Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Day 40, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Our port today is Funchal on the island of Madeira, which is part of Portugal. It lies 544 miles west and slightly south of Casablanca. I'm going to quote Google Maps again for a description of Madeira.
"Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is an archipelago comprising four islands off the northwest coast of Africa. It’s known for its namesake wine and warm, subtropical climate. The main island of Madeira is volcanic, green and rugged, with high cliffs, pebbly beaches and settlements on deltas of the Fajã River. Capital Funchal has botanic gardens and is known for its harbor and a large New Year's fireworks show."
|Not a great map, but it does give you an idea of where it's located and its proximity to the Azores.|
The ship docked at 8:00 this morning and there were already two other ships in port so we knew it was going to be crowded today. We had a private tour scheduled for 9:00 this morning so we were up before 8:00. Val didn’t sleep very well last night and woke up not feeling well, but she still wanted to go on the tour.
After eating our breakfast in the Neptune Lounge, we got off the ship and went to look for our guide. We had a very good docking spot and were right in the center of town so we had a short walk to the terminal parking lot where we saw our guide holding a sign with Val’s name on it. Our guide’s name was Angelo and he asked us what we wanted to do today. He had a list of possibilities and we told him what we wanted and we were off.
We drove through the city of Funchal and then through the countryside on our way to a small fishing village. I was surprised to learn that bananas were a big crop here and we saw huge fields on the terraced hillsides. Madeira is a mountainous island and most everything is built up the hillside. The other thing we noticed on our drive was how clean Madeira was and how polite the drivers were.
Angelo told us about the local geography and culture as we drove and we were soon at the fishing village. With the other two ships in port, we weren’t alone there, but it was still an interesting visit. Unfortunately, as we walked through the village, Val began to feel worse and worse and didn’t know whether she could go on, and after discussing it, we decided it would be best to cancel our tour and return to the ship. Val felt very bad about it as she really had wanted to see Madeira, but it’s no fun doing it while you’re not feeling well.
Angelo was very understanding and drove us back to the ship; we hope he was able to pick up another tour today so his time won’t be wasted. The port area was bustling when we returned with dancers in traditional costumes performing near the dock.
When we returned to the room Val went back to bed, but she encouraged me to go back out and explore the town of Funchal a bit. I didn’t really want to do it without Val, but after a while I decided to go and got back off the ship. There was a pedestrian promenade along the waterfront with beautiful views of the bay as well as many shops and restaurants so I decided to follow that. It was a really nice walk, but after a couple of miles, I decided to return to the ship and see how Val was doing. I did stop and buy my obligatory t-shirt, but other than that, I came straight back.
|A wide promenade was adjacent to most of the harbor. You can see the traditional white and black paving on the promenade. It's made of black volcanic rock and white stones.|
When I got back to the room, Val was still in bed and not feeling much better, but she was hungry. It was lunchtime so I went up to the Lido and brought her down some food and then returned and got something for myself. After eating, Val napped and I went up on deck with my camera to take some pictures of the town from the ship.
By late afternoon Val was feeling better and decided she would go to her team trivia. After trivia, she returned and actually said she was feeling better; great news. I went back on deck and took some more pictures of the same things in different light. I ended up with many pictures of the same thing, but it gave me something to do.
We were supposed to leave at 5:00 today, but they had run a test of the emergency generators and one failed so that had to be repaired before we could leave. By this time Val was feeling almost back to normal so we got ready for dinner and were off to our pre-dinner trivia. The ship finally sailed out of the harbor just before 7:00.
After trivia, it was dinner and the casino and then back to the room. Tonight, the clocks would be moved back another hour, which is always welcome. Tomorrow is the first of seven straight sea days before we make our final stop in the Bahamas before returning to Fort Lauderdale.
Today was a disappointment for both of us as we had been looking forward to seeing Madeira, but things happen and you can’t do anything about it. Madeira is a beautiful island, and I enjoyed just being docked there and walking around for a while, and we did get to see a little bit of it on our short tour with Angelo.