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.
A small rocky isle on the southwest coast of England in the county of Cornwall, this spectacular setting showcases a medieval church and the castle home of the St. Aubyn family who continues to manage the island as they have since the 17th century. Francis St. Aubyn gave the land and property to the National Trust in 1954 while securing a 999-year lease for the family to continue residence in their ancestral home. For visitors, the fact that the castle, gardens, and lands have live-in owners with a long history of stewardship generates a palpable feeling of genuine caretaking and gracious oversight.
We finally broke down and jumped on the train into Barcelona for the day–all of 30 minutes train ride. The station is only 10 minutes walk from our apartment, passing our shops (grocer, fruit & veg, and of course, baker). Sitges has a fun little station with trains every 10 minutes or so to Barcelona with its population of over 1.5 million. Train travel is the ultimate in easy commuting for residents who prefer to live in a small town and work in a big city.
For us, the best way to get a good overview of any large city is to take an open-topped bus. The CitySightseeing Bus (hop on/hop off) fills the bill. We caught it outside the Barcelona Sants Station and began an entertaining trip around the city. Gratefully, the city’s normal summer climate — warm and dry — made the journey a most pleasant experience. In fact, the overcast skies kept us from toasting on the top burner of the bus.
Take a peek at our photos on Flickr.