Madeira – the island of eternal spring (part 2)

(First part can be found here).

Day 4, Rabaçal (25 springs)

The hike of this day was relatively short, but extremely beautiful.

This time we went a little bit deeper inside the island and of course this required extra time. The good thing was hovewer that all other tourists were already coming back, leaving us alone with the nature.

There are not so many hikers in Madeira (at least in February, when we were there). Most of them seem to be German-speaking people. Some French and Spanish speakers can be encountered as well.

For some reason, not all trails and levadas are popular amongst tourists. We have seen many of them only in Rabaçal and Caldeirão Verde (day 6).

About altitudes again. Can you see the levada there?

Rabaçal area is full of water. In any forms.

As you can see, the trail is not always easy :)

Finally we see the final point – a torquouse pond with 25 streams around.

Where to go next? There are plenty of hiking trails near Rabaçal, but we decided to leave them for the following day.

Day 5, Porto Moniz, Pico Ruivo do Paul, Bica da cana

Madeira is definitely not a good place for a beach vacation, at least during low season. Rock beaches near Funchal are looking not very friendly, the ocean is cold and waves are strong. But I read somewhere that there is a pond with oceanic water in Porto Moniz. This promised some protection from waves and slightly warmer water.

It was interesting to look at the northern part of the island as well. They say that weather there is more harsh. Indeed, it was a lot of fog there and even a short rain (the only one during our vacation in Madeira). Some building are gray in that area (instead of white) and the ocean looks a little bit different.

For a couple of euros one can access the magical natural swimming pool of Porto Moniz. I don’t understand how they make money during the winter. I guess I was the only visitor at that day, because when I entered the water people walking on the embankment started to take photos.

Why so much interest? Well, that’s easy, just look here:

A good lunch after good swimming! :) Local fish is very tasty. If I remember right, this one is Espada.

When food is not ready yet, a “layered cake” landscape is served :)

The roads around Porto Moniz are quiet. This is the only place on the island where I thought that it would be nice to cycle.

Sometimes we were under the clouds, sometimes in them, sometimes over them. Natural conditions are changing fast in Madeira :)

The hike to the Pico Ruivo do Paul is short, but the views from the top are awesome.

This is incredible! We are above the clouds. Wihout aircraft being involved.

Pico Ruivo do Paul is a good place for sunbathing, by the way :)

And in the afternoon another short hike around Bica da Cana.

There were many signs warning about some animals. Because it was late, we were alone and it was getting darker, the feeling was like in a primal forest. But at the end we saw them – the source of our worries. Little forest rabbits! :) Only later I read in Internet that there are no dangerous animals in Madeira at all.

Day 6, Caldeirão Verde

“One of the most spectacular levada walks on the island”, said our guidebook. Why? Because levada was cut in the rock, surrounded by jungle-like evergreen vegetation.

This levada has short, but still impressive tonnels.

As I said, we get used to heights quite soon and even for Elena such stretches were quite ok.

And in the end we were in the middle of drifting clouds!

Madeira is like our Earth in miniature. It’s a small island, but with many different landscapes and fast-changing weather. It was truly amazing to follow how clouds drift, how thousands of small streams make a river and so on.

Day 7, Boa Morte

Last day of vacation. Oh no! Let’s spend it in the best possible way.

Our decision was to walk along Levada do Norte, because it was rated as an easy hike and it’s located not far from Funchal. Frankly said, it’s turned out to be not the most beautiful place on Madeira. But it’s a good therapy for the last day, to see the other side of Portugal – people in their houses beside the high fences, stray dogs, garbage, poverty and decay in some places.

Well, not everething is so sad there, on the way to Boa Morte. There are places like this:

But there are also places like this:

There are even very beautiful places:

Here, as almost anywhere on Madeira, you can see The Bird of Paradise flower, the island’s symbol.

Stray cats look happier for some reason than stray dogs.

By the way, Boa Morte was the only place where we encountered a dried up levada. Sad thing… But let’s go on.

We got company for the rest of our walk. Even if we didn’t have any food for this lovely dog, it followed us and was highly dissapointed when we entered the bus and left it alone. It was not easy for us too.

One of the last glances to the Madeira south coast cliffs.

Fortunately the weather was bad on the day of our departure and many departures were delayed, otherwise we would have missed our flight :)

Madeira is a lovely place, I would definitely recommend it to everybody who prefers moderate warmth over melting in +30 °C. And I would like to visit Madeira again too. But the nearby Canary Islands look also very tempting. Maybe I should visit them first? :)

Leave a reply