Last Day in the West

The next day was my last day in the villa on the west of Madeira, and I went for another walk up on the central plateau.  Again, the drive was spectacular.

Yet another amazing view

The walk was supposed to be one-way, requiring a taxi down the valley with the walk back up the mountain, but there were no taxis to be seen so I improvised.  First I wandered around a beautiful meadow dotted with laurel trees and with views stretching far over the north coast. The wind had blown the trees into strange, twisted shapes.

A laurel wood on the high plateau
There is something human about the shape of this tree

I found a mountain bike track  that led gently downhill, into a thick laurel forest. There were lots of different paths for walkers and bikers, and I made my way streadily downhill following the detailed map that was displayed at the car park, and which I had snapped on my phone.  The laurel forest transformed into a broom forest. Eventually I found the main path CR14 which led back gently uphill alongside another levada.  It was a pretty path, but after and hour following it, I got a little bored continually having to navigate around the muddy pools that dotted the side of the channel.

The levada runs thorugh a thick forest with ferns

There seem to be levadas all over Madeira and I wondered how long it took to build them all.   The engineering was impressive – the levadas run for kilometres with a continuous, gentle slope along routes that cling to hills and mountainsides. Occasionally a little side channel lets out some water to stop the main channel from overflowing.  On today’s walk, one of these side channels had become blocked and the path had become flooded, so I had to get my paws wet.

Time to get my paws wet!

 Finally, the path left the levada and headed straight up a very steep slope, emerging on the main road near the car park. I was tired and hungry but very happy with my improvised walk.

I continued the road down to Porto Moniz. At the coast I was rewarded with a view of a strange rock rising directly from the sea, which I had missed on my visit here a few days ago – I must have been inside a tunnel.

Back on the North Coast

I drank a badly needed coffee and replenished my energy with a thick fish soup at an open-air café in the town, enjoying the view of the bay.  I took the west coast road back home, and this time stopped at Ponta do Pargo to visit the lighthouse.  This is the most south westerly point of Europe and if you sail out to sea in a straight line from here, the first stop will be America.

The lighthouse at the furthest edge of Europe
Next stop……America!

More fish for dinner back at the villa, and the first clear sunset of my stay to round off my time here.

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