Postcard from Funchal, Madeira
We are on holiday in Madeira!
Anne and I arrived last week at one of our favourite destinations: Pestana Palms hotel on the island of Madeira. We first came here together for our honeymoon in 2009 and have returned several times since then. One of the main attractions is the ‘Cheers’ bar with its longstanding team of bar staff who always greet us with a smile as in the featured image above.
What do we do, while holidaying in Madeira?
We usually arrive tired and in need of a rest, so sleep is an essential ingredient of any holiday for us. But then, away from our usual routine, we make time for exercise.
In Madeira, there are many lavada walks. These are paths that run alongside the network of waterways – narrow channels – that carry water from the mountains down to the coast.
On our honeymoon, we embraced these walks with a vengeance. Older and wiser, we now opt for the more gentle excursions.
Last Friday, for example, we visited the pretty village of Gaulo and, with the aid of excellent guide, enjoyed views of the countryside during a 60-minute stroll along the Lavada dos Tornos. I took lots of photos, and Anne took this shot of me.
Our guide explained the history of the region, their dependence on water (hence the lavadas) and how they created the many terraces to make the most of the steep terrain.
It reminded us of the work we’ve had done at home, with 23 piles needed to stabilise our sloping rear garden, and a huge retaining wall of concrete to hold back a neighbour’s garden. For us, a small team of builders, with diggers, completed the work in a matter of months.
In Madeira, the construction of the terracing was painstaking work, done by hand, stone by stone, as the slopes were too steep for horses or donkeys, and the ground not accessible for machinery. All the men worked on the terracing and it took them years …
And then we had tea and cake – all traditional recipes – at the home of the guide. A wonderful half day excursion …
My holiday studio in Madeira
It’s not all relaxation. We have ‘work’ to do as well.
I’ve set up a ‘studio’ on the balcony already, and the sun is so bright, I’m in relief. I promise you, I am smiling.
Here is a close up of the table, set out with my essentials.
Holidaying in Madeira: a time to sketch
The image above is of a particularly elegant craft that made its way out of Funchal, the capital of Madeira, past our balcony. I took many photos of its passage across a magnificent sky. Plus I have the sketch. When I return home, I may create a larger image of this scene.
I have two sketch books with me but, so far, I’ve only used the smaller of the two. The image below is of the hotel itself with the pool in the foreground.
It’s wonderful to paint in the open air … for the temperatures to be high enough to be comfortable without having to apply sun screen every five minutes.
And to have, in the background, the sound of waves breaking on the seashore. Bliss!
This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling.