Thursday, February 21, 2013


If I didn't have a phobia of flying, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog from the Algarve. Why? Because when I decided to put in for a transfer, my first choice was the island of Madeira where I had spent a memorable holiday.

Funchal Garden, Madeira
Garden in downtown Funchal, Madeira
The impracticality of moving lock, stock and barrel to the island soon became clear, however. Would I really enjoy living on an island? Some friends and colleagues who had lived there, kept mentioning a feeling of being trapped or claustrophobia. Logistics and expenses had to be considered - sell my house or not? I already had three dogs and they would be going with me of course, but how? Sell my car or take it and go by sea? Would I get to stay in Funchal or some remote community? Could I visit my family on mainland Portugal without my phobia getting out of control?

All these considerations led me to give up my original dream. Determined to move to a sunnier climate, I visited the Algarve for the first time and very reluctantly decided that the south of Portugal was second best but eminently more practical.

But, and it is a huge BUT, I will never forget how I fell in love with the island of Madeira as soon as my plane landed there in 2003. (Teachers still had a week's break during carnival week then ... sigh...)

Madeira's Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden, Funchal
I loved every minute of my holiday!

Funchal, Madeira
Funchal, seen from the seafront
There was so much natural beauty crammed onto a relatively small island!

Typical houses at Santana, Madeira
Santana and its funny little houses
I couldn't believe that a friend had told me that 4 days were enough time to see everything there was to see - I could have spent that time at each of the towns we visited on the guided tours! So much of the flora reminded me of Africa! I think my friend got tired of my blurting out the names of so many trees and flowers! 

The weather was marvellous. We knew that we should take light clothes but we weren't prepared for how hot it got in the middle of the day in the beginning of March and our clothes weren't light enough. I could boil during the day or buy new clothes - I bought two new tops and felt much better.

The food was delicious, too. I became a fan of garlic bread and tuna steaks. All too soon it was time to leave but the memories of that holiday linger on. It was unforgettable!

Unforgettable is the theme for this weeks' Sunday post (Oops, am I way behind, or what?) For more unforgettable posts, visit Jake.

You may also like my post "City"


  1. Replies
    1. It certainly is. I would love to visit again in May when they have the flower festival.

  2. Replies
    1. There are so many different things to see and it's a walker's paradise. I'm told the best times to visit are at New Year - for the firework display, Mardi Gras/Carnival - for the parade, May for the Flower festival and any other time for the natural beauty.

  3. Great interpretation Mara, Your unforgettable photography is great specially the colourful garden :)

    1. The Portuguese say "A Madeira é um jardim" - Madeira IS a garden!

  4. I have never been to Madeira, we went to the Azores Islands often though, as my husband was born there and has family there. They also have loads of natural beauty, lush and green...but I also think I would feel a bit restricted living in a small island. Although I now live in the island of Australia, it's so huge that I never think I live in an island....except for the distance to other countries!
    I have also had Tuna steaks in the Azores and they are just delicious.

    1. Everyone I know who has been to the Azores says they are even better than Madeira for natural beauty and that they are less built up. Unfortunately, my flying phobia has prevented me from going there to visit a friend.

  5. I'd love to visit Madeira. Friends have been over the years and say that it is beautiful, which is true if I look at your photos!


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