Thursday, 25 March 2010

Up and Down to Santo

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Saturday 14th November 2009, Porto Moniz, Madeira, Portugal

Happy Birthday Dale!

Walk: 2hrs 41mins starting at 9.26
Low: 67m at 10.31
High: 444m at 12.02
Descent: 326m
Ascent: 399m

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After a simple breakfast of bread, ham and cheese, with good coffee we are driven to the Telerifico where we will begin our walk. There is a cafe here but it is not yet open. Our walk comprises a steep descent into a gully towards the sea and then a steep climb out again on the other side. We will then continue through the villages back down to Porto Moniz.

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The weather is again warm although the clouds look ominous. In fact half way down it starts to spit but we manage to avoid any rain. We walk down a very steep and slippery trail heading towards the sea. The trail switchbacks a lot and we see a few butterflies on the way. Mostly Small Coppers. It takes us about an hour to to the bottom of the cleft where we take a right turn and follow a small stream. A left turn here would take us to the tiny village which can only be reached by Cable Car or one of several steep trails.

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After following this stream for a while we cross a broken bridge and begin the ascent up the other side. This also takes about an hour. It's kind of pointless really but it's good to be out in the fresh air. As we near the top we realise that the cliff has been formed into terraces for growing vines in the past. We see a couple of workers but it seems most of them are now not used. The vines are continuing to grow without any attention though.

On reaching the top we find a viewpoint where we relax and watch the ocean. from here it's only a short walk into the village of Santo where we have a beer in the sun before catching a taxi back down into Porto Moniz. We do this to avoid the crippling walk on the concrete roads that nearly done for us yesterday!

Back at the hotel we make use of the Jacuzzi again before changing and having lunch at the Orca Restaurant which overlooks the Lido and the sea. We have fish and gambas with a bottle of white wine. It;s very pleasant sitting out in the sunshine.

Unfortunately we can't bathe in the sea-water Lido as the tide is high and the breakers are crashing into the pool. The red flag is out. The entrance fee is a remarkable 3 Euros and we regret that we didn't take the opportunity to use the pool yesterday now.

After lunch we stroll along the promenade and visit the small local aquarium as well as a UNESCO Centre which is all about the unique Laurel Forests of Madeira.