Funchal - Madeira

Trip Start Dec 27, 2013
Trip End Jan 07, 2014

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Flag of Portugal  , Madeira Islands,
Monday, December 30, 2013

Yesterday was not the best of days! Force 7 winds made for very rocky night, and very little sleep resulting in most of the day feeling under the weather with motion sickness and spending a lot of the time sleeping it off.David was fine and I did attend a WI gathering in the morning, but decided that laying horizontal was the best way to help the motion sickness so took to my bed.The lounge areas were busy as it was too windy to go onto the decks, although some braved it.David saw a pod of about 20 dolphins but by the time he came back to get the camera of course they had gone.After a nice long rest I felt better and as it was the first formal night of the cruise we put on our glad rags and joined our dining companions for dinner.We had one of the ships officers on our table, the Hotel Manager, who came from Vienna and very interesting to talk too. It is customary if an officer is on your table that he or she provides the wines & liqueurs for the evening which was much appreciated. Suffice to say I didn't over indulge with food or drink as I was not sure if we were in for another rocky night.All was well and this morning we left the ship for an excursion to Nun's Valley & Palheiro Gardens.The coach driver was obviously very used to the narrow mountain roads as he twisted and turned their were a few gasps from passengers as they appeared to overhang the road. We drove through eucalyptus forests until we reached the viewing point at Eira do Serrado. It was worth the trek up to the viewing point which overlooked Nun's Valley and the Village below. There was no Monastry to see because back in the 1600's the nuns from the Monastry in Funchal hid in the valley away from French Pirates which is why it has been named Nun's Valley.We could it believe that it was only in the 1950's that a proper roadway had been built from the village to Funchal and more recently a new road has been built incorporating a tunnel through the mountain.As we left Eira do Serrado back down the twisting road the view overlooking the city of Funchal were quite spectacular - 3 cruise ships were in port our ship Braemar, Thomson Celebration and The World, the ship were people actually live full time and just spend their lives on the waves (not for me).Our next stop was Palheiro Gardens. A pleasant walk with agapanthus, crocosmia, arum lilies and gardenia lining a cobbled walkway to the start of the more formal gardens.It is winter time in Madeira and although there were quite a few flowers to see! I felt the gardens were probably not at their best but the sun was shining the atmosphere was lovely as we strolled through the grounds.Next our coach stopped to let passengers off to take a short walk through a Levada. The aroma from the eucalyptus trees as we walked along the water canal was quite wonderful, agapanthus growing wild, rustic bridges leading to the local houses, as we turned a corner a magnificent view over southeast Funchal Bay came into view. We then came our to our final stop for the tour a quaint tea house where we were served tea with home made scones & cakes.Time to relax on pleasant surroundings before we headed back to the ship. No need for any lunch we were full from the tea and cake!Spent some time on the sun deck and then the clouds decided to pay us a visit hence this lengthy log I am making whilst sipping a coffee in our cabin. David enjoying a beer in the balcony.Tonight the dress code is Tropical, so it should be a fun evening with everyone in their Hawaiian outfits. Weather permitting there will also be a BBQ on deck but I think we'll probably stick with the dining room.We are staying in Madeira overnight and tomorrow although we have been warned there will be 12 yes 12 cruise ships in port tomorrow, we are moving to an anchor position early in the morning so if we go ashore it will be by tender but we'll see what the weather is like and might just relax on board. Tomorrow night is going to spectacular with one of the worlds biggest firework displays and we will have a great position to view this spectacle from our ship anchored in the bay.Happy New Year to everyone. 
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Heather on

All sounds lovely, enjoy the fireworks and a very happy new year to Dave & you xx

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