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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Christmas in Madeira

As some of you will know, Jayne and I spent Christmas on the island of Madeira. I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about it, and share a few pictures I took.

For those who don't know, Madeira is in the north Atlantic, about 360 miles from the coast of North Africa. The island is an autonomous region of Portugal. It's become very popular with holidaymakers due to its pleasant all-year-round climate and verdant landscape, though there are no beaches to speak of.

We stayed in the island capital, Funchal, at the Hotel Porto Mare. The hotel was great, and if anyone is considering going there, I strongly recommend spending a few extra pounds (or euro/dollars) for a 'superior room'. That's what we did, and we ended up in a suite bigger than the ground floor of our home, complete with His and Hers bathrooms. We felt like rock stars!

Although we had a good time, the weather wasn't that wonderful. It started raining on the second day, and continued almost without interruption till we left. Still, at least it was warmer than Britain, which was shivering with sub-zero temperatures. Here's Jayne walking along the promenade during one of the rare sunny intervals...

Here's a view of Funchal from a viewpoint high above the city. Note the red hot pokers in the foreground.

Father Christmas paid a visit on Christmas morning. Here he is handing out gifts to the children at breakfast.

This is one of the many chestnut sellers along the seafront in Funchal. All the steam comes from the cooking. It started raining again soon after this!

The hotel had some beautiful gardens. Here's a lovely Hibiscus flower...

And here's a view through the gardens to the back of the hotel itself.

Finally, the hotel put on some great entertainment in the evenings. We went every night, and enjoyed a magic show as well as traditional and modern music and dance. The video below shows a number performed by one of our favourites, a group called Sweet Dancers. As ever, you will need to visit my blog to see the video.

Incidentally, I hope Sweet Dancers don't mind me posting this video here for others to enjoy. Of course, if I receive any objections, I'll take it straight down.

You can see more photos I took if you like by visiting my Picasa photo album.

Jayne and I enjoyed our visit to Madeira and would like to go again, but we hope that next time the weather will be a bit better!

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Blogger BlogSloth said...

No beaches? Dern. And where was the tequila?

6:21 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I believe Madeira has one beach hidden away somewhere, although we didn't see it. Still, if you go to Madeira at Christmas, even with its usual good weather, you're unlikely to want to lie out on a sunbed!

I'm sure tequila is available if you ask. We preferred to stick to the local poison, which is Madeira wine and a very nice lager-style beer called Coral.

9:12 AM  

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