Although our hotel was just out of city centre, it was ideally situated for a walk away from town towards the other hotels and Lidos along the coast.
Here there were more of the larger hotels and concrete lidos, where you could spend the day sunbathing and swimming. There are not a lot of beaches and these are ideal for people who just want to relax in the sun with every convenience on hand. The one I sketched was typical of these.
Further along the road you came to the new shopping centre, the Forum Madeira, where more high street retailers are found. This was a nice change to be able to walk around out of the heat. The roof garden was excellent but under used. I felt a bit sorry for the man who sat up there all day with a hawk; probably to frighten off pigeons etc.
Another organised tour was to the Nun's Valley. This is a small village situated in the crater of an extinct volcano, which has kept its 16th-century Santa Clara Convent; where the nuns used to hide from pirates who were attacking Funchal.
The trip started at a stunning viewpoint, where we could look down on the small village. In the first picture you can see the original road used by villagers. A winding treacherous way clinging to the cliff side.
Having said that the new road is still very narrow in places and as we sat having a drink, at the viewpoint, we watched two coaches trying to pass at a narrow section. This was like two stags fighting with one advancing and then retreating, then the other doing the same. This went on for about twenty minutes before one gave in and reversed so the other could pass. Drivers pride was at stake I think.
One of our hobbies is Geocaching, where we look for hidden caches. On our travels we try to find one at every stop. As we looked at the viewpoint, we found the hiding place, which was a deep hollow in the rock side. As we considered putting our hand inside, another man code name 'Peter Pan' without even thinking about it, reached in to retrieve the treasure. Much braver than us, so an apt name. After chatting he told us this was his 499th find.
After the road was clear we descended the valley to the village. This was quaint but a little disappointing. Maybe because we didn't have long to explore it. Again we decided to look for a Geocache, which was at the local Fire station. As we rooted around a fireman came out and gave us a hint. As we opened the log we realised 'Peter Pan' had achieved his aim of collecting his 500th cache. So congratulations to him, but we will get there one day.
Two interesting trips; one organised and one where we just explored the area. Both chances to see different parts of the island.