For a few days of sun and warmth at the end of January my partner and I returned to Madeira for our third visit. We did consider other destinations but the magic of Madeira kept drawing us back there, although I have to admit that the super BA Holidays deal finally clinched it! What amazed us was that we were still finding new places to visit and things to do!
Pestana Grand Premium Ocean Resort
It gladdened my heart to see the hotel and grounds resplendent in sunshine under a blue sky again! Being back was like visiting a dear old friend and we sure did get a warm welcome – with a welcome-back note, a bottle of Madeira wine and a Madeira cake left in our room!
Room with a view
Our balcony offered an ocean view that was a delight either for relaxing after a day’s outing or seeing the sunrise
Sunrise & Sunset at Pestana Grand
The superb location of the hotel on the São Martinho coast enchanted us from our first visit. The elevated position of the hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean offered spectacular views at sunrise and sunset
São Martinho Coastal Promenade
A stroll along this coastal path is very much an unique experience in Madeira. Nature bestows its beauty liberally in this area and this coastal trail is right at the doorstep of the hotel! It’s a delightful walk any time of the day.
At dawn the rising sun on the horizon was shyly framed by the tropical trees and plants
By mid morning, the coast revealed its full glory with shocking pink Bougainvillea and ivory-coloured swan neck plants lining the path…
….or rugged headland and hillside towns glistening in the sun that played hide-and-seek with passing clouds
Dusk was equally enchanting as the sun slowly retreated behind the curtain of clouds
According to my other half it’s worth visiting Madeira just to go to Magic Tea-room. It’s just across the back gate of Pestana Grand. The tea-room itself is a great place to watch the world go by, but the real star is the roof terrace full of tropical plants and restful recesses.
The views of the sea as the backdrop for the exotic plants were breathtaking as always.
Another experience unique to Madeira is levada walks. It’s the clever use of man-made irrigation channels for recreational walks. There’re 2500 km of levada walks around the island, some of which were even built before roads
On our last day we joined a small group for a half-day levada walk from Referta to Castelejo. It’s graded as a “very easy” 7 km walk mainly on level ground. Basically we were 200 metres above sea level skirting round the mountain path overlooking the village of Porto da Cruz on he northeastern corner of the island.
I was confident that I was up to it, but I didn’t bargain for the sudden burst of showers shortly after we set off. That made the track really muddy and slippery. Luckily a lady in our group kindly lent me her spare walking stick. My goodness, didn’t I need it!
Even with the stick I had to walk gingerly which meant I couldn’t really take in all the stunning views at the time, let alone having my photos taken! Thanks goodness I managed to stop to take photos from time to time!
We ended the two hours’ walk at Castelejo where the guide left us at this store for refreshment for 25 minutes while he walked to fetch the minibus!
To be honest it was an experience rather than an enjoyment for me. Saying that I am so pleased to have done it and I’m sure I would enjoy the experience more in hindsight!
Now for the memories!