A road trip turning into an unexpected adventure…A year ago…A neighborhood party…

It was on the return drive that Tom prompted me to make a video of driving under the waterfall, a necessary feat in order to continue on the road. Excuse my verbal flubs on the video. We were having so much fun I could hardly speak coherently.
Once again on Thursday at noon, we decided on a road trip with the intent of getting out the way of Judite as she cleaned our house. There are plenty of places to drive on this island. If one so chose, they could drive the perimeter of the island to the east or west (right or left) on the highway or into the core of the island.
As we approached the waterfall we were astounded as we watched this van drive under it.

Since we’d already made a long drive to Sao Vincente a few weeks ago by driving through the core of the island to the opposite side and, we’d driven to the airport on a few occasions, our logical choice was to head west to an area we hadn’t seen.

The van stopped as we’d also done, to enjoy the downpour on the vehicle.  Fun!

There’s nowhere on this island, whether by following the shoreline or driving through villages, where one doesn’t drive on narrow winding roads with hairpin turns. The major highway around the island often veers into the villages for part of the way to create the challenge of finding one’s way back to the highway. On the map it looks as if it’s a clear shot. Driving it is another matter.

Of course, its hard to see running water in a photo, so please check out the above video for the full experience.

As we worked our way past the familiar Ribeira Brava, the closest larger village where we shop for groceries, we knew we were on new terrain, as unfamiliar scenery came into view. 

Our windshield as we drove under the waterfall. There was no other way to continue on the road than to drive directly under the flow of water.

We had no fear of getting lost when all we’d need to do is look for the ocean which seems to magically appear regardless of the direction we travel. After all, the island of Madeira is only 309 square miles, 801 km, 35 miles, 57 km long from east to west, 14 miles, 22 km from north to south.

We traveled through many tunnels, long and short, the longest on Thursday was the Ponta do Sol.  See this link for details. It’s the third on the list at 8858 feet, 2700 meters long.

Driving the 35 mile, 57 km length of the island is a day-long outing based on the winding hilly roads.

A quaint village along the shore.

On Thursday, our goal was not unlike other outings, not a competition to see if we could drive around the entire island but, instead an opportunity to seek out interesting scenery we’d yet to see. Madeira is a wealth of such scenery, never to disappoint, as was the case on Thursday as shown in our photos.

We’d stopped the car to check out where this set of step led to. As we got closer, we noticed that the steps were small, rocky, not level and “rounded” creating a possible “tripping hazard” making it not worth the risk of a fall.

We’d have stayed out longer than we did but, decided to return when droplets of rain fell on the windshield.  It was another cloudy day of which there have been many in the past 30 days. Gina recently explained that the sun usually shines most days in the summer. Other than clouds impeding the quality of our photos, the clouds didn’t bother us.

A restaurant overlooking the sea on a craggy cliff.

However, it makes no sense to be driving on these roads in the rain if we didn’t have to. We’d returned home by 4:00 pm, satisfied that we’d have another worthwhile outing as we whittle down our time on the lush island of Madeira.

Almost every home or hotel on the island takes advantage of the exquisite views of the ocean.

Of course, the highlight of our day was the waterfall that we drove under. We had no idea we’d encounter this although we’d heard about such a waterfall on the island. We experienced it both coming and going along our drive making is all the more fun the second time.

Many hotels and condo complexes lined the roads along the shoreline.

Today, we’re staying home for a relatively quiet Sunday except for the sound of the goats baaing, the roosters crowing, the birds singing, the church bells ringing and an occasional horn honking as drivers maneuver their way around a hairpin turn.

We stopped in the villages we past through on our drive, often finding tourists on the rocky beaches sitting on provided wood planks.

We’re cooking a Sunday dinner of low carb, gluten-free coconut chicken tenders, grilled veggies and a giant salad. With 11 days remaining until we’re on our way to Paris, we’re content and grateful as we enjoy every last moment on the beautiful island of Madeira, Portugal.

Photo from one year ago today, July 20, 2013:

Every Friday night, in the village of Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, there was a gathering of locals at the Bar Ferrari, a bar that had been in the area for generations. For more photos and details of the local history, please click here.