We arrived in Madeira this morning, had breakfast, and went ashore around 10 AM. We had booked a bus tour for the first 3.5 hours and got to see quite a bit of the island, getting out in a few locations to look around and take photos. At the end of the bus tour, we stopped for a little wine tasting, then Mom went back to the ship on the bus while the rest of us wandered around town for a few more hours.
Coming into port
Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capitol of Portugal's autonomous region of Madeira.
Looking down from one of the steep hills the bus took us up. The roads are narrow and winding. I'm pretty happy we didn't try to drive them ourselves.
Mom's friend Barbara and Rich's sister Vesta
I wouldn't want to fall off!
Madeira is known for it's beautiful flowers and they were everywhere! I have more photos for another day, but here's one rather unusual looking bloom.
I loved the colorful houses and roofs.
I'm sure it was partly because a cruise ship was in town, but we saw many individuals in traditional dress, selling wares, performing songs and dances, and posing for photos.
Yellow bike, yellow flowers
Funchal has a population of 111,892 people and has been the capitol city for over five centuries. The name is from the Portugese for "fennel" and means "a plantation of fennel," after the first settlers noticed an abundance of wild fennel. We did not see fennel, but were surprised to see lots of bananas growing everywhere on the hillsides.
Madeira wine is produced in a variety of styles ranging from dry wines which can be consumed on their own as an aperitif to sweet wines more often used with desserts. I can't say I am too crazy about the taste but I don't think we were given "the good stuff" to try. :)
Mom at the wine store where we had a sample. More tomorrow!