Portugal – Madeira IV
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.
Local special fish is ESPADA which is also called Black Scabbard fish. This fish is pretty large and ugly. Its has protuberant eyes and it lives between one and two kilometers deep in the sea. Fishermen catch it only at night because the fish goes hunting after dark. It must be caught at 500 meters below water level. Which is doable by fishermen. The fish is only around Madeira and Japan.
Tourism is the main source of income then it is fishing, growing of products and wine production. Everybody has a small piece of land to grow veggies and fruits on. There is not much space for gardens. Moreover, island's rather hilly terrain allows only terraced fields. Therefore, it is quite difficult to work them. Flowers are usually in flowerpots around houses. Originally, houses were white with basalt tilling (around doors or windos). Modern hotels have flower gardens - in the west of Funchal for instance - yet the area is limited and you can get only so much from island's 740 km².
The sweet liquor wine of Madeira is made of Malvasia sort. George the Navigator ordered the sort to be transported here from Crete in 1440. It is a very resilient and world-renowned sort. Its strategic location on the trade routes between Africa, Americas made Madeira great place for sailors to resupply water and food. Trade was vibrant here. There are some things originating in distant lands. Even human labor was traded. Ships were propelled by slaves before. In the early 16th century “houses of slaves “ (Casa dos Escravos) were established. In modern language, we would call it the slave trade agency. Thus, slaves started to be transported to Americas.
Madeira's wine is always bit sweeter. Be it sec or demi-sec. Basic wine here is 3 years old. Next wine is tapped off every 5, 10 and 15 years. There is also reserve wine the oldest one being from 1850. There is some interesting history related to liqueur wine. As always chance played its role… Upon the vineyards were founded the production of table wine was commenced. It was exported as far as Japan. To prevent it to spoil, brandy was added. However, once Japan refused one shipment claiming the wine was spoiled. The captain ordered the sailors to pour the wine out into the sea. However the sailors tasted the wine first and discovered the taste of the sweet liquor. It took a while before it was found out what actually happened with wine barrels because the sun was shining at them. Ships which returned from the north carried spoiled wine (unlike ships coming back from warm lands). Thus the liquor wine production began. Until the present it has been real science. Mostly its home-made production. To make this wine mature it was stored on the highest, the warmest floor. After addition of brandy it was tapped off (after about a year) into the barrels one floor below. And this all process was repeated at least one more time.
You can also buy reserve wine and its called RESERVA. This is when the yield is especially good. Rain Water wine is dilluted with water. Its history is bit witty. Sailors drank bit of wine they transported on their ships. To cover their lust they replaced the wine they drank with rain water. Port wine matures in cold spaces. It is storaged horizontally and its taste differs throughout the years.
GPS: 32°41'44.7"N 16°46'33.8"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.
Bright white plaster, color-framed windows and doors, narrow, cobbled streets, screaming seagulls and beautiful atmosphere. Portuguese fishing villages are among my favorites and Ferragudo is one of the most famous. Let's have a look there together.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are going to visit the Algarve in southern Portugal, you will probably be at least passing through Faro. For his sights alone, it would be a shame not to stop for a while.
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?
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.
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