Mercado dos Lavradores
Early Morning: The Covered Market of Funchal
First surprise, the profusion of tropical flowers at the market entry: the same flowers as in Africa and the West Indies. Ditto for certain fruits and vegetables, such as christophine: one of my favorite vegetables in the Caribbean!
Two discoveries: the custard apple that looks like a green apple pine (on the above photo montage). In fact, a variant of soursop. And second discovery, the curuba or banana poka or banana passion fruit (the first photo of this post).
Part of the market is dedicated to fish. On the photo below: huge Atlantic tuna (I thought tuna was a Mediterranean fish, oops!) … Fish of all sizes and colors, seafood … and many tourists.
Santa Maria Street
In The Old Town,
close to the Mercado dos Lavradores, the Santa Maria Street houses the art project “Arte Portas Abertas project”: a collection of doors painted by a hundred artists from Madeira (photo montage above).
At lunchtime, the street comes alive with many terraces and restaurants. In the evening, it’s crowded. There are a myriad of bars, where you can taste the famous Poncha, mixture of aguardente de cana, honey and lemon. You can also taste one of the different versions with fruit juices … Super strong cocktail: watch out sensitive stomach! LOL!
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
Funchal: City View From Above
A five minute walk from Santa Maria street, we take the cable car to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, owned by the Berardo Foundation. On 70,000 m², more than 100,000 of plants, some from the Laurel forest (Laurissilva Forest, endemic in Madeira), plus a Japanese garden and a Chinese garden (photo above).
In the Monte Palace Museum, I discovered “African Passion”, the Berardo collection of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe artists (photo montage below, right side) and the “Mother Nature Secrets” space with 700 samples minerals.
In the gardens, I really enjoyed the Klein Blue panel (of Four Elements of Nature), representing water and the collection of Azuleros (ceramic tiles) from the 15th to the 20th centuries scattered in different walks. I couldn’t see all of them (time flies!). My advice, plan 1 or 2 hours to visit without rushing.
Swimming With The Dolphins
Departure From The Marina
Funchal. I do not know why, but I love everything relates to the sea! Hence the excitement, a kind of trance, winning the broad in the zodiac, with our guides, the captain and a friendly dynamic biologist (photo below black and white). I do my second or third Periscope (live stream)! So sorry, no great pictures of our friends the dolphins, I was filming!
When a pod of dolphins (really impressive in water) swim near the zodiac, water is put to you. The zodiac retains his speed to follow the dolphins (and they go fast) while you hang with a firm hand the rope that connects you to the boat, you dive with a mask and snorkel with nice waves on the surface!
Under water the perception of speed is stronger than on the boat: you’re pulled by the boat, it’s really physical. We were only two girls to swim! Another important detail if you are a woman, put on a one-piece suit (not a trikini)! I spent my time trying to keep my bikini bottom, which partly ruined the show. I even had to don a wetsuit! Yep!
But the little I’ve seen in the water is magic! And yet I have already dived surrounded by seals (magic too!). If you go to Madeira, definitely you have to swim with dolphins, especially if you are respectful of nature: here, they do not feed the dolphins to swim near the boat! Dolphins come and go as they please … which also means that you can not see any ; )
Break @ The Pestana Casino Park
The dolphins trip ended, I go get changed at the hotel and then continue with the interview of the interior designer Nini Andrade Silva.
Photo above: the restaurant’s hall of Pestana Casino Park has a 70s and 80s vintage touch. It could have been used as a set for a movie of Jean-Pierre Melville …
Dinner @ The Restaurante do Forte
An awesome cabriolet from the 30s picks up us at the hotel to drop us off at Restaurante do Forte, located in the São Tiago Fort close to Santa Maria Street. The setting is enchanting with a view overlooking the Ocean from the ramparts!
Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.
Many thanks for this beautiful invitation to Visit Madeira, Visit Portugal and TAP. As always all my opinions are mine.