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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On top of the world

Being a volcanic island, there is very little flat or level areas, so walking can be strenuous. The roads are mostly upgraded from cobbles to tar as the gradient and the ancient, well used and now smooth stones, were becoming hazardous to modern vehicles, especially during storms.
We drove up to one of the most scenic areas in Madeira, Eira do Serrado. The photos say it all. Relatively speaking, 1053m doesn't seem high..not by SA standards, but it's hugely high when you DRIVE from sea level, seemingly straight up in a matter of minutes and suddenly there's a sheer drop into a valley, seemingly inaccessible, filled with houses and roads!

This view took our breath away! Taken from an overhang precariously secured with cement and stone and 'pfffft' railings....we got wobbly legs looking down, as directly below us were teeny little homes....we could have easily landed up in someones basement if we'd fallen!

Not sure what this village is called, but its nestling in a valley just right of Eiro do Serrado. Col's house-keeper lives here...she comes once a week to iron. A few years ago, roads and lack of transport would have prevented her pretty much from leaving her village. Madeira has built tunnel after tunnel, over the last 20 years, making Funchal, the city, accessible for places like this, resulting in huge changes in the culture and economy. Madeira used to be largely dependent on farming where subsistence farming mostly, kept food on the table. There's now sports cars, large hotels and malls.....and not much farming going on. Sad.

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