Madeira
Madeira01.JPG (71636 bytes) It did not take long for us to fall asleep.  Steve was especially quick to fall asleep after all the travel he had done just to arrive at the boat in time to depart. Madeira02.JPG (69404 bytes) When we awoke the next morning we were all amazed at how beautiful our marina was here on this Portuguese island called Madeira.  This was a new place for all
Madeira04.JPG (74521 bytes) After getting situated in the marina, we rented a car and explored parts of this beautiful island.  Go Red Sox!  Today is game 7 of the Yanks/ Red Sox! Madeira06.JPG (69515 bytes) We began our exploration on the southeast corner of the island near where our marina was located.  Here are the cliffs of Miradouro.
Madeira07.JPG (74087 bytes) The airport in Madeira is an engineering feat as it was built out over the ocean with massive pillars.  The runway was almost bridgelike. Madeira08.JPG (70816 bytes) As we walked around Funchal, the capital, we came upon the winery famous for Madeira wine.  Here is the crew pointing to their Madiera wine of choice.
Madeira09.JPG (66970 bytes) The next part of the tour was a cable car ride up the mountain which gave us a great overview of Funchal.  Having fun guys? Madeira10.JPG (76848 bytes) A rather unique Madeiran tradition are the tobaggin rides down the mountain.  Here you can see some fellow tourists taking a ride. 
Madeira11.JPG (111922 bytes) As the tobaggin ride seemed to be more of a tourist trap than a thrill, we chose to walk back down the hill.  Here are Rich & Steve cooling down with some water. Madeira14.JPG (61871 bytes) From Funchal we headed towards Cabo Girao which is the 2nd highest sea cliff in the world.  The highest is on Molokai in Hawaii!   Here is the the view from the top looking back toward Funchal.
Madeira12.JPG (73520 bytes) Chirgy, it was a little too high to do some more cliff jumping as you can see from my foot dangling over the edge. Madeira16.JPG (84932 bytes) We ended our first day of exploration with a fabulous Churassco dinner where they serve the food on kebabs that they hang at the table.  Very Unique!
Madeira15.JPG (78338 bytes) Here I am watching yet another sunset.  Who would have ever thought that I would have a ponytail?  Maybe not quite a fit for me, but a good fit for the end of this trip. Madeira17.JPG (74589 bytes) After a good night of sleep we were out to explore other parts of Madeira the next morning.  Here is part of our crew on a lookout point amidst one of the valleys.
Madeira18.JPG (72103 bytes) The enormous volcanic (not active) mountains, the contrast of beautiful lush and dry land, the flowers, the waterfalls and more reminded me a lot of Kauai! Madeira20.JPG (96439 bytes) We stopped and had a wonderful picnic.  As you can see we ate a lot of fruits and bread. 
Madeira19.JPG (78303 bytes) We forgot cups, so Rich is improvising on ways to drink his wine!  Where there is a will, there is a way!J Madeira22.JPG (65683 bytes) Touring a place like Madeira allows us to get a glimpse into the local culture.  This was a common scene throughout the island of men & women sitting outside.
Madeira25.JPG (82924 bytes) The antiga road took us right along the cliffs edge and past beautiful scenes like this one where waterfalls were flowing. Madeira23.JPG (94271 bytes)                                                              The ancient road took us to a point where we climbed out a small tunnel.  At the end of the tunnel was the waterfall cascading down the cliff.  Spectacular!
Madeira24.JPG (117579 bytes) We were all a bit dumbstruck by the serene and hidden beauty of this island as evidenced by the looks on Rich & Bernie’s faces. Madeira27.JPG (74522 bytes) There were tunnels and roads all over the island which were in remarkably good shape.  This picture captures one of the older tunnels leading out to the ocean.
Madeira28.JPG (69781 bytes) A camera doesn’t allow enough pictures to really capture the stunning nature of Madeira.  But this is one more attempt. Madeira29.JPG (58023 bytes) The northern coastline of Madeira!!
Madeira30.JPG (72297 bytes) The food was so good throughout the island.  At one of our stops for lunch, Rich & Jen went in the kitchen and got some of the locals cooking secrets. Madeira05.JPG (75460 bytes) We leave Madeira with many fond memories, but now it is on to the Canary Islands where we will stay for about 10 days before crossing the Atlantic.   Did I mention how much we liked Madeira?J