Wednesday, 29 April 2015
They provide a network of routes in and around the moutain slopes to various scenic viewpoints, so walking along them is a popular attraction for visitors.
Not all of them have a handy beaten path running alongside, like this one, so group walks with a guide are a useful way for the visitor to find their way safely.
To get to and from the roads, there may be steps up and own, of varying heights and surfaces (sometimes sharp-edged cobbles, sometimes flat stone that gets slippy in the mists).
In a dripping mist, the atmosphere can be almost other-worldly, which is only increased when you're told those arching branches and huge roots are actually a variety of heather.
Everywhere lichens coat the trees and bushes, and occasionally a view of distant ravines and mountains will open out. But it's wiser to keep a close eye on the next piece of tricky ground to cover, until at last you reach the destination, in this case a particular set of cascades.
And if looking at falling water begins to pall, the local population has learnt this is a good place to come and pose for photographs, in the hope of some treats:
Friday, 24 April 2015
Still and all,if you don't mind fixing a polite smile on and suppressing any urge to yawn, here are some holiday snaps. Back in February, a friend was offered the free use of someone else's timeshare in Madeira, and asked me along. It would have been churlish to refuse....................
Funchal, the capital, like many a Mediterranean island town, has its harbour/marina/cruise terminal and its its traditional fishing village core. Along the shoreline, cliffs of modern hotels and apartments spread out to either side to maximise the opportunities for seaviews and exposure to sunshine. But the solid mass of suburban development is punctuated with occasional gaps: the terraced plots of bananas that cover so many of the steep slopes behind retain a foothold right down to busy boulevards and shopping centres that, otherwise, might be anywhere.
What pulls the tourists is in and around its centre, with its market, fancy mosaic paving, flamboyant cathedral interior, museums and grand town hall, arty displays and other distractions and entertainments for the visitor:
Saturday, 4 April 2015
In the best spirit of make do and mend, they were busy building up their nest with any old debris they could find floating round about.
In the process, they were spiritedly trying to persuade themselves the telephone cables serving the houseboats were simply very long and whippy twigs: