If a sailor on a long distance trip is missing something, it is the plants and flowers that simply do not exist at sea. We have a basil bush on board, which we nurture and care for. Meanwhile it has become a remarkable shrub, which we bought as a small plant back in Italy, but of course it cannot replace a flowering landscape. All the more reason to be happy when an island has such a diverse and exotic flora as Madeira.
Fog is coming up and where a few seconds ago the rock face was visible, you can't see your hand in front of your eyes anymore. The Pico Ruivo is with 1875m the highest mountain on Madeira. From Pico do Arieiro it is about six kilometers. Six kilometers that are extremely hard. At first, the path from the peak of Arieiro leads steeply downhill to below 1500m, then follows a relatively flat passage until you have to climb steeply up to Ruivo again. All around, there are steep slopes, just like in the Andes. The vegetation is gigantic. Here almost everything grows and blooms.
|Hiking in the mountain Ruivo, Madeira|
Blue, red, yellow and especially the intense green is fascinating. Partridges, which are obviously used to hikers, run along the edge of the path. I stand in the first tunnel and try to activate the cell phone lamp, which I do not succeed in immediately as I am in my late fifties. If I don't use an app on my cell phone once a week, I always find it a bit difficult to use and especially to find it. But without light, nothing works in the tunnel, you can't see where you're stepping or how deep the ceiling is coming down. In the flat passage there are three more of these tunnels. Just before the summit there is a mountain hut where you can even get a coffee. Arrived at the top, all efforts were worth it. You will be rewarded with an amazing view.
On the way back I stand at the ascent of the Arieiro and see the rock face along which the path leads disappearing in the fog. This can be an advantage for those who are not quite free from giddiness, as you can't see how far down it goes. But joking aside, if you are not free from giddiness, you should not make the tour, the path is too narrow and the ascents and descents too steep. The trail is well secured and I struggle along the wire rope because of the lack of visibility. Well, I admit that this is a little bit connected to the decreasing forces that make an upright walk more and more difficult. After 6 hours, 12 kilometers and about 800 meters of altitude difference my sea legs are happy to be back at the starting point. It was great!
|Partridge at Arieiro, Madeira|
Unfortunately I cannot hide the fact that the sore muscles were even nasty during the next days. But Gaby can't be considerate of such small things, after all there is still a lot to explore on the island. Funchal, the capital of the island has a lot to offer. We visit it on several days. Today we visited the port, the Columbus monument and the market. We are glad to have called at the Marina Quinta do Lorde. Although there is nothing going on here at all, even at night the abandoned hotel village is a bit scary, but the infrastructure is much better and there is much more space. The port of Funchal is narrow and very crowded. The toilets and showers are old. In the southwest of the island there is another marina which was almost empty at the time we visited it. The Marina da Calheta also has a modern infrastructure and is then also the cheapest of the three. The Columbus Monument is above the marina in Santa Catarina Park. At least it should be there. Due to vandalism the statue was damaged and finally removed, at the moment only the pedestal is left.
|Substitute Columbus Funchal, Madeira|
|Market hall Funchal, Madeira|
|Northwest coast near Ribeira da Janela, Madeira|
|Basket sleigh ride Funchal, Madeira|
|Weather forecast from 22.11.2020|