Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago and Portuguese  autonomous region situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. "The island of eternal spring" lies 600 km off the coast of Morocco and about 1,000 km southwest of Lisbon. Madeira's capital city is Funchal. The island's population is 280,000 with  nearly half of her good people residing in Funchal. It is an archipelago as in addition to this main island, there is the tiny Porto Santo (population 5,500) and two other, smaller still and unpopulated islands - Desertas and Selvagens.

I travelled to Madeira only; flying from the city of Porto on the Portuguese mainland. While flipping through travel books and atlases - old school trip preparation - okay, and the occasional digital resource - I had initially imagined a far more ambitious itinerary: Macaronesia - including in addition to Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and the Azores. I was so bewitched by the numerous charms of Madeira that I dropped this far-flung itinerary to enjoy Madeira more fully. Good choice!

To say that the landscape is breathtaking, is to utter an understatement.

Madeira is a hiker's paradise. Most famous are routes along the ancient water channels - the levadas - that criss-cross the island. Many trail-heads are easily accessed via public transit. And those bus drivers - as they expertly manoeuver along scenic, serpentine roads precipitously hugging deep gorges are truly wizards. What a trip!

But to be honest, even in the dry season, in order for this garden of eternal spring to flourish as it does, it must of course rain. Sometimes a lot. As can be seen here, a washed-out section of the track needed a little improvisation  in order to continue.