Sunday 17 April 2011

Madeira miscellany

Museum of Contemporary Art, Funchal.

The harbour wall in Funchal is used as a message board, or as a celebratory display area. There is no free space so old messages are scrubbed over and new images overlaid.  It is fascinating to see where all these small craft have sailed from and to where they are heading. 

Eat your heart out, Alfred Wallis!

The little tourist boat, 'Christopher Columbus' style, is seen here heading back into harbour and looking as though it might get eaten by the painted mouth of the cruise ship that is skulking behind the right-hand side building.

In town new buildings swamp the old in a similar way. Hotels jostle crowd each other out and the coast road roars continuously with traffic. 

One evening at the hotel we were entertained by some lively musicians and a display of Madeiran dancing. It was very similar to English country dancing, 'strip the willow' and the like. Needless to say we were all dragged up at a later stage in the proceedings and encouraged to join in.

 Friends ask, did we enjoy Madeira?
"It's full of old people!" replies Himself. He's being funny, but correct.
So, what did I think of it? 
It's not for me. I'm a beach bum at heart. To be on a semi-tropical island and not be able to walk into the sea just doesn't seem right - I can swim in pools in England, it's warm sea swimming and beaches that I adore. The new buildings on the island are grim, and nearly all the old ones have gone, no charming little villages to potter about in. There were no shops selling items that HAD to be bought, (I came back with most of my holiday money, for goodness sake.) The local people were polite and the island clean and safe, not a pickpocket, run 'em down sort of place.  Just not quite my cup of tea - unless I can take it at Reid's! 
Having said all that, we had a very enjoyable week.


  1. Oh how I agree with you. I came to the blog expecting it to be in praise of Madiera and found your feelings much like ours. We stayed in the same hotel as you did - a mile down each corridor to get to one's room (nice balcony though) - but somehow it was not our cup of tea at all. Glad to hear you felt the same.

  2. I'm really interested reading about your Madeira vacation I have very good friends in Wales (he's English, she's originally from Madeira) and they recently purchased a flat in Funchal and are spending a lot of extended holidays there. Of course having family there makes a stay much different I'm sure.........they rave about it and always have such a fun-fulled time!

    Glad you had a pretty good time - thanks for sharing the experience and photos.

  3. I love the history of the place but agree with your outlook on pools. That is why we vacation in Hawaii, great beaches.

  4. Dear Weaver, Glad we are of the same opinion - those corridors felt very Stalinist Russia! (The Portuguese custard tarts that I ate at breakfast were divine though; there was a recipe in Stella, S.Telegraph magazine this week.)

    I'm sure, Mary, that if you are Madeiran born then it is a very different experience.

    Vacation in Hawaii, Doc! Can you see me turning green?