Posted by: onboardtourswhales | May 29, 2018

Madeira Islands post 11- Local Island Tour

March 30, 2018 As my time on Madeira came to a close, a fine young man Bruno offered to give me a local’s perspective tour. I had ventured a bit in other regions, I also wanted to experience the northwest, southwest, and west sides of the island. Particularly Porto Moniz where there are lava pools, along with a restaurant named Orca, had to check that out! And to see a full sunset on the west side at the lighthouse at Ponta do Pargo. Bruno and his Mercedes Smart Car convertible made it a fun adventure. I think all locals drive fast on the narrow, switch back roads, yet seem to sense blind corners or oncoming traffic, display no road rage, and stop immediately when pedestrians are by a crosswalk in the city. We headed across the island stopping at a serene sheep ranch on a plateau. Along the way to Porto Moniz, Bruno showed me the villages where his grandparents and parents lived and grew up, making a living by farming. I am awed by the farm and garden terraces carved into the rugged mountains and the hard laborious work that takes. I had not seen a cow on island until then, a few small cattle ranches on this northern side. It was a beautiful warm sunny day, the surf was up at Porto Moniz as you can see in the first photos of the people-made lava pools, and the spray blowing across the village. I thought of swimming in the second set of more natural lava pools until I almost fell stepping on the algae clad stairs. I’m not as brave that way as other people are! Content to take photos of the majestic seas and lands. We drove back across the mountains past the high plateaus that folks are restoring with native trees and plants. A glimpse of high peaks through the clouds, and huge wind turbines, to the southwestern shores where Bruno pointed out his lifelong swimming and surfing beaches. Then timing just right to get to Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse for the sunset and full moon rising. A perfect day. I have never seen or been through so many tunnels- old mountain rock tunnels and new concrete enclosed tunnels, as on this trip and our travel back on the express highway to Funchal to drop me off. Bruno was going to meet up with extended family at another village to celebrate upcoming Easter. He said some of his favorite times are when all the extended family rent a house in different villages for a long weekend, to gather together celebrating whatever event. I sensed and so appreciated throughout my stay here on Madeira, the importance of, the care, kindness, and respect for family and elders, that is also shown to visitors.



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