It was a perfect day in Funchal on the island of Madeira. I started my day near the centre of town where there is a collection of buses and a cable car that takes you up to the town of Monte. I decided to make that my first stop. The ride in the cable car provides a great view of Funchal and ends at one of the many formal gardens that are so much a part of this island.
A short walk on a cobble street brought me to one of the most important churches. There is a special festival celebrated on August 8th for Mary that occurs at this church.
This church is a very simple church that contains the tomb of the last Hapsburg Emperor. The views from this outside this church are also spectacular.
Next to the church was a wonderful garden that reminded me of a very special garden of a very special place in Sonoma, California. While I was wondering through the garden, I came upon a pond with two swans — and I got some amazing pictures of these beautiful birds.
Also near the church was one of the strangest ways I’ve found to travel down a hill — a toboggan that goes on pavement! It is a wicker basket that holds two people and there are two men that get it started then steer it down the hill. The ride takes about 20 minutes — and it a bit scary as you are steered through the streets.
Once back in Funchal, I got on a bus and took a tour of the city and headed to a little fishing community. We passed by groves of bananas, gardens (one dedicated to Santa Caterina), and churches. Everywhere was green and lush.
Once back in the city central, I headed to the main market where you can find fresh food, fish and flowers sold by women in traditional outfits. You can also find crocheted handicrafts.