Holidays on Madeira (part 3)

When I first heard what was the plan for this day, it seemed like pleasant walk with only 60 meters of height difference. We started at the Pico do Arieiro which is the third highest peak on the island. The views were spectacular up there and the weather was quite nice.

Pico Ruivo is the highest peak on the Madeira Islands and that was the destination of today’s hike. Although it was only about 11kilometeres far away from the starting point, it was the longest 11 kilometers of mountain hiking I have ever done. Most of the time, the path was steeply rising and descending most of the time, even with some stairs (some of them were more like ladders) in the steepest parts. There were also several tunnels on this hike, but none of them are very long or very dark. It was very relaxing to walk on flat ground for a change.

In the end, it was great day… if only we had an opportunity to be at one of the peaks at sunrise or sunset, the light would be perfect for photography. Definitely better that’s provided by midday sun…

A view from the Pico do Arieiro
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As I said before, the views were simply breathtaking.
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Is this the end?
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Holidays on Madeira (part 2)

Eira do Serrado (that’s were our trip began that day) is one of the most beautiful places in Madeira with breathtaking views of its surrounding mountains and the village in Nun’s Valley. Descending from the pass we saw Curral das Freiras (Nun’s Valley), and a hidden little village where Nuns took refuge from the pirates who were attacking Madeira frequently in 16th century.

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The village of Curral das Freiras
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In the afternoon we visited one more botanical garden in village Monte, which we really enjoyed because there were not only interesting plants and flowers but also an exhibition of gemstones.

But Monte in Madeira is mostly know for something else…

Summer sledge on roads!

Originally (these toboggan sledges appeared around 1850) it was a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people who lived in Monte. They are still in use today as a turist attraction, for those who want to experience sliding at high speed on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal. These two-seater wicker sledges glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. The downhill journey to Funchal is made in about 10 minutes on a total course of 2 km, reaching at times a speed of 48 km/hour.

At first, we were thought that we might try these, but we changed our mind later.

Getting ready at the starting point.
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Sliding between cars in regular trafic was the main reason we chose to take cable car to return to Funchal.
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Playing cards seems like favourite pasttime for the “sledge drivers”.
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