Funchal Madeira

Madeira 

Is an island … The top of a mountain, volcano.  Autonomous region of Portugal.  Part of an archipelago.  Part of the European Union.  Euro is worth 1.10 usd.  Almost par.
Madeira means wood or forest.  Used to be covered in forest of wood.  600 miles to Portugal from there.  300 miles from coast of Africa.  300 square miles.  93 miles of coastline.  Noted for Madeira wine, flowers an embroidery artisans.  Funchal is where we are landing, means fennel … Naturally growing there.  Famous large New Years even fireworks.
Sugar cane grown there in mid 1400 with Sicilian advisors.  Before that a large fire that burned seven years and killed lots of forest.  Coffee cocoa and tea, which were bitter … Had to add sugar!  Labour demanding product.  Institution of slavery.  
Unique irrigation system.  Rainfall stored in network of levadas.  Natural channels also, slaves built them as well. 1335  miles of canals.
Settlers from Portugal sent from Madeira to Brazil to colonize … Set up for sugar. A hundred years after Brazil, then sugar in Barbados.  
Funchal called little Lisbon, cobblestone streets.  150,000 population.  Popular year round resort, visits from UK, Scandinavia and Portugal.
Year round subtropical climate.  Botanical garden, groomed shrubs and bushes is extraordinary.  Delightful walking in the garden.  Tourism is 20% of growth national product.  Beautiful waterfront.  Most important product became wine after Brazil became so important with sugar exports.
Lace is made and sold from Madeira.  Blue tile mosaic can be seen.  Wine is the main business.  Jacaranda trees in downtown Funchal lining streets.  Walk around after shuttle to town.  Main market .mercado… Three floors, open courtyard, full of color.
Heavy rains on top of mountain can cause landslides and flash floods.  Rock falls, poor drainage.  Town flooded in Feb 2010… All has been repaired now.  
Wine, vistas for viewing and perhaps more wine are what I will enjoy in a few days when we land on Madeira.  Stay tuned.
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One comment on “Funchal Madeira

  1. gailgrant49 says:

    Sounds like a great place to visit.

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