Arriving late at night, the taxi driver drove like a bat out of hell with virtually no other traffic, over mountain roads and through numerous tunnels clinging to the cliff edges, which were a surprise. Tunnels at home seem to be so expensive to build they become a major talkfest causing much angst usually for a very short tunnel, yet here on Madeira they have dozens, and some are quite long. I thought Portugal was a relatively poor country.....yet ( you will read more about this later), their whole roading system is one to be envied!
Funchal Streets and Gardens
You are instantly aware of why this is called a garden island, with avenues of jacarandas and other lacy leafed trees, masses of tropical flowers and shrubs creating a colourful scene. I just love the frangipani with their delicate cream to apricot or pink colours. They seem to do particularly well here ...the trees are huge and just covered in flowers.
Wandering up a beautifully cobbled street with a row of restaurants fighting for our attention, we opted for the one that seemed most popular. Keen to have our first Portuguese meal, we were not disappointed. Traditional grilled sardines for me, salad for Brian, and some excellent coffee....which we discover is the norm here! Yeaaaahhhhh! After varying reviews of sardines I really enjoyed mine. While they did have quite a few bones, they were not difficult to eat.
The streets are alive with people sitting at tables under shady umbrellas enjoying coffee, drinks, and food. Yellow taxis line the roadside, their drivers chatting in groups, pushing their car forward as the front taxi pulls away. We hadn’t explored more than a small portion of the town yet but we did pop in to Blandy’s the only port winery we can visit , which we were surprised at.
After cocktails at Happy Hour around the pool, we had a most enjoyable buffet dinner in the resort with traditional salads and hot dishes and live music featured.