We left home at 4 am, and arrived at the apartment about 12am. Arriving in Funchal is always an adventure. Funchal is a short drive from the airport in Madeira, and both times we have come, the little airport has been very efficient, with very few people arriving, short queues, helpful staff, and clean facilities. The car hire place is in the airport, and there is a short walk, including a lift down the side of the rock, to reach the cars. The drive from the airport is easy enough with Google Maps and the road is edged with amazing plants. I love the plants in Madeira, and it’s worth visiting simply to see them: great succulents with huge protruding stamen, sharp-leafed flowers clinging to rocks, impossibly tall trees that sort of resemble pine trees with a twist. However, once you leave the main road and enter Funchal, the fun starts!
The roads are steep, narrow, often cobbled. You feel like you are driving down a pathway. Then you meet a parked car, or tables spilling from restaurants, and you wonder if perhaps you really ARE driving along a pathway. But these rabbit-warren streets are the only route into Funchal. Then there is the problem of needing to park, and the entry-fob for the car park is in the apartment, but there is nowhere to park in order to collect said entry-fob.
At least this time we knew what to expect, and planned accordingly. (If you read the blog about our previous visit, you will know that Husband dumped me and all the luggage in the street outside, while he went off to find somewhere to park, which took longer than you might expect.) Husband drove to the garage entrance, and I jumped out and walked to the street where the apartment was. Somewhat confused by lack of numbers on doors—or at least, there were numbers, but they were all 18, so finding ‘number 18’ was less specific than I had hoped. Decided it was unlikely to be 18A, or 18B, as they were gyms. Then there was a door numbered 18, but that was locked. The adjoining door was unlocked, and as the buildings were connected, I entered. Tried the lift (I needed Apartment 36, which I guessed might be on the 3rd floor). The lift only went to floors -1 to -3. Left the lift and tried the stairs. Found myself in a doctor’s surgery. Showed the address to a woman who was leaving, and tried to remember how to ask for directions in Portuguese. Failed, but she understood me anyway and told me I needed to go ‘beyond the cafe.’ I didn’t, I needed to go through the locked door of number 18. Found some doorbells, rang number 36. Found the cleaner, who had the garage-fob. Returned to garage. No sign of Husband… You get the idea.
When we actually managed to enter the apartment, it was lovely. There are tiny balconies, and a view over rooftops to the sea. It has pretty wooden furniture, slightly antique in style. The kitchen is modern and clean. The bathroom is tiny, smelly, with a shower that doesn’t work very well. Not dissimilar to the bathroom at the last apartment we rented in Funchal, so am assuming Madeira doesn’t prioritise bathrooms.
We went for a stroll. The air was bright and balmy, not too hot—cardigan weather. We walked next to the sea for a while, then went to the supermarket and bought juice and water and milk. Probably we could drink the tap water, but I don’t want to discover it upsets my stomach; we’re only here for a week.
Mainly I want to rest while we’re here, read some books, and have a break from missing Kia. When your dog dies, you can never forget your loss while you’re at home, because everywhere is lonely. Hopefully Madeira will be different enough to not leave any gaps. Maybe I won’t go home again afterwards…
We walked back to the sea front for dinner, and found Xaramba, the restaurant we regularly ate in last year. The serving staff were the same, and they agreed it is much colder this year, and said it had even snowed. It IS cold here, especially in the evening after the sun has gone down. I packed all the same clothes that I wore last year, which basically means I have two outfits with thick jumpers (and a heap of summer stuff which won’t be worn). Will have to do some washing while we’re here.
I will write more tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Take care.
Love, Anne x
Descriptive blog of a relaxing holiday