Sunday, 28 March 2010

We get lost and caught in the rain

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Tuesday 17th November 2009, Refugio, Camacha, Madeira, Portugal

It's a sunny blue morning and then I get a phone call from my brother Keith telling me that my Dad had been taken back into hospital. he's in a coma, which I think is induced, but the prospects don't look good.

Today we finish the West Madeira part of the walking holiday and start the Eastern Madeira part. We have no walk scheduled for today and our transfer taxi is not scheduled until 2pm. I get the desk to call and we make arrangements to be picked up at 10.30am instead. This means we wont have to hang about half the day.

I look in the books I have with me and discover that we could walk along the Levada Torno and finish at the the village of Camacha where we are staying. After an hour or so driving our taxi driver shows us a place where we can join the levada but then drives us down to the gardens at Palheiro. We spend an enjoyable hour here before starting on the levada later.

Walk: 3hrs 41mins starting at 11.38
Low: 424m at 12.11
High: 645m at 14.52
Descent: 204m
Ascent: 360m


The levada itself is not that exciting as it passes through suburbia, but some parts are pleasant and we occasionally have views out to the ocean. We reach a tunnel which is impassable and have to take a detour around it. However when we try to rejoin the levada I find that the description in the book is very confusing and it takes us an age to get back on track. It's not helped by the fact that everywhere we try to go is guarded by mad barking dogs. They are tied up bu its unpleasant and my mood is not good. I'm irascible, probably due to the news about my father this morning.

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We have to clamber down a steep valley and through some dense undergrowth before climbing up the other side before eventually locating the levada. At a second tunnel we again go around and follow a smaller levada which eventually gets more and more overgrown. It's here that we leave the levada to try and find our village. We walk up a steep road past a school and then a bus depot before the rain starts tipping it down. We shelter in an old disused factory building.

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When the rain eases off we walk the last 2km into the village and find our hotel on a cliff overlooking the ocean. After changing we have a quick walk around the village before spending some time in the wickerwork shop that this place is famous for. The we have coffee and cake in the cafe next door.


At dinner, in a room with fabulous views over the sea, we are the only guests though there is a table of twelve or so work-men having a good time.


In the back of my mind I am contemplating whether we should abandon this holiday and return home