Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Steep and chill in Madeira

We spent the last two nights in a really quaint inn called the Quinta de Bom Despacho in Ponta Delgada.  It's an old mansion house that has been transformed into a sustainable and eco-focused inn/event space.  We didn't have a lot of time to really take advantage of all the facilities, but there was a really intriguing natural swimming pool (complete with many frogs), as well as chickens (and eggs!), organic gardens and all sorts of little corners around the grounds where you could read, relax or have a quiet moment.

It would be a fantastic place for someone who's staying a little bit longer, as there are communal kitchen facilities and lots of lounge spaces.

We woke up super early this morning (for us!), to fly to Funchal on the island of Madeira.  One cool fact about Madeira is that the whole island is so steep that the airport is built out over the ocean, because there wasn't really enough flat space anywhere on the island.



Our flight was uneventful, though the final approach to Funchal is pretty fun - the plane heads straight toward the city, and then turns toward the runway at the last second.  If you are looking for entertainment, you can google crosswind landings in Madeira and you'll find some pretty freaky footage.  Thankfully for us, the wind was pretty calm today.

After landing, we caught a taxi to our AirBnB, and I have to say that it is even better than the photos.  It's super clean, very well-equipped and super spacious - it could easily accommodate six people (and there are four bathrooms!).



The location is nice too - in a relatively quiet-ish residential area, about a 15 minute walk from downtown Funchal.  We haven't explored a ton yet, but plan to get going on that tomorrow.  And the view from the upstairs patio is gorgeous.  I've been taking advantage of it all day.



I am completely gobsmacked by how steep all the streets are in this city - from the moment we turned off the highway, our taxi was headed downhill at what felt like a 45 degree angle (I'm sure it's not really THAT steep....but still).

The street our house is on is so narrow that at regular intervals, only one car can pass, so we regularly hear car horns warning oncoming cars.  Brad is pretty happy we opted not to rent a car.  :)  We'll certainly get quite the workout walking around here though. More photos to come tomorrow!

We decided to take advantage of the kitchen and cooked ourselves an easy dinner of pasta and salad tonight, and I was very intrigued to discover these grown-up size drinking boxes of wine.



I sipped some this afternoon on the insanely picturesque patio.



This place is gorgeous!


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