We are spending a few weeks in Madeira and have already explored some parts of the capital, Funchal. It would be a lie to say that everything always went smoothly on the trip. We went away with Leon for the first time and while the child is peaceful, the universe has limits when it comes to a baby’s tolerance. The child has had many impressions over the past few days, and the fourth month of life and obviously the current astrological constellation promises one thing above all: trouble.
We walk from our accommodation in Lido to the cable car, since the next bus would also leave in 30 minutes. We have bad timing, as a cruise ship with the capacity of a small town has just docked at the port and the queue for the ticket booth of the teleferíco, the cable car that takes guests in the most pleasant way up the mountain and its gardens, is correspondingly long .
We share the cabin with another family; the woman refuses to put on a mask, despite our pleas for consideration for the toddler. Unpleasant comments and a very tense atmosphere in the cable car follow. Leon notices that too and decides halfway through the journey to test everyone’s nerves by screaming.
The family hurries out of the cabin as we arrive at the terminus. We retreat to the farthest corner of a café, where Sara tries everything from changing diapers, breastfeeding and going to bed. We stay there for two hours until Leon finally releases us into freedom and the botanical garden.
From the Monte station we have to go there with another, smaller cable car. This ride is much more comfortable.
Jardim Botânico do Funchal
The botanical garden has a lot to offer – above all a steep incline on the mountain. You have to hike up or down steeply to get to the various terraces. However, the plants on display are not exotic. All plants can also be found on the island. Here they grow concentrated and neatly arranged next to each other.
It’s a little fresh – unusually fresh for a tropical island. We stroll between the flower beds, the palm trees and the huge cacti and sometimes feel like dwarfs.
Carros de cesto do Monte
Eine Besonderheit der Insel ist ein spezielles Fortbewegungsmittel: der Korbschlitten (carros de cesto). Scheinbar wurden diese Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts dazu verwendet, schnell Waren und Personen vom Berg zum Hafen zu transportieren. Zumindest den Personen muss das viel Spaß gemacht haben und mit Aufkommen des Tourismus hat sich das ganze zu einem Spektakel für die ganze Familie entwickelt. An einer Stelle, nicht weit vom Monte Palace entfernt, warten junge und alte Männer mit blauen Hemden und Strohhüten auf lebensmüde reiche Touristen, um sie in einen großen Korb zu stecken und auf Holzkufen den Hang hinunterzuschieben. Die Straße müssen sie sich trotz des Fehlens einer Bremse mit Autos teilen. Nervenkitzel ist garantiert!
Die Preise für eine Korbschlittenfahrt sind nicht billig: 30 Euro kostet der Spaß für zwei Personen in einem Schlitten. Die meisten Leute scheinen mehr damit beschäftigt zu sein ein Video mit dem Smartphone zu drehen als selbst etwas von der Fahrt mitzubekommen. Kinder unter 5 Jahren fahren übrigens kostenlos. Wir fragen Leon, aber er lehnt dankend ab.
Jardim Tropical Monte Palace
When we go back up the Monte some time later, we prefer the much cheaper and less stressful bus to the cable car. This time we visit the Tropical Garden, in the center of which the Palace of Madeira is said to be located. So the advertisement.
The Tropical Garden is a park with different parts. At the entrance there are a few buildings displaying African art and crystals and minerals.
The trees and ferns grow close together. Bridges connect the paths on the steep slopes and in between there are always small pools with aquatic plants or fish.
I particularly like the offer, which is said to include a sample of Madeira wine in the price. For that we have to get to the end of the park.
The visual highlight is the palace in the heart of the park. Like a picture by Escher, aqueducts supported by columns converge here and cascades of water run into the lake from different directions.
The tropical world of trees and ferns merges into red bridges and toori , which I know well from Japan. The Japanese garden has been laid out with great taste inside the park.
Statues of angels or Roman goddesses protrude from the thicket and emphasize the transience of culture and the reconquest of nature, in the spirit of romance.
We’re lucky, because apart from us there are only a few ducks lounging in this paradise. After a few photos, however, that changes abruptly and hordes of tourists brutally end every feeling of tender romance.
We finally reach the most important goal of the park: tasting Madeira wine. It turns out that this is not a rare rarity from the last barrel of the oldest winegrowing family on the island, but rather the cheapest mass-produced product, where you can at least choose between “sweet” and “tart”. Since Sara spurns alcohol, I can test the direct difference between the two. Conclusion: both delicious. The jars are unfortunately very small, but it is enough for the taste on the tongue.
However, we were happy too soon when we thought that we could now leave the site on the other side of the park and what felt like five hundred meters in altitude that we had climbed down. This is not the case and our condition is required. We fight our way back up to the entrance. Leon can’t help but play tricks with the venerable works of art on the way. What an uneducated child!