After a brilliant tour of the west side of the island, we were looking forward to the tour of the East side. This did not start well. After being picked up by the minibus, we set off to pick up other passengers from other hotels. Unfortunately, when it came to the last pick up, the driver misread the name and took us to one twenty minutes further on. We then had to rush back to town to the correct hotel.
This meant we were late setting off and the early part of the day seemed a little rushed then. Plus tearing down the small roads did nothing for our constitution.
Our first stop was a Wicker Factory, reasonably interesting, but difficult to take home! How we were supposed to pack great big baskets in our luggage was something that was discussed at length by our fellow passengers?
Next, was another interesting viewpoint at Pico do Aneiro, where the views, looking over the island were spectacular. We were above the clouds, which was quite eerie and novel. It made us think of what it would be like to climb even higher viewpoints in other parts of Europe. Maybe one for the future.
We moved on and stopped for lunch at a pleasant restaurant before moving onto a walk at Ribeiro Frio. This was by the side of another Levada, which was also through a wooded area leading to another impressive viewpoint. It was a shame that it was quite cold and dark. After packing warm clothes for the previous trips and not needing them, we did not bring them this time and regretted it.
,After, descending into the village we set off for Santana. This was another place we were looking forward to; seeing the v shaped traditional houses. Although these have largely disappeared from the island because of their size. In the centre of Santana village, some examples are kept as a heritage site.
Again, we were a little rushed and the houses we got to see were new ones for tours and converted into shops. I did manage to find one still lived in but the rest were spread out and we didn't have time to find them.
Lastly, we drove to what was described as the only sandy beach on Madeira at Machico. An interesting place and we had a nice walk along the promenade. It was even nicer as the sun came out and finally the day became much warmer- thank goodness!
This trip was difficult to sum up. The start was not very good and during the trip we were rushed in places and even missed a couple of advertised stops. Also the cold did not help. Even with these problems; it was excellent value for money and enabled us to see more of the Island. I think after the success of the first tour, to the west side, our expectations were quite high and it was difficult for this tour to live up to them.
I would certainly recommend these tours but have warm clothes with you if you are going into the mountains.