The bags needed checking in before a wonderful breakfast
Then we boarded our Monarch Airlines Airbus 321 with Captain Smith as our pilot. Departure procedures completed and we were off on a 1,350 trip to Funchal . It is an incredible view from the cockpit. Strong Headwinds lengthen the journey, but we touchdown at 12.55 after a very smooth flight. Thank you to all of Monarch Airlines staff.
We were then transported to our hotel in Funchal – Hotel Alto Lido – and discovered we had a great view from the balcony.
Now for some proper sightseeing in a cable car.
What a view of Funchal as we came down from Monte
At the bottom it was time to find some more interesting information about this lovely country. They speak Portuguese and the word for Thank You is Obrigada if you are a female or Obrigado if you are a man.
When they had finished dancing, three ladies kindly posed with me for this photo and explained that their dresses are all different. The design depends on the village they come from and the person who had embroidered the patterns.
Lots of history and facts can be found in the The Story Centre
A famous native Madeiran is the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
My next form of transport was on an open topped sightseeing bus to the west of the Island . Now I know why map reading is so important to Cubs. I could follow the route and see where we had got to. The bus was very smooth, but some of the hairpin bends the driver had to use were very tight.
We booked a coach trip to Porto Moniz in the North of the island which has some beautiful Lava pools. The day was quite bright and sunny, but there was a strong gusty wind coming off the Atlantic Ocean so we needed coats.
Lava is the out pouring from Volcanic eruptions many thousand of years ago which has hardened and produced wonderful rocks and pools. As you can see the rock is very different to what we see in England
Now for a more traditional type of Madeiran transport a toboggan, so it was a normal bus up to the village of Monte which has a beautiful Church
Here was the start of the famous Toboggan run of Monte
This is over 100 years old so it is older than Cub Scouting
Two kms in a wicker basket guided by two men with a piece of rope each and some shoes with rubber on the soles to act as brakes. Were we mad? NO IT WAS Brilliant.
I am just glad I did not have to take the sled back to the top ready for the next riders.
Do not miss an opportunity to have a go if you ever visit Madeira
On our journey around the island we saw many Statues including the famous Sissi at The Casino. She was Elizabeth the Empress of Austria. I think she was the prettiest one in her lovely dress.
I was on my holidays so I was really surprised when I walked up a side street in Funchal looking for a nice place for my lunch and found another Statue. It had a plaque on the stand in Portuguese which I could not read, but I do not think any Scout could fail to recognise this man.
The translation of the plaque is:-
1857 – 1941
World Chief Scout
Homage of the Associations
of the Ideal of the Scouting
Autonomous Region of Madeira.
Promoted by the National Body of Scouts
at the 70th Anniversary of its Foundation.
22 February 1998
These beautiful Orchids were very high up and so I climbed up some flower pots to have a better look and then I could see all the wonderful different varieties being grown in Madeira.
All to soon it was time to finish this holiday and prepare to depart to Malaysia to see Marcus and Kamui in their Caterham F1 Team cars.