Monday 14th Jan
14.01.2013 - 14.01.2013 19 °C
Another not too early start if about 10am today. Our second island visit in a row was to Funchal, or funky town as we called it, on the Madeira Islands of Portugal. Really not sure what to expect for this place but, spoiler alert, I thought it was great! Didn't bother with any of the tours as they didn't seem all that great, but instead did a trip on the hop on hop off bus. This took about an hour and a half to two hours for the total trip and it showed use pretty much all of the island. We got to see the second highest cliff face in the world (highest is in Taiwan) which was cool. The trip gave a good intoduction to the island and some good views. There was a big emphasis in the commentary on Madeira wines and how they were amazing and apparently a tasting would change our lives. I particularly like one of the stories they chose as an endorsement to their wines where someone once drowned themselves in a vat of it... Not really sure that will make me want to buy it....
The island has a cable car up to the top of one of the mountains. This again gave some amazing views over the city. It was interesting, down in the city it was ridiculously windy, but when you got the top it was a great temperature! You can do what they call taboganning up there where you sit in a 2 person basket and slide down the hill with two guys controlling and stopping the basket. Didn't try it though as it was rather on the expensive side! We wanted to have lunch at the top as it was less windy but there were only two places to eat and neither looked too good unfortunately. So just walked around a bit, saw the church and then headed back down. Unfortunately apparently everyone decided to go down then as the line was like 50 people long.
At the bottom we went for a hunt for a restaurant. Found a nice one down a small lane. It had napkin folding instructions on the walls and everyone failed. The lady pretty much told us we suck and pointed out the easiest one that we should maybe try first. The food was absolutely amazing. We had a honey and orange aperitif which the guy claimed he had drunk all day the last weekend for his birthday and then been fine to work the next day, how he did that I have no idea as those were highly alcoholic! An then the food began... A marinated tuna which was lovely, the softest octopus with onion which has honestly got to be the best octopus dish ever, and then madeiran style chopped meat which had an amazing sauce and came with potatoes and eggplant and fried maize. Gary had the strangest dish, fish with pineapple and banana. It was a very odd taste but surprisingly nice! Probably too sweet for me to eat a whole dish of, but he was happy. That meal was definitely our best off the boat so far and has placed portugese as one of my favourite foods.
On the way back to the ship I got my second tea canister. Gary said in Barcelona that I should do a thing from every city. Instead I am doing a tea canister from every country, I feel every city would be rather excessive, and hard as I missed some already.
Back at the ship we were still way too full and skipped dinner. Unfortunately noone told me this and I went to all the effort to get changed for dinner (they have a theme for each night, as in casual, informal, formal and gala. As tonights was informal I wasn't allowed to wear jeans) for nothing!