With only two days left before leaving Funchal, we decided to pack the day with adventure and started with a sunlit ride up the mountain on the Monte Cable Car, moved to a fast-paced clip down the Toboggan Run, and finished with an exhilarating swim in the Atlantic Ocean.
Looking for a bit of “horse heaven”, I convinced Stephen he would love a group ride in the woods. After a quick check on TripAdvisor, we discovered to our surprise that Madeira’s Number One attraction featured horses! With a call to Quinta do Riacho, I committed. Unfortunately, the image of Tex, an enormous animal with a mind of his own (Stephen’s last equine “experience” on a rocky Oregon beach), popped into my head. Could we make this work? Desperate to jump into the saddle, I managed to cajole him into action.
Features: begging man, growing crops, walking mourners, bear-snatching tot, whirling fog.
We waited for the car agent at the designated spot for an hour (due to a mix up) before we eventually drove off in a wee, dirt-brown Nissan Micra. We’d asked for a model with good tires, but in the end considered ourselves lucky to get any vehicle, albeit with 89,000 kilometers (or 55,302 miles) on its hooves. We divided the work from the start: Stephen would drive as he enjoys the familiar British challenge of narrow, curvy roads while I simultaneously would photograph everything that moved, along with everything that didn’t.
Once we came to a halt, all bets were off, and the best wo/man captured the Nikon camera, while the runner-up used his/her iPhone. Ultimately, on our East journey we snapped roughly 150 photos to compile enough raw materials to create this post.
Features: begging lizard, smiling dog, tree-hugging bear, parking ticket, and exploding tyre
The alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 7am, and we slowly dragged ourselves out of bed. A little known fact: darkness prevails at 7am in Madeira. Why on earth had we organized a car rental for the day, I’d rather just mooch around in my workout shorts for the next two hours, cup of tea in hand, and take a good long look over the balcony at the evolving sea scene below.
Never mind, we got ourselves organized: we packed up the swimming gear, the camera gear, the food & water and carried everything to the local car rental office across the street.
The agency provided a Renault Clio, black, that had been around the block a few times, I’d say. The tyres appeared pretty bald and the odometer registered 69,000 kilometers. Not too bad if the island were the size of California, but it’s only about 30 miles long. So it has had a good number of short trips. The agent carefully pointed out the spare wheel location and confirmed a tool kit and jack on board. First time a rental agent has done that in the recent past.