Portugal – Madeira Island VI
Another stop to the west of the island is Porto Moniz. From Sao Vincente you travel through tunnels. Make a stop at Ribeira da Janela town. It is a place of dark volcanic rock. The lovers’ rock rises from the sea there.
The northern spit of Madeira has been settled since the 15th century. Lava lakes at Porto Moniz (name comes after its ofounder) inspires you to stop for a while. The true lure around here is a lava pool near coast. Tidal waves fill pool (it has smooth bed). Large waves make spectacular scenes when geyser water breaks on the cliffs.The pool has its own facilities. In season, there operates a stand selling refreshments. In Porto Moniz (about 70 kilometers from the capital Funchal) you can enjoy great coffee at some of its many restaurants.
The village of Santa is situated right above the town. It is famous for its yearly cattle markets and celebrations of it. Beware on the road. It goes in serpentines around rocks. There is one of the most beautiful levadas (a levada is an irrigation channel) near here– Rabacal. Who wants to make a journey on the island needs an experienced guide. In Funchal, for instance, everywhere you can find services doing such experiences. Certailny, levadas are divided according to the terrain dfifculty. They will gladly help you to make a right choice for you. Active sportsmen/sportswomen can buy a book of levadas. There are maps and descriptions of every trail. Such a publication is available at a special bookshop. Still, this is not everything. Not every levada is marked. Once fog appears even an experienced guide can get into troubles. Terrain is dangerous anyway and you should make necessary safety measures before setting off for a trek.
Once you get above the valley to the height of 1500 meters you will get to the area of Paul da Serra also known as Plato. It is a plateau which makes the flattes part of the island. Omnipresent fog prevents you from having the vista of the both parts of the island. In this case you would be lucky to recognize at least cows eating grass. The constantly changing weather prevented an airport to be built. So rabbits and pheasants are running around here instead and there are even hunts on them.
There is one last stop on the way to the best – the westernmost land projection of Madeira – Ponta do Pargo. It is a quiet place with a lighthouse on the rock. The road you can use to go back goes to the southwest. It can take you, for instance, to the city of Calheta. There is an artificial sand beach. Also, you can get to Ponta do Sol with a stone beach, for a change. Eventually you reach Ribeira de Brava on your way by banana plantations.
Banana is a typical fruit at the island. It requires a great deal of art to grow it. Plants are planted out in a group of three. One of them brings fruit and thus doesn’t cast shadow on others. Every plant bears fruit in a three-year interval. There are different types of bananas – less or more sweet, small and large, and even bananas crossed with apples. You can recognize them according to red color and a small size at markets. A banana is added in recipe with Black scabbardfish. During their ripening, bunches of bananas are packed in blue sacks to prevent pests from getting to them and also prevent birds from getting to them. The blue color of sacks was chosen because it repels birds. Would you just believe this?
GPS: (Porto Moniz) 32°52'01.9"N 17°10'14.1"W
Text and photos: Monika Babická
Coimbra City used to be more than a century, at a time when the Portuguese fought for the rights of the Arabs in the territory, the Portuguese capital (1143-1255). Since the year 1290 there is still work to university - we will not - you count the break, which, together with the status of the capital was moved to Lisbon.
Balcoes lookout is situated at 86é meters above sea level. A comfortable and wide enough road leads there from the trout farm in Riberio Frio. The name fits. It is a true natural balcony giving you the view of what you would consider a piece of paradise.
We leave Funchal for Santana, a town on the northeastern seaboard. There are interesting places along the way. We leave the direct rote to see such places as the Madeira’s highest peaks, a stone igloo, and the Faial bay. In case you have not yet visited the cave and volcanic center of Grutas Sao Vicente it is easy to reach along the northern seaboard starting in Santana. As we told you, Sao Vicente is a borderline between the western and eastern parts of the island
Everybody knows port wine. Perhaps you also link Porto the a high steel bridge and its majestic arch crossing the Douro river. Perhaps you would think of wooden boats carrying wine barrels from the inland wineyards. Porto is, however, a diverse city. There is great history, culture, cuisine, and beaches along the Atlantic coast. Every year, an increasing number of visitors visit this city.
Coimbra, a student town of 150 thousand is situated somewhere in the middle between Porto and Lisbon. There is one of the oldest unviersities in Europe sitting on the hill above the Mondego river. The university, which is the oldest in Portual, was founded in 1290 – 60 years before the famous Charles University in Prague was founded. Tens of thousands of students at this university make this town great including the nightlife there.
Just 45 minutes by train from the center of Lisbon there is the city of Sintra. It became famous for its castle, palaces, and many beautiful buildings. Moreover, there is a beautiful nature park Sintra-Cascais, unusual mountains which will lure you to make a trip. Let’s see Sintra together.
Lisboa is righteously one of the most visited cities in Europe. Yellow trams, hills, cable cars... You can easily get lost in its colorful streets for hours. Washed laundry waves in the wind, you can drink coffee with locals at one of many great cafes and taste local sweet pastry. You can also just set off to the grandiose Ponte 25 de Abril, a red bridge which looks like Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Wine, coffee, cliffs, waves. The western-most country of continental Europe is of the sort everybody likes. It belongs to the top 20 most visited countries in the world. There are beautiful beaches including the best surf beaches of all Europe. Nature in the inland is magnificent as wel. Culture is rich and cities are lively and busy. Let's visit Portugal!
Today, we take a look at the eastern part of the island in the direction from Funchal to the easternmost part where are droughts. It seems as if it was not Madeira there. The landscape is vastly different and there grows almost no vegetation at all. It is only after rains when it gets bit of green there. No levada leads to this area. You can find them only in the mountains. The area is inhabited, however. Therefore, some vegetation is actually there.
Apart from famous Madeira wine (Japan is its largest importer), poncho (a liquor with lemon flavor) is another traditional beverage. You can replace lemon juice with orange or maracuja juice. It is served cold for refreshments. Or it is served also warm as prevention from getting cold. The wine festival takes place end August beginning September.
Fátima - Mecca of all Catholics, and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites around the world. It is located in central Portugal, about 120 km from Lisbon. There is a place, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three children, and prophesied many later events.
A 5 thousand meters high massif of lava was created after huge explosion in the Atlantic. Today we can see only a glimpse of it and this glimpse is Madeira. The island is self-reliant. There are couple of power plants (water, wind), fertile soil and sea rich on fish.
Travel to Madeira by plane only. There is probably no other way to travel almost 1000 kilometers from Portugal and 600 kilometers from North Africa. Moreover, sailing on a ship might not be comfortable for everybody.
It is an island in the Atlantic where you can grow almost anything thanks to humidity, high temperature and fertile soil. So where do you get water that is good for irrigation and how it works?
It is an archipelago and also an island which is located in the Macaronesia region. Only two islands are inhabited as the whole archipelago is a natural reserve. These islands are Madeira and Porto Santo.
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