Up there, above the clouds, it was sunny. But after passing through the clouds, drops of water were decorating the tiny airplane windows. Crap, I thought. Can’t believe it’s rainy. Switched my mobile data on. Oh, it seems like it’s going to be raining 70% of the time we’re spending on this island. Oh, great. My mood, already miserable, was now unbearable, even for me.
What I didn’t know at the time was that in Madeira, you get the four seasons in a single day, sometimes in a single hour. So, not even half hour later, I was exiting security checks to find sunshine brighten up the wet asphalt of the roads. It was warm and humid, and quickly I felt I was melting inside my thick jumper and tight jeans.
For me, it is a strange feeling to fly and still be in the same country. Portugal being so small, we never really fly from one place to the other. Unless, you’re visiting the islands. So in that first day I often referred to Portugal as that country I had come from, realising straight away I was still in it. Just not on the continent, but in Madeira, the so called pearl of the Atlantic.
That first day, the sun shone for only a few hours. The sky kept getting dark, a few drops of rain refreshing our bodies from time to time. We did little. Explored Funchal for a bit, and went to see the Cristo Rei in Garajau. That was the first time I’ve seen all the different kinds of blue the Atlantic can be.
The flora we found on that day was mostly made out of cacti. Huge ones, everywhere. Intimidating, with its thorns, almost shouting that only they could survive on those lands. But we all knew that isn’t true. Because since 1420, the year when the archipelago was discovered by the Portuguese, humans settled in the slopes of this volcanic island. Again, I am aghast in face of human will. The weather is humid and warm, great to grow food. But so hilly and mountainous, which is what makes is fascinating but also often dangerous.
And we also saw so many bananas. In the city centre, by the hotel, on the slopes of the hills. The typical banana of Madeira – smaller, but tastier. Or at least that’s what those who like bananas say. I don’t really care for it.
Luckily for me there is a lot more to eat in Madeira than bananas. Perhaps even too much. You are not to be disappointed with the quality of the food and its portions. Fish and red meat are the favourites but, if like me, you’re more of a veggie person, you won’t be disappointed. Their avocado salad with vinaigrette and pickled broad beans are incredible starters!
Stay tuned for more posts of Madeira 🙂