Portugal – Madeira Island VII
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.
We pass by vast fenced estates covered by solar cells. These stand on parched red soil. We saw some red features up in the mountains before. These were usually rests of lava stones. The heat pulverized such rocks here.
Now we are at Ponta do Sao Lourenco. The black sand beach Prainha stretches under the cliff. Once you park your car you can descend. Should you be a thick-skinned person, you can take a swim in cold water. It is just a bit to the left from a roundabout to Ponta do Rosto outlook. There you can view beautiful scneries with cliffs or even Porto Santo island, in case there is good level of visibility. The island is less than ř0 kilometers away. From Funchal, it takes around 2-hour boat cruise to get there. Had you turned ride at the roundabout, you reach Casa do Sardinha oasis and Ilhéu da Cevada and Ilhéu da Farol. These islands complete the eastern tip of Madeira. A lighthouse is situated on the latter of the islandst at 103 meters. Its light is visible to sailors from great distance. Should you walk to the very end expect worse weather conditions.
Canical is a fishermen village (the parish was founded in 1561). The village is situated in the direction to Funchal when going from the eastern tip. The village became notorious for whale fishing. Once the whales were no longer caught a museum remembers this tradition. There are life-sized specimen. Also, a fishermen festival reminds of this extinct tradition. It is held every year on September's third Sunday. A picture of the Virgin Mary sails to the sea from the chapel on an adorned boat. A prayer during this act asks for a fortunate comeback. Canical became a town in 1994. It is known for pasta production. A point of liason is the ever expanding cargo port. Anything coming to Madeira is directed there first. Even gasoline tanks. The entire eastern tip starting at Canical to the last islet has 6 kilometers in lenght.
We pass by Machico on our way to Funchal. It was at the former when sailors set their feet on the land in 1419 and thus discovered the island. Also, the only freeway on Madeira beings here. Yes. Even the northern side has a two-line road. Yet don't expect the kind of freeway you are used to. Apart from the historicaldistrict, there is Fore do Amparo which is popular among tourists. The sand beach covered by yellow sand imported from Morocco, which seems to be almost as if golden in the sun, is a popular place as well. A concrete wall reaching the bay was built in 2008. It is supposed to protect the beach. There are not many beaches on Madeira. This one is the most popular one. Machico was never the capital of the island. However, earlier it used to be called Kapitana. The translation sounds something like a military commanders' HQ. Every June, there is a historical re-enactment of the landing of the 15th century. The island became the center of sugar cane production back then. Some farmers still make their living on terrace fields. They grow grapewine, fruits, potatoes, or cerals. Majority of the inhabitants are employed in the tourist industry.
It is close to Santa Cruz international airport from Machico. Everybody who lands on Madeira goes through this airport. The airport and the runway are described in the third part of our series.
Camacha (700 m) is one of the parishes of Santa Cruz z farností Santa Cruz. Camacha is renown for hand-made rattan furtniture and other products made of wattle. The largest shop is at Relógio (clock) building) on the square. Unfortunately, we cannot buy some of the preciselly crafted pieces.
There is one primacy regarding the village. The first football match in Portugal took place here on the square in 1875. A immigrant from Britain is the one to be thanked for. He set up a match between two teams and provided a football he brought from England. The land around is fit for establishing orchards. Cider wine or bear are produced in the area.
From Machico, the freeway continues to Funchal. There are other sections of the freeway under construction.
There are couple of more interesting places in the east. These are oriented towards the northeastern coastline. We are going to talk about them in the following part.
GPS: (Canical) 32°44'19.6"N 16°44'17.2"W
Text: Monika Babická
Photos: Monika Babická, Wikimedia Commons: Maximovich Nikolay, Coeli
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!
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.
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.
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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