1. Levada do Canico
Dave and I drove up to Camacha for a third time to enjoy the levada walk down to Assumada which we have both appreciated several times before. The steep 300 metre decent down ancient cobbled pathways is rewarded by a fine walk high above the valley, with seaward views, beside a channel of busy water. More lovely flowers and the delicate leaves of Mimosa trees featured strongly on this delightful two hour stroll.
We lunched on sunny steps near the end of the levada before descending to Assumada’s church, our rendezvous point with Alan, who had been texted with the request to meet at 1.10. Also this morning Kate had been texting from the UK: ‘Are you free next Tuesday?’ Answer ‘Yes’. So when a response ‘Can you wait for a bit’ arrived, I assumed it was from Alan. There was a Long Delay, and I finally called Alan. He was waiting for us and the call had been redirected from his UK mobile. I was unaware that he had a Madeira mobile on which he was waiting for our call. The ‘wait’ message had actually been from Kate and had (on closer scrutiny) read ‘Can you wait for bt’ (I am house sitting for a phone line connection saga that is now into its third month!).
It was nearly 3pm by the time a somewhat baffled Alan arrived, armed with a selection of new numbers for input to my phone!
After collecting the other car from Camacha (now a very familiar journey on which Alan still contrived to manage a u-turn) we went down to the peninsula. This walk contrasts hugely with levada walking and our late arrival gave us the benefit of the low late afternoon sun, shining through hazy cloud onto the volcanic rock. The guide books claim this to be a difficult walk, but Health, Safety and Ecological considerations have resulted in the installation of walkways and fences that eliminate any danger. That’s fine, the views are excellent, and the adrenaline junkies are free to venture elsewhere. We had a lovely two hour walk, turning back shortly before the Casa do Sardinho.
Quite a few people were enjoying this area, whilst we had met none on the earlier levada walk. And no ‘greeting fopas’ today – yesterday we met a couple who greeted us in a broad Scottish accent….’Are you Dutch?’ asked Dave, then later we met an English couple – Dave studied their accents for some time before risking ‘I take it you are from Birmingham?’. The answer was predictable I suppose – ‘County Durham actually’.
Tonight we enjoyed steak and trimmings with Alan and Christine in their finely decked apartment. A lovely evening, at the end of which Alan brought out a selection of Madeiran memorabilia that he has been collecting. Fascinating stuff, but included in the old newspaper extracts is a really interesting piece on the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, from a time when that battle was ‘within living memory’. More of that on a quiet day sometime.
And to finish, especially as this is supposed to be an outdoorsy sort of blog, a message from Alan, who at the age of 65 is bravely embarking on ‘an enhanced enthusiasm for walking’. He has a fine new pair of Brasher Boots which he finds supremely comfy, so his message is ‘Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Pair of Boots’. And so say all of us!