Tuesday, November 6, 2012

                 Isn't It Lovely?!

     I hope you all had a lovely Halloween....I apologize for missing last week!  I watched my friend's 4 kids for 4 days while she went to Cabo and then went to Santa Fe, NM, for the EGA Trading Post - fun, busy, and wonderful! 


     Today I am going to share some of the sights of Madeira, starting with a picture taken from the water of the shores of Madeira.  It reminds me of Santa Barbara, CA in the climate and the terrain.  Madeira is often a stop for cruise ships that pass that way.  If you ever have a chance to go, take it!  But when you go to the island, don;t shop at the stores that are right on the water.  The better embroideries can be found in the shops that are a few blocks inland.

     Here is a picture (and I will post a couple more) of the landing strip for the airport on Madeira.  According to pilots, it is one of the more tricky landing strips. 

     The winds can blow and cause delays.  On the first trip I took, there was a 12 hour delay because of the winds.  The planes originally could land, but not take off.  The airport is so small, that they would not let us check our baggage, as they had no place to store it all day while we waited for the winds to die down. 

     Then they stopped letting the planes land, because there was no place for them to wait until the weather changed..........an airplane traffic jam!

     They have a wonderful market with fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables, fish, etc.

     It is wonderful to see everything, even though we could not really buy anything that was perishable.

     Even though these are some of the ugliest fish I have ever seen they were delicious!  They are called espada (eshpada) or black scabbard.  They swim about a mile below the surface (hence the big eyes), and are most easily caught at night.  They have been caught in Japan, Ireland, Canary Islands, and North Africa, but the only sustainable industrial levels are in Câmara de Lobos, a few miles from Funchal.

     The fisherman use colorful boats to sail out into the waters to catch their fish.  The first trip, I had the traditional espada, cooked with bananas, and then another night had it with a tomato based sauce.  When I  went back the 2nd time, I had aspada every single day that we were there, cooked a different way each time.  Every restaurant that we went to had espada as one of their 'Catch of the Day' offerings.  Wish we could get it here!

     We went on a tour of one of the local wineries that produces Madeira wine - a wine that is actually heated and stays fresh and should be not be refrigerated after it is opened. This process was originally discovered when a ship returned to Madeira without unloading its wine.  Today, the wine fortified with grape spirits, oxidized and heated up to 140 degrees during the wine making process.  The the tasting room offered wines that were 100+ years old, a treat for those who wanted it!

     The toboggan rides were a blast.  Originally designed for transportation (started in the 1850's), if you lived up in the hills, the toboggan was a fast way down the mountain.  The wicker sled has runners and 2 men who push and guide the way to the bottom.  It is about a mile to the bottom, and the sled reaches up to 20-25 mph.  Don't miss this if you have a chance to go!

     More next week - sure hope I can visit again!  have fun, and I hope you exercised your right to vote!  We are one of the luckiest countries in the world to have that privilege!

Happy Stitching!

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