Today we are making our first port of call on the South America cruise, to Funchal the main port and capital of the Island of Madeira. If I was to do a count up of all the ports I have visited on cruises, and how frequently I have visited them (something I must do one day), I am sure Funchal would top the list for most visited. This is no bad thing as Funchal and the rest of Madeira are lovely places, and I find them much more green and attractive than most of the Canaries for example. Funchal is also a very clean and safe place to walk around and explore.
My original plan was to take to a cable car or two up into the hills overlooking Funchal, and visit both the Oriental and the Botanical Gardens there. I had been to the Oriental Gardens on a previous cruise, and knew how lovely they looked in bright sunshine. However looking at the low cloud rolling in over the hills, I decided that as I am back in Funchal for a couple of days on my next cruise in April, it was better to postpone that plan until then and hope for brighter weather.
(If you look carefully at this picture, you can see the pillars for the first cable car running up the hillside in front of the viaduct.)
Instead I elected to just wonder around the town with my camera to see what I could find of interest.
In the gardens, despite it being January, there were still attractive flowers and plants:
On the waterfront there was the old and the new – well the new paintwork to Balmoral which I am slowly getting used to:
For once I was able to see inside the cathedral, which looks much more impressive than the rather plain outside:
I was also able to explore inside the parish church:
The other thing I was able to do this time was to see and photograph many of the painted doors in the old quarter of town. The designs on the doors vary a lot, and some are quite quirky. Here are some of the ones that caught my eye:
So in conclusion, although the weather put pay to my original plan, it did mean that I was able to both see and photograph some interesting places and things that had eluded me on previous visits. I hope it is a sign that good fortune is with me on this cruise!
Around 6pm we set sail for our next port, Tenerife: