Artwork around Camara De Lobos

We stumbled across a backstreet full of these fabulous array of street-art. Most of them were made up of cut up pieces of drinks cans.


Câmara de Lobos. Madeira – photos

We headed off for a short drive to Câmara de Lobos. It is a small bay famous for two things – its seals and Winston Churchill.

All the seals were murdered long ago.

After butchering the troops in Gallipoli Churchill went on to bigger things. He liked to paint to relax and this was a very picturesque village.

Funchal – Madeira – tiles and churches.

We’re still heading for Brazil. We stopped off at Funchal, Madeira. It is strange looking at the tiles depicting life as it was a couple of hundred years ago. It never changed for hundreds of years. In the past two hundred years the changes have been colossal. The scenes are unrecognisable.

We headed off in search of art, beauty, nature and wonder.

Portugal has this religious theme going. If you want to see art – visit the places where artists were employed – the churches.

The Amazon Trip – Funchal, Madeira – Photos

It’s a mad era! Fun shall be had by all in Funchal! You can have your cake and eat it! With sherry on the port!

Yes, here we are in Madeira, in the town of Funchal. Coats, scarves, gloves, jackets, jumpers and shirts are all packed away under the bed! Now is the time for shorts, sandals and T-shirts! We’re heading for Cape Verde and some heat!

Today was spent around Funchal. We climbed clock towers, visited churches and the town hall in the historic centre, drank coffee in a cafe, walked through the cobbled streets and appreciated the gentle warmth.

Those Catholics sure knew how to decorate. The lavish interiors of cathedrals, churches and monasteries, with their gold (two lots of guilt/gilt), fabulous art and artisanship, were magnificent. Decorated to impress and intimidate. The beauty was immense but a lot over the top. Liz said she’d seen more than enough opulent churches.

It’s easy to see where all the wealth went!

Having had our fill of art (and religion) we boarded a bus to take us along the coast to Camara de Lobos – the little fishing village where Winston Churchill stayed and painted. There were bright crimson flowers on the trees, cliffs of volcanic rock and a dark, sombre rocky little bay.

Here they used to hunt the Monk Seals – bring their carcasses back and lie them out on the beach in their hundreds. Those seals used to be present in hundreds of thousands. They were hunted to the brink of extinction. Only a small colony is hanging on, based on one of the islands. Wild-life once plentiful is now rare.

Back on board we sat in the sun and watched for whales and dolphins. We saw a lot of sea!

The Voyage Part 23 – Madeira – a tropical jewel of an island.


We had two days chugging through the sea a long way off the coast of Africa. There was a distinct feeling that I was leaving all the exotic stuff behind. We only had two stops ahead and they were both easily accessible from home and distinctly European. They did not have quite the same cache as Brazil or the Falklands. But I was determined to squeeze every last drop out of the experience.

I was making the most of the sun. It was cooler and had lost that tropical rawness but there were still plenty of UV rays to transform into Vitamin D. Sunlight is very bad for the skin but it does have a way of lifting the spirit. To get up, thrown on a T-shirt and shorts and step out into the warmth is a pleasant experience. In another week I would be disembarking into the winter chill of England. I was hoping for a miracle. Perhaps March would have an unprecedented tropical heatwave. It was a forlorn hope. I knew that we were more likely to be suffering cold and drizzle for the next couple of months. There could even be snow!

I sat around on deck reading or writing. I took my customary position at the bows, camera in hand, watching for a few last whales or dolphins. Not one showed their face. It seemed to me that the only time dolphins showed up was when I wasn’t around. They then delighted in bouncing out of the water, spinning around and grinning, just to mock me – the bastards.

P1080433 P1080448

Madeira loomed out of the sea bathed in sun with bright blue skies. I quite like Madeira but I prefer a shiraz. At least we were lucky with the weather. We were being chased by a big storm and reputedly Madeira has suffered fourteen days of miserable rain. We were hitting a magic window of opportunity.

Funchal looked good. The town nestled under snow-capped mountains. To have snow on those mountains was unusual. It added a bit to it.

They chose nice places to build ports. I suppose there is a reason for that. All these ports, cosied up in bays under the protection of a circle of mountains, had been established there for a reason. It wasn’t because they thought it might look attractive to pasty tourists. Those ports were set up in the days of those big wooden sailing boats. The bays were selected merely because they afforded a place to berth that was protected from the elements.

Funchal was one of those. It was a good place for Portuguese ships to pop into on their way to more exotic regions. Madeira was a way off from Portugal but was part of Portugal. It was renowned for four things – the brilliant temperature that endured all year through, the picturesque cliffs, the cable car that took you up into the mountains and to the Botanical Gardens, and this weird toboggan ride down the mountain in wicker-basket toboggans. That sounded fun.

Madeira was another of those volcanic islands. You could see that from the rocks and soil. It had that reddish brown volcanic colour. I suppose that all land is really the result of volcanoes or at least tectonic uplifts. It certainly made for interesting landscape and fertile gardens.


We headed off to investigate.

There was a nice promenade with Palm trees and lots of statues and artwork. There was one of Christiano Ronaldo! The sun was very pleasant!

P1080479 P1080486 P1080482

We arrived at the cable car and headed up into the rarified atmosphere of the mountains. It was a great ride up with views over the city, cliffs and tropical plants. It was awash with colour. There was a great café at the top with a view over the bay and city below. There were no coconuts to drink but they did a smashing frozen yoghurt with nuts and honey.

P1080509 P1080506

Refreshed with set off to discover the delights of Monte. Up on the hill was a beautiful little chapel with typical Portuguese tilework and painted ceilings.

P1080528 P1080535 P1080534 P1080530

Further along we ran into the toboggan rides. A gang of guys all with a studied Portuguese swagger, wearing white shirts and trousers topped off with boater hats, were carelessly unloading the wicker toboggans off a lorry, standing around posing and smoking before launching tourists off down the street. I watched. We’d been considering having a go but on inspection it looked pretty tame and we decided against. It was an interesting tradition and we ought to support it. But it looked a bit naff. I have an aversion to touristy things.

P1080546 P1080555 P1080550

Up the steps was the cathedral. At least that’s what I suspected it was. I don’t know the difference between a big church and a cathedral. If ‘Our Mother of Monte’ wasn’t a cathedral it ought to be. It was beautiful. If the blue tile-work and painted ceilings of the chapel were delightful the quality of the art in that cathedral was in another dimension. Being an antitheist I often despair at the rituals and superstition of religions but even I have to admit that some of the greatest creative minds have poured their talents into religious buildings around the world. Or is it merely that the churches, mosques and temples had the power and money to employ the best?

P1080568 P1080580 P1080577 P1080573 P1080570

Having filled our spirits with beauty we headed back down to do a hop-on hop-off around the city and up into the mountains. It was a pretty place.

P1080633 P1080687 P1080667 P1080637

In the afternoon we wandered up into the old town, had a look round the fort and through the narrow streets. All of the doors had been painted with different artwork that reflected the personality of the owners. They were extremely colourful and amusing. The whole area was a maze of restaurants all touting delicious foods with enticing smells leaking out into the alleyways. There were art and craft shops and an atmosphere of a bohemian culture. The sort of place I would have liked to have dallied in and investigated more.

P1080731 P1080790 P1080788 P1080785 P1080781 P1080784 P1080770 P1080774 P1080775 P1080777 P1080764 P1080763 P1080768 P1080762

We had a beer and sat around and watched life go by then we bought a couple of bottles of Madeira and headed off.


In the town square there was another fort. The whole world is covered in them. Human beings are a war-like species. We love violence and cruelty and seem to operate on the philosophy that instead of growing and making goods it is far easier to wait until somebody else has done all the hard work and then wade in and take it off them. At the same time you can have fun chopping people to bits, raping all the women and burning everything down.

We have a long despicable history behind us. I wonder what lies ahead?

P1080835 P1080833

We settled ourselves in a suitable café lavishly decorated with characteristic blue Portuguese tilework depicting Madeira in the past when it was a small town in the midst of tropical paradise and a few sailing boats in the bay – a bit different to the sprawling city that now exists and the stream of cruise-liners that were constantly passing through. I found myself thinking that I would have loved it even more back in those times – before the world was flooded with the hordes of humanity. Those tiles depicted an ideal looking scene. I also noticed that someone had smashed all the faces in one of the scenes. Was that some demented, intolerant Muslim who had desecrated the faces in the name of Islam?

We ordered a beer and listened to the excellent guitarist who was entertaining us. The temperature was still nice and warm. The beer was cool. The guitarist was brilliant. I discovered that I had enjoyed Madeira much more than I had anticipated. It was a place I wouldn’t mind coming back to for a longer visit. It had a nice feel to it.


If you are enjoying these little tales from a life and would like to read more then you can purchase them all in my two books of anecdotes.

They are available on Amazon in both paperback and on kindle.

Anecdotes – paperback just £6.95  Kindle – just £1.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited

More Anecdotes – paperback just £7.29  Kindle – just £2.12 or free on Kindle Unlimited

My other books are also available. There is some unique to suit most tastes if you like something thought provoking and alternative.