madeira Travelogue - Part 4
Monday, July 24th

After a long sleep and an abundant breakfast, it was time for a whole leisure day. So we decided to spend the day at the Lido, Funchal's large public swimming facilities, located in the hotel area to the west. It is a very nice and well-organized place, with snack bars and restaurants. The admission fee includes deck chairs and umbrella. The pools are built in the cliffs and filled with water from the sea. There is also a beautiful pool for the children, and Shaila was enthusiast and played almost all the day in the water, sometimes with some local children (fortunately at this age there are no problems of language!).

At dinner we went to the old city, where we tried the Gaviao Novo restaurant, in Rua Santa Maria 113. It is a tiny restaurant with a nice and friendly owner, Ricardo, who always offer you a glass of Sercial Madeira wine as aperitif. We enjoyed a delicious espetada regional (beef meat chunks roasted on laurel sticks) accompanied with a good red wine of the Alentejo region (Terra de Baco). After dinner we finished our relaxing day with a lovely walk to the Marina.

Tuesday, July 25th

We woke up early because our programs for the day started with a drive to the Pico do Aireiro. This is the second highest peak on the island (1818 meters) and can be reached by car, but you must be there early in the morning, as after about 10AM it is likely to be covered by the clouds. So we took the 103 to Poiso where a detour on the left takes you to the peak after a beautiful scenic drive. Here you can find a hotel and a restaurant. The view of the surrounding mountains are spectacular, but in a short time were covered by the clouds that here come almost every day.

Back to Poiso we turned left following the 103 that crosses one of the most beautiful and luxurious regions of Madeira. Banana plantations every now and then interrupt forests of laurels, eucaliptus and pines. Hedges of hortensias, iris, and other exotic flowers bound the winding road.

We reached the north coast at Faial. Here the weather was cloudy. We turned left to Santana, where we stopped for lunch. Santana is a beautiful village of the north coast, whose characteristic are hits little thatched triangular houses. These bright painted houses have served the locals for centuries as stables and dwellings.

We had lunch at the Estrela do Norte restaurant, where they served us a perfectly grilled espada fish. The ananas pie was one of the best desserts of our holiday. While we were having lunch it started to rain so we decided to go back to Funchal, betting on a better weather on the other side of the island. And our bet was so good that we had the chance to visit the Jardim Botanico (Funchal's botanic garden). This beautiful garden hosts a huge variety of plants and flowers and was recently enriched with a birds park where Shaila stayed for a long time staring with her big amazed eyes at the bright colored parrots, peacocks and exotic birds.

End of Part 4

Stefano Dighero Genova - ITALY