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  • Writer's pictureClaire

05/05/24 Anthem of The Seas Day 8 Madeira

Land ahoy my pretties!! This gives me so much joy! The boat is no longer rocking and is parked up in the port of Fuchal. From the dining room window, we were able to look out across the harbour onto green hills full of terracotta tiled roof houses. As it was early, the sun hadn’t quite hit the island, but my goodness when it did!!! 

We made preparations to get off the boat, going down to the gangplank. All that was needed were our sea passes which were scanned, and then connected to the copy of our passport that they had on the system. I was queried as to my name, because my passport photo looks nothing like me, in it my hair is dark and now it’s multicoloured from white, dark blonde, mid brown dark brown and back to blonde on the ends. To be fair I would have questioned me too!  

Two very helpful stewards assisted Mildred and I off, good job too, the gang plank was quite steep but also had non slip rungs in the middle of it. To avoid getting Mildred’s front wheels snarled up in them the steward at the front was guiding her down. Finally on solid ground for what seems like forever, we trundled down the port and into town. The pavements are mostly cobbled which made for a very jiggly ride! Also in port was a naval boat in a sectioned off no admittance area, not that we would have wanted to go in and have a nose around anyway. A lot of passengers have booked excursions, hop on hop off buses, vineyards, cable car rides, and loads of others. We didn’t as the town is only a short walk and Si was keen to stretch his legs out despite going to the gym every morning. 

The Flower Festival is on and a lot of roads were closed off, not that it made much difference to us as we were walking anyway. The streets were lined with seating gantry on both sides, which would ensure a fantastic view of the procession. There are floats all decorated in flowers that parade through the town, and flowers everywhere. The parade itself didn’t start until 16.30hrs so unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of it, but we were able to admire photo backdrops of all colours on our way up the road. So much work had gone into making them, they consisted of silk flowers of all description and had baskets interspersed in amongst them. Very pretty and colourful 

All up the side of the harbour, were what looked like jumbo wine corks to me, and they were utilised as breakers for the ocean. Strange looking things to be sure. People were sunbathing on the concrete paths behind them and on the rocks in the harbour. I mean what else are you going to do on a sunny Sunday? There were Ice cream sellers setting up, the smell of popcorn floated on the warm breeze and coffee shops offered a tempting array of cakes and pastries. Having just had breakfast we rumbled on by, and went as far as we could go to what looked like a fort. Might have been anything, it was pretty old though. 

There are statues of random things dotted around the grass areas and the town seems to be a mix of ultra modern and the very old.  It works though, and the tiny narrow dark cobbled streets were an absolute delight. We wandered around exploring the  little side streets to give Si a break from the brilliant sunshine,  it was lovely and cool, although it might not be so cool in the height of summer, today however it was perfect.  

Quite a lot of shops were open, but we didn’t bother going in because we didn’t need anymore stuff to carry, we’ve got enough junk. In the middle of a square was a tea shop, with large shady parasols so we decided an iced tea might be in order. The place had an amazing menu of teas, and also had food on offer which they paired with teas that went together well. What a stunning little place. The waiters English was perfect which was a relief as my Portuguese is a bit rusty. The food that was served up already were on afternoon tea tiered plates and it looked really good, I think the presentation of it went a long way. Had we not been full from breakfast we would have certainly indulged. However we opted for a vitamin c iced apple carrot and fruit drink. It was divine and really refreshing. We have decided we’ll be back here for a few days, it’s gorgeous and it has hop on hop off buses that circle the Island, that is something I can definitely cope with. 

We watched the cable car go up and down as we sat there, and had there not been a humongous queue we would have jumped in one, but the line was snaking around the building three times, and also, low cloud had come in and was now covering the top of the mountains so we wouldn’t have got a panoramic view anyway. Next time! 

Si had another coffee and once he’d finished we paid our bill and meandered back through the streets over the cobbles which gave me a good shake about, made sure I was awake for sure!  We came to a little square that has the old Custom House in it which was built in the 1700, right opposite the glorious old building was the most ultra modern fountain we’d seen, but like I say, it didn’t look out of place. We came to the end of the courtyard and discovered there were steps to get onto the pavement and no ramp so we wandered back up and across another side street that came out directly opposite where the boat was parked.  

In the 3 hours we’d been out wandering around the pavements had filled dramatically and there were crowds of people forming. The seats had started to fill up and we admired their dedication, the parade was 4 hours away! 

Just on the harbour is smooth concrete viewing platform area, that is substantial in size and we went down on it to gat a photo of the boat. It looks quite big, probably because it is bleeding massive. We could see the crew hosing off the windows and scrubbing them clean, when we got off I thought it was raining but it was just the spray from the hoses. Luckily for me, there was a substantial metal railing around the harbour. I say lucky, because Mildred decided to roll forward for no apparent reason (other than she’s hasn’t got her land legs back yet) and crash into the railing. Poor old Bob nearly went for a swim, my lightning reflexes managed to stop him taking the dive. 

Having just sat a while in the sunshine (with the brakes on) we discovered we had pretty much exhausted most things within walking distance. We decided that we’d go back to the boat and relax, enjoying the peace and quiet whilst the other passengers were off on trips. What an excellent plan that turned out to be. It was bloody lush, no one walking past, no screeching Chinese people, the boat sounded distinctly less like a cattle market and best of all was safely tied up. Pretty much a perfect couple of hours in my opinion. Just before the boat was due to set off the clouds came in and the temperature dropped a lot so we returned inside to have a cup of tea. I may have had pizza as well, and considering I’m not the biggest fan of pizza I have to say it was blimin good!! Just a plain old cheese and tomato one on thin base. It would have been perfection had it had sweetcorn banana and pineapple on it but they didn’t offer extra toppings

Chest is really tight and I’m whipping through my inhaler at the moment, add to that shivers and burning up it’s safe to say there’s another bleeding cold on the way. It’s people isn’t it? Bad for your health!  That being the case Si took me back to the cabin so I could go to bed, I also had no desire to be barking like a dog in the dining room and watch people giving me a wide berth! He went back downstairs because there was a few things on he was interested in and came back up a little while later. 

It was fantastic being off the boat, rumbling around on solid ground in the sunshine. Now we have another night and day of sailing till we get to A Coruña. I was thrilled when the captain announced that the weather was going to be windy so the boat is going to be rocking even more than it has been. Joy.

Much love

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