Funchal, Madeira

Portal to a Nearly Tropical Portugal

A Vegetable Mosaic
Patterns and colors of the most photogenic attribute of the Funchal Botanical Garden.
Farmers Market
The eccentric facade of Funchal's Farmers' Market.
Fruit and More Fruit
A well-stocked fruit stand at Funchal's Mercado de Lavradores.
Pure French Oak
French oak barrels in the Blandys cellar.
A Beautiful Yellow Fort
The Fortress of São Tiago, on the seafront in Funchal's Old Town.
Monte Palace
Sharp roofs of the Monte Palace Hotel.
Cathedral & Cathedral
The mixed architecture of the Cathedral of Funchal, seen from its south side.
Mass Church of the Mount
The faithful attend a mass at the church of Nossa Senhora do Monte in Funchal.
Also tropical fruit
Fruits exhibited at the Mercado dos Lavradores, some of them tropical, such as the Madeiran banana pineapple.
Flower seller in traditional Madeiran costumes.
St. James Summer
Bathers soak up the sun and have fun on São Tiago beach.
Blessed Municipal Square
Taxis Square at the base of the Church of St. John the Evangelist.
Cable car over Old Town
Cable car passes above one of the streets in Funchal's Old Town.
Cable car over Old Town II
Cable car about to arrive at its terminal station.
Monte Palace Garden
Cathedral Cathedral
Figures humanize the façade of the Cathedral of Funchal.
Funchal in Fire
Funchal townhouse illuminated by artificial lights and the sunset from the west.
Madeira is located less than 1000km north of the Tropic of Cancer. And the luxuriant exuberance that earned it the nickname of the garden island of the Atlantic can be seen in every corner of its steep capital.

It becomes even more visible when the weather forces the always delicate landings on the runway at Cristiano Ronaldo Airport to be made from west to east, towards the Ponta de Sao Lourenco.

On these occasions, from the right side of the plane, the approach reveals the broad slope on which, over the centuries, Funchal has been extended.

Even dense, the town houses dot the surrounding green, with the necessary exceptions, more alive and intense the further up the island.

One of the emblematic and unmissable places in Funchal, Monte, perfectly illustrates the slope and the predominant tropicalism.

The Luxuriant but Landscaped Hillside of Monte Palace

There we ventured into the landscaped quasi-jungle of Monte Palace Madeira where, in an area of ​​70.000 m2 which are said to be concentrated and proliferate more than 100.000 plant species from the four corners of the World, of cocci and proteins of the South Africa to Scottish heather.

The assortment also includes the endemic plants that make up the complex Madeira Laurissilva forest: ferns, cedars, laurels, tiles, puffs, fig trees and many others.

From all of them, from the natives, the exuberant massarocos fill our measures.

Among foreigners, the elegant arboreal ferns (cyathea medullaris), natural from Australia, which have long since spread across the Earth and are part of the flora of the Azores, Canary Islands and, of course, the Garden Island.

Monte Palace Garden, Funchal, Madeira

Visitors admire a corner of the Monte Palace Garden.

From Charles Murray to Commander Berardo

The original owner of this stronghold, the British consul Charles Murray (1777-1801), decided to name the property he bought at the end of the XNUMXth century, “The Pleasure Estate” (Quinta do Prazer), quite out of step with the Catholic austerity imposed by the neighboring church of Nossa Senhora do Monte.

The haughtiness of the sanctuary did not intimidate the consul, and Murray decided to perfect it while he could. Murray died in 1808, in Lisbon.

In 1897, Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues, a successful merchant, decided to reward himself with the acquisition of Murray's old farm.

Following a trip to the Paris International Exhibition in 1900, Alfredo Guilherme returned impressed by the refinement of the castles on the banks of the Rhine. Accordingly, he built his own palace, later transformed into the Monte Palace Hotel, a project that his family later discarded.

Monte Palace Garden Lake, Funchal, Madeira

The challenging lines of the Monte Palace garden.

Forty-four years later, the property ended up in the possession of the then-millionaire, now indebted, Madeiran José Berardo.

Berardo transformed the farm into a kind of tropical museum. It enriched it with the collection of tile panels that we examined, along a winding path and the great moments in the history of Portugal below.

He also endowed it with sculptures, some of Buddhas, and Buddhist lanterns. Of coats of arms, niches and lakes inhabited by ducks, swans and carp nishikigoi.

Despite this panoply of paraphernalia, the farm continues to star in the palace in its background, well integrated into the surrounding plant and cultural eccentricity.

Rooftops of Monte Palace, Monte Palace Garden, Funchal, Madeira

Sharp roofs of the Monte Palace Hotel.

Discovering the Highlands of Funchal: Monte

Instead of leaving the garden there, we explored it double, on the sloping back to the starting point. We leave it at the top that faces Rua Largo da Fonte. A few dozen meters to the left, we find ourselves at the foot of Igreja do Monte.

At this time, the movement at the base of the stairs is limited to that of a few children of God who are arguing at the door of the Belo Monte restaurant, in a Madeiran that is so closed that it almost makes us feel like foreigners.

We went up to the temple. When we peek inside the nave, a mass takes place. Ten faithful follow her, attentive to the word of the Lord, conveyed by the priest at the altar.

Monte Church, Funchal, Madeira

The faithful attend a mass at the church of Nossa Senhora do Monte in Funchal.

Two or three more enter, a nun leaves. Out of respect for our destiny and the time of light that was draining away, we followed their steps, down the steps.

In the middle of the Pandemic, the usual ups and downs of basket cars and their paths along the side of the Railway was suspended.

At the foot of the church, we find the baskets immobilized vertically in the covered parking lot dedicated to them.

A Botanical Garden Also Very Tropical

Unable to travel in them, we passed by Jardim Monte Palace's natural rival, the Madeira Botanical Garden Engº Rui Vieira. Far from the proclaimed 100.000 species of the Monte Palace, this garden claims 2000 exotic plants.

With no space in the photographic program to count them, we especially admire the splendor of its vegetable mosaic, which is currently cared for by two thoughtful gardeners.

Botanical Garden, Funchal, Madeira

Patterns and colors of the most photogenic attribute of the Funchal Botanical Garden.

Madeira is all a garden that, as the popular imagination confirms, floats in the Atlantic. As we descended to Funchal, almost at ocean level, we would continue to benefit from the city's reinforced chlorophyll.

We resumed its exploration in Praça do Município, Rua dos Ferreiros below, around the Cathedral and the statue of the nobleman João Gonçalves Zarco (1390-1471), elected by Infante D. Henrique to lead the settlement of Madeira and the Porto Santo.

The Municipal Garden and the Contiguous Forested Streets

Nearby, Funchal Municipal Garden, otherwise called Jardim Dona Amélia, once again gathers and displays trees, plants and flowers from the four corners of the world. Even though it's the third one we've crossed, in Funchal, the count of gardens always starts at the beginning.

Almost in the middle of the subtropical summer, the fruit stands in this area still sell cherries, suggesting custard apples, passion fruit and the unusual pineapple bananas. Compared to the abundance in the always frenetic and gaudy Mercado dos Lavradores, what they exhibit are mere samples.

Fruit Stand at the Farmers' Market, Funchal, Madeira

A well-stocked fruit stand at Funchal's Mercado de Lavradores.

Still on Av. Arriaga and on Rua do Aljube, a forest of jacarandas and flowering tipuanas perfumes the atmosphere and gives us a providential shade.

Cathedral of Funchal. Faith in All Its Insular Greatness

A architectural miscellany of the Cathedral, which D. Manuel built between 1510 and 1515, with predominantly Gothic features but also Baroque, Rococo, Mannerist, Mudejar, some also defined as Manueline, intrigues us.

Cathedral, Funchal, Madeira

Figures humanize the façade of the Cathedral of Funchal.

At the very least, as much as we marvel at the famous altarpiece in its chancel, complex, detailed in gold-plated carvings and filled with sculptures worked by meticulous hands, oil paintings on wood, under a ceiling entirely made of Madeira wood.

Enchanted, in particular, by the church's southern perspective, tropicalized by a palm tree projecting from an atrium, we insisted on finding an elevated point of view that would reveal the whole to us.

Cathedral, Funchal, Madeira

The mixed architecture of the Cathedral of Funchal, seen from its south side.

Persistence entices us with a visit to the building of the Geographical Information and Cadastral Services Directorate. There, Marlene Pereira guides us, “very used to visits by photographers and journalists working in Funchal”, as she assures us in a preamble to a chatter to which we indulge without reservation.

We photographed the cathedral and the roofs, at first perched on a terrace wall. Soon, from windows on the floors below.

Proud of her island, Marlene makes a point of giving us advice on the places she most admires and invites us to a short photo shoot of her, taken above all in the foggy north of Fanal. A few days later, we would get lost there and be dazzled on site.

Until then, we continue to walk along the traditional Madeiran sidewalk, made of black basalt pebbles, combined with white and even pink stones, combined with a slight relief, instead of a smooth surface, as is used on the mainland.

In such a way that, on one of the days, after 17.5 km of walking around Funchal, we realized that this tenuous roughness was also responsible for unexpected blisters on the feet.

The Madeira Wine Exclusive to the Blandy Family

In the process of its gestation, we enter the historic Blandy's winery, the only family on the island that boasts of, seven generations and more than two centuries later (1811), continuing to own the company's destinations and the production and export of its worldwide reputed Madeira wine.

There we surrendered to a generous tasting of Blandy's nectars, from the dry to the sweetest, a scale in which, surrendered to the piece of honey cake included, we ended up getting mixed up.

And there we enjoy the mournful atmosphere and the aroma of aged French oak and greens from the barrel and vats room.

Pipas Blandy Winery, Funchal, Madeira

French oak barrels in the Blandys cellar.

For a long time, apart from the extraplanetary fame of the CR7 phenomenon, Madeira wine has made the island's notoriety mature. However, in its popular sphere, the fortified conviviality depends on another drink.

The poncha is the result of an improved blend of sugarcane brandy, lemon peel and juice and sugar.

With time, it began to be consumed in a myriad of variants that were increasingly distant from the recipe with which the fishermen warmed up in the toils and cold nights.

And the Omnipresent Poncha in the Old Town and throughout Funchal

Today, the sector of Funchal with the highest concentration of bars, taverns and, of course, poncha jars, remains its Old Town, arranged around the place that welcomed the town in the city's genesis.

Old Town, Funchal, Madeira

Cable car passes above one of the streets in Funchal's Old Town.

It's in the Old Town that we meet a couple friends on vacation.

And it is in taverns and bars in the Old Town, around the religious heart of the secular Capela do Corpo Santo and back and forth on Rua de Santa Maria, that we celebrate such a reunion, with goals and toasts of ponchas.

Being old, this whole area has been rejuvenated with the panoply of street paintings that increasingly decorate it: Amália, the Principezinho, a Tuareg, Madeiran fishermen at tables in taverns, who knows where it is.

Chances are that mid-morning, with the terraces still closed, we'll go back through there.

Fortaleza and Praia de São Tiago

At a certain point, Rua de Santa Maria unveils Rua Portão de São Tiago. And this one, the gateway to a yellow fortress defended by four jalopies at the door.

We conquered the view from the adarves above.

Over a marine extension, sometimes made of cement slabs, sometimes on the natural pebbles of Praia São Tiago.

There we saw the people of Funchal surrendered to an Atlantic bathing blessing, a summer leisure that was not in keeping with the hardships experienced there throughout Funchal's history.

Fort and Beach of São Tiago, Funchal, Madeira

The Fortress of São Tiago, on the seafront in Funchal's Old Town.

Serious Setbacks in Funchal's History

More than any other setback, the Madeirans were frightened by the attack of 1566 French corsairs, carried out in XNUMX, following the sacking of the island of Porto Santo.

On that occasion, the Gauls met with an almost symbolic resistance. Without much effort, they took Funchal for a fortnight, dedicated themselves to plundering the village.

This is how the urgent construction of the beautiful yellow fort that we continued to examine is understood, inaugurated a few years later, in the middle of the Philippine dynasty, completed in 1614 and reinforced with the fortress above São João Baptista do Pico, which dominates Pico dos Frias.

And the island's first fort, São Lourenço, now transformed into a palace-museum.

A few dozen meters below and to the south, the harbor seafront around the marina was also endowed with new green and tropical spaces that Funchal residents take advantage of whenever they can.

There we pass them, given up on brisk runs and walks, some of which are so long that they use the long Pontinha jetty as an extension and point of return to firmer land.

On one of these days, it is from Pontinha that we boarded for the Porto Santo.

While the “Lobo Marinho” sailed out to the bay, we admired the art with which the sunset and the twilight transformed Funchal into a city green with fire.

Dusk over Funchal, Madeira

Funchal townhouse illuminated by artificial lights and the sunset from the west.

Pico do Arieiro - Pico Ruivo, Madeira, Portugal

Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, Above a Sea of ​​Clouds

The journey begins with a resplendent dawn at 1818 m, high above the sea of ​​clouds that snuggles the Atlantic. This is followed by a winding, ups and downs walk that ends on the lush insular summit of Pico Ruivo, 1861 meters away.
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal

The Eastern, Somehow Extraterrestrial Madeira Tip

Unusual, with ocher tones and raw earth, Ponta de São Lourenço is often the first sight of Madeira. When we walk through it, we are fascinated, above all, with what the most tropical of the Portuguese islands is not.
Paul do Mar a Ponta do Pargo a Achadas da Cruz, Madeira, Portugal

Discovering the Madeira Finisterre

Curve after curve, tunnel after tunnel, we arrive at the sunny and festive south of Paul do Mar. We get goosebumps with the descent to the vertiginous retreat of Achadas da Cruz. We ascend again and marvel at the final cape of Ponta do Pargo. All this, in the western reaches of Madeira.
Ilhéu de Cima, Porto Santo, Portugal

The First Light of Who Navigates From Above

It is part of the group of six islets around the island of Porto Santo, but it is far from being just one more. Even though it is the eastern threshold of the Madeira archipelago, it is the island closest to Portosantenses. At night, it also makes the fanal that confirms the right course for ships coming from Europe.
Porto Santo, Portugal

Praised Be the Island of Porto Santo

Discovered during a stormy sea tour, Porto Santo remains a providential shelter. Countless planes that the weather diverts from neighboring Madeira guarantee their landing there. As thousands of vacationers do every year, they surrender to the softness and immensity of the golden beach and the exuberance of the volcanic sceneries.
Terra Chã and Pico Branco footpaths, Porto Santo

Pico Branco, Terra Chã and Other Whims of the Golden Island

In its northeast corner, Porto Santo is another thing. With its back facing south and its large beach, we unveil a mountainous, rugged and even wooded coastline, dotted with islets that dot an even bluer Atlantic.
Pico Island, Azores

Pico Island: the Azores Volcano with the Atlantic at its Feet

By a mere volcanic whim, the youngest Azorean patch projects itself into the rock and lava apogee of Portuguese territory. The island of Pico is home to its highest and sharpest mountain. But not only. It is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Azoreans who tamed this stunning island and surrounding ocean.
São Miguel (Azores), Azores

São Miguel Island: Stunning Azores, By Nature

An immaculate biosphere that the Earth's entrails mold and soften is displayed, in São Miguel, in a panoramic format. São Miguel is the largest of the Portuguese islands. And it is a work of art of Nature and Man in the middle of the North Atlantic planted.
Santa Maria, Azores

Santa Maria: the Azores Mother Island

It was the first in the archipelago to emerge from the bottom of the sea, the first to be discovered, the first and only to receive Cristovão Colombo and a Concorde. These are some of the attributes that make Santa Maria special. When we visit it, we find many more.
Terceira Island, Azores

Terceira Island: Journey through a Unique Archipelago of the Azores

It was called the Island of Jesus Christ and has radiated, for a long time, the cult of the Holy Spirit. It houses Angra do Heroísmo, the oldest and most splendid city in the archipelago. These are just two examples. The attributes that make Terceira island unique are endless.
Flores Island, Azores

The Atlantic ends of the Azores and Portugal

Where, to the west, even on the map the Americas appear remote, the Ilha das Flores is home to the ultimate Azorean idyllic-dramatic domain and almost four thousand Florians surrendered to the dazzling end-of-the-world that welcomed them.
Horta, Azores

The City that Gives the North to the Atlantic

The world community of sailors is well aware of the relief and happiness of seeing the Pico Mountain, and then Faial and the welcoming of Horta Bay and Peter Café Sport. The rejoicing does not stop there. In and around the city, there are white houses and a green and volcanic outpouring that dazzles those who have come so far.
Lion, Elephants, PN Hwange, Zimbabwe
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

On July 1, 2015, Walter Palmer, a dentist and trophy hunter from Minnesota killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. The slaughter generated a viral wave of outrage. As we saw in PN Hwange, nearly two years later, Cecil's descendants thrive.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

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Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

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Salto Angel, Rio that falls from the sky, Angel Falls, PN Canaima, Venezuela
PN Canaima, Venezuela

Kerepakupai, Salto Angel: The River that Falls from Heaven

In 1937, Jimmy Angel landed a light aircraft on a plateau lost in the Venezuelan jungle. The American adventurer did not find gold but he conquered the baptism of the longest waterfall on the face of the Earth
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The Suzdal Cucumber Celebrations

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Takayama, Japan

From the Ancient Japan to the Medieval Hida

In three of its streets, Takayama retains traditional wooden architecture and concentrates old shops and sake producers. Around it, it approaches 100.000 inhabitants and surrenders to modernity.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

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Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
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The Island that Survived “Survivor”

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Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
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Buy Flights Before Prices Take Off

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Wala, Vanuatu

Cruise ship in Sight, the Fair Settles In

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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
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lake sevan, Armenia

The Bittersweet Caucasus Lake

Enclosed between mountains at 1900 meters high, considered a natural and historical treasure of Armenia, Lake Sevan has never been treated as such. The level and quality of its water has deteriorated for decades and a recent invasion of algae drains the life that subsists in it.
Moorea aerial view
Moorea, French Polynesia

The Polynesian Sister Any Island Would Like to Have

A mere 17km from Tahiti, Moorea does not have a single city and is home to a tenth of its inhabitants. Tahitians have long watched the sun go down and transform the island next door into a misty silhouette, only to return to its exuberant colors and shapes hours later. For those who visit these remote parts of the Pacific, getting to know Moorea is a double privilege.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Winter White
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

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Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
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The Island that Leaned against Paradise

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Preikestolen - Pulpit Rock, Norway

Pilgrimage to the Pulpit of Rock of Norway

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Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

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Natural Parks
Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

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Cathedral of Santa Ana, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
UNESCO World Heritage
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Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

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Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
El Nido, Palawan the Last Philippine Border
El Nido, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan: The Last Philippine Frontier

One of the most fascinating seascapes in the world, the vastness of the rugged islets of Bacuit hides gaudy coral reefs, small beaches and idyllic lagoons. To discover it, just one fart.
Helsinki, Finland

The Pagan Passover of Seurasaari

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On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Weddings in Jaffa, Israel,
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Where Tel Aviv Settles Always in Party

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Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Maria Jacarés, Pantanal Brazil
Miranda, Brazil

Maria dos Jacarés: the Pantanal shelters such Creatures

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Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.