Portugal

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A final view of Funchal and Madeira, from a rainy walk around town on my last afternoon there.

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The internal entrance above is inside the building you’ll see in the final photo of this post from Porto, which features a remarkable array of art by Joan Miro. Below left, an outside entrance from another part of Porto (which reminded me of this entrance from Prague, the city which inspired this particular series), and one from Madeira as well.

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I’d forgotten these lovely camellias from a garden in Porto, and thought we were done with our small wonders for the current cycle…then I did one last check on the “Porto” folder and was reminded of this rainy walk with lovely blooms last month. If one looks, one can usually find beauty just about anywhere. Readers – especially you, Jean – are encouraged to correct me or confirm that indeed these are camellias :-). (It’s early in the morning here, and I’m scrambling for these posts before I bike off to work in the rain…)

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City Views.166

More of Monte, and of the more-urban parts of Funchal as seen from high up in Monte or from the cable cars on the way back down to the more-urban parts of Funchal. Also, the two lovely churches of Funchal, one much more famous than the other, for a very strange reason. I learned when I visited Vienna in October that the very last person to hold the title of Habsburg Emperor ended his life in exile on Madeira, because when Austria decided after experiencing WWI that it wanted to be a Republic, he refused to give up his title and become Joe Citizen instead. So he went into exile on Madeira, ended his life up here in Monte and is buried in the main church. It’s his image on those banners because it was the centenary of his burial and some folks find this a big deal. Or at least a way to attract more tourists. 😊 If you’re looking closely, you’ll also see people in metal-railed sleds that tourists use to slide down the steep streets, guided by two guys in those white caps and suits whom you see walking back up to the starting point, from the parking lot where the employee bus drops them (and possibly the paying tourists also – I didn’t do this ride since it felt silly, single) after each ride down.


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The countryside around Ribeiro Frio, in that intimidatingly steep and beautiful center of Madeiro. The cold river (I think that’s more or less what the name means?) is that white band you see down below; and the town (and stream) are famous for their trout. Yes, the fish, trout. In the tropics. Yes. As is Curral das Freires for its chestnuts. Roasted chestnuts were more omnipresent on the streets of Madeira last year than any place I’ve been with the possible exception of NYC in the winter in the 1970s. And trout more spoken about in Ribeiro Frio than any place I’ve been in an equally long time. This little tropical island was full of surprises, what can I say?

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I think many of us first heard the name Madeira applied to a dessert wine; indeed, more than one person to whom I said I planned a holiday on the island of Madeira said “you mean it’s more than just a wine?”  Grape vines from which come the local vintages are squeezed onto slopes all around the island, including in this stunning steep cliffside of vineyards, waterfalls, coastal views and a lovely perspective on the village of Seixal. That’s a town you’ve seen in a previous post – in fact, if you check that post, you’ll see these cliffs as seen from the seawall which juts like a finger out into the ocean in the image above. And yes, there were posters all over the island for local elections when we were there. And yes, lots of the roads on Madeira are this curvy and vertiginous :-).


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The lovely south-coast town of Ribeira Bravo, wedged between the ocean & steep cliffs on all sides, on a rainy December morning.

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Sunset view looking west toward the village of Caniçal, driving back from our lovely end-of-day visit to Ponta de São Lourenço, which you’ve seen before :-).

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City Views.165

In the left-hand photo below, you’ll see stalls from Funchal’s little Christmas market, something I noticed in pretty much every town and village we passed through.

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Sunrise four weeks ago from my little apartment in Funchal, and various images of the city from my walks that Friday. Today marks 350 days with at least one post per day, which of course means, dear readers, that you & I get a break after another two weeks, always assuming I manage to keep this up for those two remaining weeks. I’m trying to NOT take photos each time I see something pretty so as to reduce photo backlog and thus sense of obligation to continue eternally. Given the multiple weeks of rainy grey weather we’ve had here in A’dam, that’s easier at this time of year than it was during our lovely, sunny summer.