Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Madeira, part seven, Penha d'Aguila (cont)

If it had been pristine and clear today, these views would have been even MORE breathtaking. As it was, we just stood in awe and looked. Again, we marvelled at just where they would perch a house.

And stepped back, as we looked below us.
At last we reached the summit obelisk. It was covered in graffiti, and was badly in need of a coat of paint.

The views from it though - WOW! This is Porto da Cruz below us.
Believe it or not, this really is the start of the path down! (I know, I know - we couldn't believe it either). The instructions from the book said to watch out for an old winch cable. I saw the cable, but couldn't find the path (until I leaned out and saw a feint track going off to the right).
So, off we set. The instructions said not to 'be tempted to take short cuts' - erm, can anyone SEE a short cut anywhere???
We stopped to admire the view - mainly because it was suicidal to try and walk and look at the same time (same goes for walking & taking pictures at the same time).
Just WOW!
After a long knee-wrenching descent, we could now see we were getting a lot lower, and could hear the sea crashing onto the shore below us.
Also, we were seeing different flora. As usual, I'm not sure what it is, but isn't it beautiful?

These tiny yellow flowers also caught my eye.
We disturbed this small group of goats, a mother and two kids.
She was very wary of us.
We reached, and followed, a small levada which took us, rather handily, to a small bar in a village called Cruz. This was Sue's reward for such an arduous day - five hours to do only four miles - a glass of Madeira poncha - made while we waited. The guy let me have some of the base spirit, a white rum (aguardente de cana, as it's known in Madeira) to try. It was like the proverbial fire water, and made my eyes water. They sweeten it up with honey, and add orange juice for flavour. Quite nice, but very potent!

The view from the patio bar was so relaxing. We sat in the warm sun, before crossing the road to the bus stop where we'd begun the walk this morning. After a short wait, the bus arrived, and we set off back to Funchal, taking ALL the side roads (as buses do). Quite an interesting journey, if you want to see more than you do from the expressways. No good if you get travel sick though.
That evening, we walked into Funchal centre. The fountains are one of our favourite things about this city.
In the dying light, they seem to come alive. The park closes shortly after dusk, so I took my chance to get these pictures.

We went for a meal to a boat-shaped restaurant called Pro Azul (don't ask me why it was that shape???), and they served us a very good espatada (skewered beef) meal. As usual though, they 'gave' us garlic bread, and then charged for it - they never learn. We also had a tableside serenade from a girl playing a native Latvian instrument called a Kokle (a bit like a dulcimer, but plucked with one hand, and stroked with a plectrum with the other). Read about it here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokle We then went back to our hotel, where, after realising we didn't have a corkscrew, I managed to spray wine everywhere! Luckily, it was in the kitchen area, so all the surfaces were wipe-clean (except me!).


  1. A tricky path down but what beautiful views, well worth the knee wrenching i'm sure!

  2. Oh yes Louise, very much so. We knew it would be hard, but you know what they say - no pain, no gain ;-)