Monday 11 April 2011

Funchal, Madeira.

We have just returned from a week on the semi-tropical Portuguese island of Madeira. It is set in the Atlantic Ocean 600 km from the coast of Morocco. Not for nothing is it known as the island of flowers.  

The flowers sellers in Funchal market wear traditional dress, which comprises a colourful striped skirt in a heavy woollen fabric, a white blouse and a decorated red bodice piped and laced with green. They have soft boots on their feet and sitting  amongst their exotic blooms these women create  a very vibrant scene.

Looking down from the balconied first floor to the centre of the indoor market. 

Most of the flowers on sale are not indigenous to the island, having been introduced from South Africa and elsewhere. The arum lilies are a native species, and, together with agapanthus flowers, can be found growing everywhere in profusion.

The fruit and vegetable stalls are just as colourful, and while chillies and bananas are familiar to me

other fruits are not.

And I am no wiser when I've read the label!

We catch a local bus from the centre of town and head up the hill to visit the Botanical Garden. It's quite a hairy ride along very steep, narrow streets with many sharp zigzag bends.

Far below cruise ships can be seen in Funchal harbour.

Oh, joy, topiary! I love it. I'm waiting patiently for a yew plant at home to become large enough to shape.
Now I'm starting to think that just one shape will not be enough!


  1. It looks like paradise! I hope your holiday sufficiently warmed your bones.

  2. Hope you enjoyed the warm climate, the pictures are glorious.

  3. Love the topiary - must visit. Were there fireworks, m'dear?

  4. oh how beautiful rosemary. the ladies and their flowers look perfect together. and the topiary, i'm such a sucker for clipped boxwood. welcome home.


  5. As always, beautiful pictures! I live vicariously through you photographs.

  6. Dear Steve, We've only been away a week and you have been so busy. Your chairs now look very polite!
    My bones were warmed in the sauna, hammam and indoor pool, but not by the ice room, the unheated outdoor pool and the sea breeze!

    Not warm enough for me, Doc!

    No fireworks while we were there, Tom, wrong time of year.

    Dear Janet, it's nice to go away and just as nice to come home (and to be welcomed!)

    There were flowers to photograph everywhere, Bonnie.