SevenAir Aero VIP, Flight between Funchal, Madeira and Porto Santo

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The Island of Porto Santo is 71.4 km from Funchal, Madeira. We spent a week at the excellent Vidamar Hotel in Madeira and decided to extend our holiday with four days at the Pestana Columbos on Porto Santo.

There are two routes from Funchal, Madeira to Porto Santo; an almost daily Porto Santo Line ferry which leaves at either 08:00 or 19:00, takes 2 hours 15 minutes and costs 58 EUR return or a 10 minute flight, with convenient departure times for which we paid 83 EUR return. The ferry appears to be ridiculously overpriced.

We took the 13.00 flight out and 08.00 back – only early as we had to catch another flight from Funchal to London. The small Dornier twin-turboprop aircraft has only 19 passenger seats – our outbound flight had just five passengers.

We checked in a bag but also had carry on luggage. We had to leave this at the aircraft steps and it was put into the on-board hold.

The Captain came out to visit us from the cockpit and asked that we watch the safety video.

The flight to Porto Santo took about 10 minutes. Our carry on bags were returned to us. Ours was the only aircraft on the runway.

And our checked luggage was the only bag on the conveyor.

The bag arrived within five minutes, which isn’t surprising as the aircraft was only a short walk from the empty terminal – we could have taken it ourselves.

Outside, there weren’t any taxis, just a number to call – a taxi arrived within five minutes of the call and took us to the Pestana Porto Santo Columbos (12 EUR) for our four-night stay.

The return flight was busier and this time our seats were just behind the pilot. I took a video of him during take-off.

It took some time before bags arrived at Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport, Funchal. While waiting I took these pictures that advertised the duty free shops – questionably one of the top three things in Madeira!

I’d highly recommend the flight if you intend to visit Porto Santo.

https://www.sevenair.com/

Levada dos Tornos, Camacha, Madeira

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There are a number of levada walks that you can take from Camacha. The Levada dos Tornos is interesting as there is a 100m tunnel halfway through – you can also complete the walk with a visit to the Jasmine Tea House. The distance from Camacha to the Tea House is exactly 7km.

There is a semi-regular bus service 129 from Funchal to Camacha – buses can run as frequently as every half an hour, but are mostly once an hour. You get off the bus at the Camacha shopping centre – the drivers are usually helpful enough to let you know if you ask them.

You then walk back along a road, down some steps and you are on the lavada. It’s actually pretty difficult to find without a map – we used this map, purchased from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1782750460/

The lavada path runs alongside houses and farms.

The path is easily negotiable, although you’ll need a torch and ideally waterproof boots, to make it through the tunnel. The waterproof boots are handy as the tunnel path has large puddles – I had to balance on the edge, with water running through the lavada behind me, to avoid filling my trainers with water. The tunnel ceiling is also quite low in places, so you’ll need to stoop as you walk through.

7km later and you arrive at a sign for the Tea House.

There are a series of step steps down the Tea House where you are welcomed by the owner’s friendly dog. The Tea House has hot snacks, wine, beer, tea and scones. The owner has a touch of Basil Fawlty about him, but it’s a friendly place.

You can take a bus back to Funchal from nearby the Tea House – the owner has a timetable to hand. However, don’t believe the him when he tells you the stop is only five minutes away. Plan for at least 15 minutes to walk out of the Tea House drive, turn left all the way down a steep hill, then right to the bus stop. We easily missed the bus and flagged down a passing taxi (16 EUR back to Funchal).

Some more pictures of the lavada:

Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Madeira

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The Monte Palace Tropical Garden occupies an area of 70.000 square meters and houses an huge exotic plant’s collection, coming from all over the world. It’s an amazing garden that strangely isn’t promoted by the cable car that rises from Funchal to Monte – instead they promote the far inferior Botanical Garden, which is reached by changing gondolas at Monte for a further cable car ride. When you purchase a ticket (16 EUR Return or 11 EUR one way) for the cable car in Funchal, don’t bother to add the optional Botanical Garden.

It’s a short walk from the Monte cable car station to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. The first entrance doesn’t take credit cards, the second (by the café) does accept cards. Entrance is 12.50 EUR.

The garden is laid out over a series of descending plateaux, each beautifully landscaped and a botanical wonder.

The garden isn’t easily accessible for those with mobility issues, although there is a small electric trolley that can take you down to the lake area and back again.

Climbing back from the lake area is pretty strenuous and it’s well worth taking a numbered wait ticket for the trolley back to the top (2.50 EUR).

The café (top entrance) is quant and serves tasty snacks, hot beverages and alcohol for reasonable prices.

If you haven’t experienced the Monte toboggan ride, it’s worth walking round and riding one down – although they don’t go all the way to Funchal and you’ll need to take a bus or taxi the rest of the way.

Opening Hours
Everyday except the 25th of December.
Garden Visiting Hours : 09.30 – 18.00
Museum Visiting Hours : 10.00 – 16.30

Adults 12,50 Euros
Children younger than 15 years old: Free Entrance as long as they are accompanied by adults.

http://www.montepalace.com

More pictures below:

Garajau Christ King Statue, Madeira

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The Garajau Christ King Statue is located in the Cristo Rei Viewpoint where you can see across the ocean and look down to Garajau Beach. You can also take a cable car down to the beach.

The statue looks very similar to the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (designed by French sculptor Paul Landowskiis) but this version is by another French sculptor Georges Serraz.

This statue was funded and built by advisor Aires Ornelas, a member of the Reed family, and was inaugurated on 30 October 1927 – four years before Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.

The monument is 15 metres (49 ft) tall with its pedestal. The Brazil version is 30 metres (98 ft) and 38 metres (125 ft) tall with its pedestal.

Strangely, there isn’t much publicity about the statue, the beach nor the cable car in Madeira – I’m not even sure that any tours stop there. But it’s well worth a visit.

There was plenty of parking available and it was just a short walk to the statue. There were only a few people around, despite being the middle of day in May. There is a path that leads down to a small outcrop – the path was blocked by a thin piece of tape, but most visitors just stepped over this.

The views back from the path are good.

Back at the statue, there are great views to a winding road that leads to the beach.

View down to the beach.

View toward the capital Funchal.

Views of the cliffs and Ocean.

We took the cable car down to the beach (3 EUR) return.

 

The beach wasn’t especially interesting; big rocks and cold Sea as is typical of Madeira, a small restaurant – apparently it’s very popular with locals in warm weather. But it’s worth a visit, just for the cable car ride.

The cable car station at beach level isn’t manned, but there is a camera and the operator opens the doors to the gondola if he sees you waiting. If you don’t have a return ticket, you’ll need to pay 2 EUR for the one-way trip when you reach the top – not sure of you’re sent back down again if you refuse to pay!

Garajau Christ King Statue
Ponta do Garajau ,
Caniço
Madeira

https://madeira.best/product/garajau-christ-king-statue/

British Cemetery, Funchal, Madeira

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In 1761 Mr William Nash, the first Consul-General of Madeira, asked the Portuguese Government if he might buy land for use as a burial ground for British residents. Prior to this time Protestants were not allowed to be buried in local cemeteries and were consigned to the deep off the coast near Garajau. An Order in Council from Lisbon dated 3 January 1761 gave approval for a cemetery in Funchal provided that it was located at the outskirts of the town; so Mr Nash bought a piece of land just outside the city wall, an area of ground centred on an old orange tree and known locally as A larangeira. The first grave dated from 1772 and was that of Mrs Shipcote, the wife of a taverner. Her great nephew, writing in 1841, recalls being present at her burial underneath the orange tree, with the tomb of Judge Miles, the second to be buried, lying alongside.

The cemetery is located up a hill about 10 minutes walk from the centre of Funchal. The main gates are closed – a note asks that you continue to a nearby door.

When you find the door you need to pull, not press, the bell.

The doors opens, seemingly automatically, but then you realise that it is attached to a string and elaborate pulley arrangement.

A narrow passage leads to the garden and small church.

There are two graveyards with graves of the following:

  • Paul Langerhans, discovered Islets of Langerhans
  • Captain Cecil Buckley, the first to be gazetted with the Victoria Cross, in 1875
  • George Oruigbiji Pepple, ruled the Kingdom of Bonny
  • William Reid, founder of the Reid’s Palace Hotel

By far the most interesting grave is that of Sara Forbes Bonetta (1843 – 15 August 1880) a West African Egbado princess of the Yoruba people who was orphaned in intertribal warfare, sold into slavery and, in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria.

Only a small hand-written sign and wooden tribal mask identify the grave.

The British Cemetery is well-worth a visit. There is no admission charge but there is a donation box.

The British Cemetery
Rua da Carreira, 9000-025 Funchal, Portugal

Open weekdays 10am to 4pm.

http://www.holytrinitychurchmadeira.com/history/the-cemetery

Café Relogio Restaurant, Camacha, Madeira

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Camacha is a small village a few kilometres east of Funchal. Most visitors take the bus or drive from Funchal to follow one of the several lavada paths. Camacha is also known as ‘the village of basket makers’ as it represents the centre of Madeira’s willow craft industry.

We parked in the centre of the village, were then hassled by an aggressive beggar, who was then sent on his way. The only restaurant was Café Relogio – a large building with a large basket shop, downstairs café (beer and toasted sandwiches) and upstairs restaurant.

The restaurant has seen better days; some windows cracked, a few flies buzzing about, paint aging, toilets with no hand towels, dryers not working and one elderly waiter. Perhaps we should have left before thinking about ordering food!

The views were good.

I’d had a large breakfast and ordered just the hamburger (4.50 EUR), my companion ordered the grilled prawns (18.50 EUR), which seemed a brave decision. We also ordered the traditional garlic bread (1.5 EUR).

The first thing to arrive was the hamburger – I had to dissect it to find the coin-sized, flat patty within.

It was the sort of burger that you are tempted to skip for fear of food poisoning – but I did eat it.

The prawns and bread arrived – the prawns came with a large side of vegetables and salad.

The prawns were, I’m told, surprisingly good. I didn’t have any so we would know which dish had caused stomach issues later on. We were both fine.

The bread was inedible.

I’d avoid this place unless you find yourselves really hungry and stuck in Camacha.

Café Relógio
Largo Conselheiro Aires de Ornelas  12
9135-053 Camacha,
Madeira – Portugal

00 351  291 922 777
00 351  291 922 114

caferelogio@caferelogio.com

http://www.caferelogio.com/restaurant.html

Restaurant Quebra Mar, São Vicente, Madeira

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São Vicente is a small sleepy village along the north-west coast of the island of Madeira.

There are some interesting cliff formations and a few restaurants – the largest by far is Quebra Mar. It’s also the only place with parking.

When we arrived, the downstairs area was full of people who were part of a coach tour. Upstairs was a more expensive revolving restaurant. Both have a view to the Sea, although the revolving restaurant should allow for you to experience various views throughout your meal.

We arrived to the revolving restaurant and could see that the floor was rotating, very slowly, anti-clockwise. Only three tables were occupied. We asked for a table by the left window – the idea being that we would have a continuous view. Strangely, the waiter insisted that we sit on the right. We tried to explain that the result would soon be a view to the stairs and kitchen, but he couldn’t understand, despite our elaborate miming. We decided to leave and try downstairs.

Downstairs was now empty and so we took a table by the window.

We ordered the Madeirian classics; garlic bread and scabbard fish with banana. It was just about okay, but nowhere near as good as the Raiz Quadrada Café in Funchal. Total, including a bottle of water was 21.40 EUR – so not expensive and certainly less than the place upstairs.

I’m amazed that so much money was invested in this place. There’s really no need for a revolving restaurant, especially when the waiter doesn’t realise where diners should be seated.

I wouldn’t make a special trip here, but if you do find yourself in São Vicente, eat downstairs and don’t expect too much.

Restaurant Quebra Mar
SÍTIO DO CALHAU, 9240 – 018 SÃO VICENTE
MADEIRA

TEL: (+351) 291 842 338

MON: 9H – 18H
TUE – SUN: 9H – 22H

http://restaurantequebramar.com/en

Raiz Quadrada Café, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

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The centre of Funchal is a relaxed place. Houses and shops paint, or have an artist paint, their doors and you can read about that here.

The classic Madeira dishes are garlic bread and scabbard fish with banana. Prices vary but we found a great café, called Raiz Quadrada, that offered these classic dishes at almost half the price of many other places. The fish dish was only 8 EUR.

We sat outside.

But you can also sit upstairs inside where one of the tables looks out to the street.

The upstairs interior is cosy, with various bric-a-brac lining the walls.

The garlic bread and scabbard fish were excellent.

Our waitress, who looked a little bit like Wednesday Addams, was really friendly.

I’d definitely recommend a visit if you find yourself wandering the streets of Funchal. We only visited at lunchtime, but I can imagine the place has a cool vibe in the evenings.

Raiz Quadrada Café
Largo das Torneiras n. 6
9050-033 Funchal, Madeira

https://www.facebook.com/raizquadradacafe/

+351 291 224 213

07:30 – 02:00

Door Art (Painted Doors Project), Funchal, Maderia

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The historical centre of Funchal (Zona Velha – Old Town) encourages a Painted Doors Project that transforms the area into a permanent art gallery.
Houses and shops paint, or have an artist paint, their doors. You can read more about it in the link below – or just scroll through my pictures of the doors here.

http://www.arteportasabertas.com/

Giardino Restaurant, Prague, Czech Republic

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I visited this location many years ago when I seem to remember it was a French restaurant. I can’t remember how long it’s been an Italian restaurant, despite walking past a few times each week and even sitting across the road eating at Pho.

The one thing I did remember was that there was a large garden at the rear. Our regular hot weather pasta choice has been Pizzeria Grosseto at nearby Náměstí Míru, but it’s quite noisy there and the prices have risen.

Sunday 29th April 2018 was a lovely warm day and so we decided to try the garden at Giardino. The garden is boarded and there’s even a small wooden house at the rear for rainy weather.

We asked for a jug of water and two glasses of Montepulciano (70 Kč for 0.15dl although our glasses looked more like 0.2dl). Sadly the jug of water didn’t appear and we were given a bottle of water (99Kč) – I think this was just miscommunication and I’m going to push for tap water on our next visit.

Some delicious bread and dips arrived – I later found that this was charged at 25 Kč which is a bit cheeky as we didn’t ask for it. However, I would have been happy to pay 25 Kč for it.

We asked for one ‘Selection of italian and balkan cold cuts and cheeses decorated
with strawberries, olives, capers and rocket’ to share (250 Kč) and really enjoyed that.

We both chose Ravioli with asparagus in a saffron sauce (210 Kč each). It was excellent.

I think we’ve found a regular restaurant for the Summer. Hopefully they’ll provide free tap water next time we visit.

Giardino Restaurant
Záhřebská 24
Praha 2
120 00

http://www.restgiardino.cz/

Open every day: 11:00 do 23:00

Email: info@restgiardino.cz

+420 222 513 427
+420 774 455 243
+420 775 600 575