Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Madeira 2011, part two, Funchal & the floods

Tuesday, and we woke to a fiery dawn sunrise. The sun came up just left of the Desertas islands every morning. It was a wonderful way to start the day. I loved to just sit on the patio with a coffee, and watch this spectacle happen!

We decided to make today a touring Funchal day, as we love the back streets and alleyways. The further away from the front we got, the more evidence of the horrendous floods from 2009 we saw. You can see just how deep the flood channels are here, but they were overwhelmed and the top barriers broken. There are concrete slabs there now as a stop-gap.

There were huge rocks, parts of houses, cars etc etc all washed down these gullies.
Benign now, but a monster during the floods.

All that's left of the beautiful display of bougainvillea. To see how it DID look, click here;

The streets and pavement cafes had been recovered well, and to look at this peaceful scene, you wouldn't guess the horrors that had gone on here just a year ago.

The tops didn't look at ALL inviting today, shrouded in clouds, but we decided to go up there anyway.

Don't you just LOVE this - the cable car support goes right into that cafe!

Iconic view back from the car. The weather looks nice (if you looked backwards)

One of Funchals newer houses, what a glorious spot (if you don't mind cable cars passing your window every few minutes)

And yet, side by side with the opulent, this sort of house was evident.

The new road system.

There is another cable car that goes to the botanical gardens. You can just see one of the gondolas here, if you look carefully.

Again, here we saw a lot of damage. Amazingly, this house didn't get washed over the edge. They really will build just ANYWHERE on these hills. Not a good place for sleepwalkers!

They still retain their sense of humour though. Can you see the dummy sitting on the patio? (Next to the cement mixer)

The colours in some of the flowers were just amazing.

After our little trip to the clouds, we came back down to sunshine, and one of our favourite watering holes 'O Tapassol' near the cable car lower station. This is one of the friendliest places in town, and the food is good too.

The balloons etc are all to do with the carnival. Tomorrow was the last day, and the big parade, so we were really looking forward to seeing it. EVERYONE and EVERY business got into the swing, with decorations, masks, streamers etc etc. It really was a community thing.

The O Tapassol sardines are just SOOOOOOOO good!

They decided that Sue should get into the spirit of the carnival, and here she is.

Look, I don't know WHY I got the 'sad mask'!

I was FAR from sad, and we enjoyed the sunshine and warm temperatures as we finished our drink, then wended our way back to the hotel. On the way, we were to see Funchals answer to the flood detritus that was washed down. More of that in part three.

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