Although this is part of Portugal we are still close to the African Coast. It is mountainous……the tops so high that the trees are still leafless. There are gardens with fountains beside the sea. Funchal is a huge sprawling white city with orange tile roofs, the homes packed into the valleys that rise up the slopes , with steep cobbled narrow streets. We had such a nice day that we got over the 50 minute wait to exchange dollars for euros and then forgave the taxi driver who ripped us off. We explored the old neighborhoods up to the fort, found a locals bar for some sweet Madeira wine, and a Portuguese toasted ham and cheese. We missed the painted doors, and didn’t have enough time to go to the fishing village, Camara de Lobos, on the coast west of the city, or explore the spectacular coastline. It took a long time to paint the picture of the Queen on the harbour wall in Madeira, then it was back for a well earned dinner of local fresh fish purchased from the waterfront. It was delicious. This is an island worth a revisit, our last day ashore was a really good one.
Here we are approaching home. We are back to woollies and long pants, and a vest and scarf. On deck there is no one in sight in the evening usually a popular time for a last stroll and the sunset. There are packed suitcases appearing in the corridors, and a general feeling of excitement and relief.
There is just enough energy left for one last morning class and THE SHOW. We’ll have a guest appearance from Lady Edna Quinn, who will hand out coveted QE ribbons and champagne, then we too can hang over the rail and watch shipping in the Channel, and the looming grey clouds threatening some genuine English weather.