Happy Father’s Day to all!…Trip to Funchal to renew auto rental…Seamless day…A year ago today…last night aboard ship in Venice..

What a site along the highway on the way to the Funchal Aeroporto!

Happy Father’s Day to our sons, my husband and to all of the Dad’s and Grandpa’s all over the world!

Picking up a rental car is  usually a trying experience. The long lines, the language barrier, the shock of the total costs going on our credit card and the process of finding the car to finally get on the road is a painstaking process.

Taking photos while driving on the freeway has a tendency to prevent clear shots. Please bear with us if any of these photos aren’t clear. There wasn’t a safe spot to stop along the highway.

Having to rent a car for 30-day increments to avoid higher daily rates, makes it necessary for us to go “re-rent” twice during a two and a half month stay. Yesterday, was the first of the two occasions in Madeira to drive back to the airport in order to extend the car rental.

After seeing this view we’ve since decided that soon we’ll be taking a drive around the entire island. Stay tuned for our story and photos next week.

Since the great guy that helped us when we arrived by upgraded us to a bigger vehicle at no extra charge, we were worried that if he wasn’t in to help us, we wouldn’t be able to keep the same larger car at the best price.

The ocean always draws our attention.

Holding my breath when Tom dropped me off at the terminal so I could get in line while he dropped off the car, I was disappointed when our guy wasn’t in. However, the lovely agent at the desk agreed that we could keep the same car at the same price as the other agent had offered the night we arrived.

Double steeples on one of many churches we’ve seen on the island.

Tom was already at the Europcar lot as the agent sent over the paperwork for the new 31-day rental period.  She directed me to the lot where I’d find Tom, up one flight on an elevator, down a long corridor, and then down four flights on another elevator. I’d better not get lost, I thought. I didn’t.

Few hills are left untouched in the busy city.

As soon as I exited from the elevator building into the outdoors in the bright sunlight, I saw Tom waving his arms from afar. Walking across the long lot toward the little green office, I was relieved to discover that our paperwork was almost complete and we could be on our way in the midsized blue car.

On the opposite side of the road, homes in Funchal are tightly packed, built into the hills, to provide the best ocean views for its residents.

This easy, friendly experience couldn’t have been more pleasant. It was one more reason we’ve found Madeira to be a dream location, the people are so helpful and kind. 

Farming and gardening are prevalent in all areas of Madeira.

Happily on our way on the hottest day we’ve experienced thus far in Madeira with a high of 88F, 31C, a rarity for the island, we made our way along the highway back to Campanario feeling excited to get back to our home and the veranda on this gorgeous day. 

There’s hardly a hill without gardens, farms, or homes.

By 4:30 pm we arrived at the local market near our home where we asked the expert female butcher to cut meat for us from big slabs; tenderloin steaks and pot roast.  She spoke no English. In advance, I’d translated “steak” and “pot roast” into Portuguese leaving the translations on my phone so I could show her.

We went through many tunnels on the way to the airport.

When we asked for boneless chicken breasts (which I hadn’t translated), I used hand signals to explain what we wanted. She got it as she grabbed two whole fresh free-range chickens from the case, deftly cutting away the other meat until she had two perfectly cut boneless skinless breasts which she cut in half, leaving the remainder to be sold in pieces. It was fascinating watching her skilled hands at work.

The freeway wasn’t too busy on a Saturday afternoon.

After the market, we walked next door to the bakery where we purchased two chocolate-covered doughnuts for Tom for Father’s Day morning at a total cost of US $2.44, EU $1.80.  He was thrilled.  Back on the road, we soon arrived at the “pharmacia” where I purchased insect repellent and anti-itch cream. Yes, I have fly bites again. 

Another more modern church in Funchal.

As the weather has warmed and, with no AC and no screens, once again, I have been getting bites on my hands by what appears to be horseflies. With both hands swollen, I’m determined to avoid more fly biting nightmares as I experienced last summer in Italy and this spring in Morocco.

Madeira’s concept of a farmhouse.

The often English speaking pharmacists are often comparable to a doctor in many countries (not so much in Morocco). He suggested a low 20% dose DEET roll-on to be used only on pressure points every eight hours and an antihistamine cream for the bites I already had on my hands

She cut the steaks, which we’ll grill tonight, from huge slabs of meat she had in another case.  This is the case containing all the pork which is a popular meat item in Madeira.

Both products worked well with the swelling greatly reduced within hours and not another bite since using the roll-on. Ah, relief.  I didn’t want to have to wear hot BugAway clothing over the next six weeks.

The adept butcher cut the breasts from two whole chickens carefully trimming the fat and bone, leaving us with four good-sized portions for two night’s dinners.

Last night after dinner the fog rolled in for some amazing photos we’ll share tomorrow. Again, Happy Father’s Day to our sons and Dads and Grandpas all over the world.

Photo from one year ago today, June 15, 2013:

There were no photos posted on June 15th but, here’s a photo of the pier as our ship was preparing to dock for the night as we neared the end of the Mediterranean cruise. We’d sleep aboard the ship one more night and disembark the next morning, pick up a rental car and drive to Boveglio, Tuscany to our home for the summer. 

As we neared the pier we wondered where and how our ship would fit.  Space was awaiting our ship and we slipped right in. Within an hour, we disembarked to tour Venice for the evening. For details of the 15th as we prepared to head to Tuscany for the summer, please click here.