A drive in the mountains…Surprising finds!…

This plant made me squeal with delight. Tom laughs at me and happily maneuvers the car for a better view.

Yesterday, after posting here, we decided to go for another drive on the endless roads in these mountains. One can go any which way, ending up at a dead-end or going on into what seems to be infinity.

The ocean is behind this old vine-covered garage.

Little did we know that we’d encounter so many new-to-us treasures of which this island has many. What a place! Without a doubt, the roads, turns, and views may appear repetitive. But, when driving through the hills each hairpin turn brings a new experience our way. When possible, Tom finds a spot to pull over enabling me to take photos. 

There is Ms. Goat posing for a photo as we drove by as she munched on vegetation.

In some cases, I have no choice but to take photos from inside the car while on the move when cars are behind us and there’s no shoulder or if it’s simply too dangerous to stop which is most often the case on the narrow winding steep roads.

This black goat was munching while tied up on a hill.  Goats are often tied up to prevent them from wandering off with few fences anywhere in the area.  Next door to us, the mom goat stays tied up but the two kids aren’t, as they naturally stay close to their mom at all times.

When we think back to a year ago when we moved to Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, and the terrifying roads, we’ve come a long way. Tom has mastered driving in these mountainous roads and I’m no longer frightened. 

We discovered many homes covered in vines growing prolifically in this ideal weather.

If I can keep my eyes straight ahead looking out the windshield as opposed to the side window, I can keep the possibility of motion sickness at bay. It’s hard to do when I’m a wild woman seeing one thing after another, eyes darting every which way. “They,” say eye movement effects motion sickness more than any other factor.  Somehow, I’m able to keep any queasiness in check.

We share today’s photos with much enthusiasm. With so many taken, we’ll continue to share more over the next several days. 

Grapes are growing everywhere.  Madeira is known for its wine including the popular pink Madeira wine many of us drank in the ’70s and ’80s. 

Perhaps our enthusiasm isn’t warranted by some. A photo of a plant, a tree, a goat? So what? For us, nature is the basis of our travels, and at times it’s hard to contain our excitement. Based on our readership, we’re making the assumption that most of our readers also find some pleasure in our simple finds. 

As we crossed a bridge, I was able to get out of the car to see this creek.

If nature is not your preference, please bear with us. We’ll be in Paris in 41 days and London a few weeks later.  We’ll have plenty of photos of buildings, art, history, food, and the magic of both amazing cities. Although nature is our primary objective, we could hardly travel the world and miss these two major cities or any of the other big cities we’ve visited in the past and will again in the future.

This is the bush from which I took the shot of the flower in the following photo. Love this!

At the end of our self-tour, we headed to the little market for a few groceries which we actually enjoy. The quaint market where no one speaks a word of English is enchanting, the prices are no more than the supermarket in Ribeira Brava and surprisingly we are able to find many items we need. Soon, we’ll make a trip to the big supermarket for items that are unavailable locally.

 I couldn’t get a perfect shot of this flower while we were on the move but it was fun to see.

Having not dined out in weeks when we’ve enjoyed our home-cooked meals, tonight we’re going to dine out in a restaurant up the road (literally, “up”) from here. We’ll report back with food photos, prices, and our general experience. It’s a restaurant Gina showed us how to find that has great reviews on Trip Advisor.

The terraced farms and gardens planted in even squares and rectangles cover the hills.

Today, we’ll be back at work to find where we’ll live for our first 89 days in Australia. Prices are extremely high, especially when our main criteria is to be close to the ocean, preferably with a view.

Another important factor is the weather in Australia when the seasons are opposite of the northern hemisphere.  Northern Australia’s temperate winter weather (winter starts in June) will be ideal when our ship arrives on June 11, 2015, one year away. In December, it would be too hot in the north.

An old boarded-up house, uncommon on the island.

We definitely need to book something shortly. As we see from the many vacation rental sites we use, the properties are booking well into 2015. Our search is none too early.

Have a fabulous weekend. We’ll be back tomorrow with more news and photos from our drive.

Photo from one year ago today, June 21, 2013:

As much as we loved the charm and romance of moving into a 300-year-old stone house in Tuscany, Italy, we had to face some obstacles not uncommon in these old houses. This was the stairway to the lower level in order to get to the front door. To the left was the step up onto the veranda where we hung the laundry to dry, tended to the box garden, and spent time outdoors.  Stepping up onto the veranda from this stairway was tricky, definitely not for those unsteady on their feet. Falling could be life-threatening. We were extremely careful each and every time. For details of this and other obstacles in the old house, please click here.

Comments and responses A drive in the mountains…Surprising finds!…

  1. Bob & Vikki Reply

    I think a picture is much more eloquent than narration Jess. I, for one, appreciate your pictures. I like to write stories; when you post a picture of houses, or foliage on a mountainside I can translate what I see into words that fit into a scene with much more ease than imagination alone.

    Keep on doing what you are doing…and thank you.


  2. Jessica Reply

    It's nice to hear from you once again. We so appreciate your perspective. We find that for some people, the photos have more meaning and for others, the dialog. Overall, we've found that most of our readers enjoy the combination.

    Tom's eldest brother is 85 years old and totally blind. Each day, Tom copies and pastes all the verbiage for him, deleting all the photos, sending it to him in an email. He has an app that reads aloud. He means so much to us and our sending this to him each day, means so much to him. We are grateful to be able to share our story for him for which he can use his imagination.

    Thanks for writing and we both hope you and Vikki are doing well and enjoying your retirement.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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