When I holidayed in Madeira in February 2023 I fell in love with the island as it truly is paradise on Earth, so another visit before the year was out beckoned.
I was told by many that the only way to really see the island was to walk around it and, not being a hiker more of a moocher, I wasn’t sure whether I’d manage even an “easy” walk as the terrain inland is mountainous. However, I took a chance and was very glad I did.
Walks organised by many tour companies are divided into easy, moderate and difficult and I chose the Roto do Vinho, with Sunrise Tours which I’d recommend for beginners like me.
On December 22nd the sun was beating down and I was wearing a T-shirt, jeans and trainers, although my hoodie was in my rucksack just in case! There were eight people on the walk from all across Europe and I have to thank the guide, Pedro, for his assistance and insistence that I take my time, there was no rush.
The pathway for the most part was easily navigated, but I had to watch where I was going as in places it was uneven and if I fell I would either end up in the water channel on my right, which irrigates the land, or tumble down the mountainside to my left! In places the drop is sheer and I’m glad I seemed to have regained my head for heights!
The views over the capital city of Funchal were stunning, but more spectacular where the scenic terraced fields, still farmed by hand.
On we walked, the laneway being mainly on the flat as we circumnavigated the mountainside, going neither up nor down. Going through a tunnel proved a little challenging and I’m not a great lover of steps either, but my fellow walkers and Pedro assisted me when I asked for a helping hand. Thank you! (I did have my walking sticks with me but I was too lazy to get them out of my rucksack as for 98% of the walk I didn’t need them!)
Many houses on the hillside were beautifully decorated with tiles, red rooftops and vines, but what really made the walk worthwhile were the beautiful flowers growing everywhere.
A lovely Spanish lady recognised mimosa and agapanthus whereas I only knew hydrangea, growing them myself, and fuchsia, which don’t seem to like my garden at all!
The roses smelled glorious and finding a single rose amongst a plethora of bananas seemed to sum up my life beautifully!
It took almost two hours to do the five kilometres, mainly because my new found amigo and I wanted to take photographs and we stopped in order to do so and I’m glad we did.
To finish off a fabulous tour, and I’m definitely going to do another, we were invited into a homely taverna and had a small glass of “poncha. It was 11.40am.
‘Has it alcohol in it?’ I asked Pedro, not being one to imbibe before noon.
‘Only a little,’ he replied.
Pedro: your definition of “a little” and mine differ, but the sugarcane rum based fruity drink was delicious and a lovely end to my first walk, but not my last, in Madeira.
I toured the east and the west of the island of Madeira back in February 2023 and I learned a great deal as you can discover by clicking on these links.