Sat. 22 Nov. 2014 Weather:-21 Degrees/Sunny and Rain, Again...
Funchal, Portugal 10:30 17:00 6 ½ h
Last Night we went to the Captain’s Cocktail Party, the only thing was the captain did not turn up, high seas was mentioned-he had to stay on the bridge-but it did pass my mind that WE had stood him up for the ‘Welcome Aboard Party/Photos with the Captain Party’ which was held on the first night on board maybe it was him saying “Touché’” Do you think???
The seas have been choppy causing delays/earlier departures at different ports to make use of the times when the seas are smoother. It has not caused any sea sickness in any of our acquaintances on board but I am glad that they are choosing the smoother times to go out to sea and I am hoping that the Mediterranean may be quieter; all in all it has been and is a fun and interesting trip.
After dinner and the cocktail party last night we opted to go to the theatre on board as we had heard how good the shows were; we were not disappointed, the show was called ‘Stardust’ but we saw straight away that it was a loose interpretation of ‘The wizard of Oz’ fantastic dancing, singing and acrobatics and beautiful costumes.
Madeira (the Island on which Funchal is situated) is an "autonomous region" of Portugal it is self-governing, but established under the Portuguese constitution. Its inhabitants are, for all intents and purposes, Portuguese. They speak Portuguese, vote in Portuguese elections and celebrate Portuguese holidays. The city of Funchal, named for the huge amounts of fennel (funcho) that grew wild, rises straight up from the sea and when we first got there this morning it was full on sunshine but that only lasted until we had walked to the bottom of the Cable Car that takes you to the town of Monte; it is a 15-minute ride with an approximate 1,800-foot incline. The trip takes you up and over the gorgeous rooftops of the old town of Funchal and the Ribeira de Joao Gomes valley, and deposits you in the charming town of Monte, featuring Beautiful views all over the south coast of Madeira; unfortunately by the time we reached the top the light rain created a mist over all we viewed.
Tobogganning down from Monte was our next objective but alas, not in the rain. We watched a few foolhardy people slide down the mountain but I am afraid that we chickened out and took the cable car down instead. In 1850, some enterprising folks decided to create toboggans made out of wicker to bring people down to Funchal from Monte, high in the mountains. The tradition holds today; the two-person wicker "sledges" are "driven" sliding down the streets of the mountain by two men in traditional white garb. The rubber soles of their boots acting as their only brakes: The sledges achieve speeds of nearly 20 miles per hour as they twist along the pavement from the top to the bottom but today on the wet roads and amongst traffic we told ourselves “do not take the risk” anyhow that was our excuse.
It is now 9:45am on Sunday morning and after a rock and rolling night in bed (no, it’s not what you are thinking) and surprisingly enough no sea sickness, we have breakfasted royally and are ready for our 3rd sea day.