Home » eat/drink/sleep/shop, featured, Madeira, My trip, popular posts

Testing the waters in Madeira

Written by 13 March 2012 3 Comments

I can feel the tender warmth of the sun on my back, from very far I hear the waves bashing against the rocky coast. My lips are still salty from swimming this morning. Lazily, without moving a bone, I open my eyes to discover, that I am not the only sluggish being around. Only a few centimetres away is a gecko – sunbathing. Motionless, like myself, it is lingering on the deck, taking in every beam of sun, refuelling its energies.
Assured by this little creatures, I close my eyes again and keep on doing what I am doing … nothing!

madeira estalegem 5 Testing the waters in Madeira

Weeks of darkness, of cold and rain lie behind me. This is my first escape. I am out in the Atlantic, miles away from the European coast. Madeira is the place of my retreat. The Portuguese island is known for blossoming all year long. And it is true! Spring is still far away, but there are flowers everywhere.
The clouds get chased by the trade winds across the Atlantic, just to then get caught in the Madeiran mountains where they spill their wet content over the island. Combined with the sun, they let exotic flowers grow and give a tropical feeling to the island.

madeira estalegem 15 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 13 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 11 Testing the waters in Madeira

Luise and I are staying at the Estalagem Ponta do Sol. The Design Hotel was built on top of a cliff above the ocean, located in the South West of the island. An elevator takes us up the rock and into paradise.
Away from the touristy capitol Funchal it is perfect for what I am doing: quality relaxation combined with intense sun enjoyment….

madeira estalegem 14 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 16 Testing the waters in Madeiramadeira estalegem 10 Testing the waters in Madeira

Pictures of today are passing through my inner eye. I see Luise, both legs against the rock, hands tight on the rope, slowly making her way down a 15m long waterfall.
Myself, taking a deep breath before jumping into the cold river water, which comes straight from the snowy tops of the mountains.
We went canyoning today. As the queen of misunderstandings I thought we were talking about a canoeing trip, but no! Instead we waded through a river for about four hours. Following its course, with borders lined with wild green plants and fruits as exotic as pineapple-maracujá. Every once in a while we had to rope down a waterfall or jump down to the next level.
We didn’t meet a single person, it was just us – a team of adventurous girls and one brave guide.

madeira estalegem 21 copy Testing the waters in Madeira

Just thinking about canyoning makes my adrenalin rise or maybe it is the sun on my back making me sweat. Time to dip into the pool. Scared by my sudden activity the gecko scurries away.

The thought, that water has been the main element of our trip to Madeira, crosses my mind while I watch little waves purl away from my body.

On our walks over the island water leads the way. Madeira is nerved with the so-called levadas. The small canals are an irrigation system developed to distribute water – from the rainy and humid North, to the more dry and sunnier South. They are the perfect trail for an extensive walk.

madeira estalegem 7 Testing the waters in Madeiramadeira estalegem 2 Testing the waters in Madeira

Opening my eyes in the morning, my first glimpse is at the shiny blue sea right in front of my window. Before breakfast our yoga lesson takes place on top of the cliff, our gaze still fixed on to the ocean.
During the day we swim with dolphins, climb down waterfalls or walk above the clouds, watching billions of small and shiny drops, united as one, slowly drifting towards the mountains, getting caught in their fierce peaks before ultimately bursting into tears.

madeira estalegem 6 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 3 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 4 Testing the waters in Madeira

And here I am – in the water again. Before I get webs, I leave the refreshing wet and stroll back to my sun deck.
The sun is already changing from bright yellow to a warm pinkish orange. The gecko did not come back. Instead Luise settles down on the white canapé, ice cubes clanging inside the glasses she holds.
It is time for the sundowner! No need to move, we are already at the best spot on the entire island to watch the daily spectacle.

madeira estalegem 23 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 24 Testing the waters in Madeira

madeira estalegem 25 Testing the waters in Madeira

Text: Karolin Langfeldt
Fotos: Luise Müller-Hofstede

Estalagem da Ponta do Sol
www.designhotels.com/pontadosol

Canyoning + Climbing
www.harmonyinnature.pt

pixel Testing the waters in Madeira




Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  • Chrischa said:

    I LOVE MADEIRA!!! Canico de Baixo is also very nice, not too far from Funchal and the airport but still a lovely little place with a nice access to the sea. We´ve always been staying there: http://www.galoresort.com/ – they offer also Ayurveda and supernice wellness-things. You also shouldn´t miss Bar Number 2, they have the best poncha! (The original bar is a little nicer than the one in Funchal but both offer the same wonderful poncha maracuja). And and and…Thanks for your article and the nice photos, now I´m longing to go there again (even more)….

  • Karolin said:

    Hey Chrischa! Thanks for your kind words! Great to hear, that you like the article.
    Next time we’ll check out Bar Number 2 … and the wonderful ponche ;-)
    Good, but sooo strong!

  • Suzye said:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, lovely article and photos.
    I also visit Madeira every year but stay in Funchal, maybe should stay at Ponta do Sol next time.
    I’m originally from the island but left very young. love going back with UK friends and show them the real Madeiran culture instead of the same old touristy brochure places, there’s so much more to offer.
    One of my favourite places is Poiso and Pico do Arieiro, it’s a wonderful feeling being above the clouds. Sometimes could be shivering up there but knowing down in Funchal would be over 25 degrees.
    Growing up here was alot of fun, in the winter days, locals used to go to Poiso and build a snow man in the car bonnet and then race each other down to Funchal and see which snow man will melt last.
    Poncha and Nikita are also big social drinks. Love joining the locals in the local “vendas” where they all stand up in groups chatting loud, sometimes taking over the streets, but most of all in the summer street parties are such a site.
    Thanks again. Suzye

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.