A weather phenomenon in Madeira that we followed by the hour….A year ago…the most amazing ATM in the world!

We took this video on Wednesday as the low lying clouds rolled in. It was awe-inspiring.

We’ve been in Madeira for two weeks as of today, all of which I’ve spent being ill with an awful virus. Several days ago I reported that I was feeling better only to have the illness return later in the day. It’s still hovering in my sinuses slowly getting a little better each day. Tom continues to have signs of the virus lingering, almost a month later.

As a gust of wind came in from the sea, the density of the cloud escalated.
It was a picturesque setting.

Leaving the house requires driving on mountainous roads with many hairpins turns enough to make the toughest passenger’s stomach lurch and head spin. Add Tom’s somewhat jerky five-speed driving, none the less highly competent and safe, and one can easily become queasy when already sick with a dizzying sinus infection.

Every which way we turned, the view was beautiful.

As a result, we’ve stayed in except for a few short outings. We’ve dined out only once. Tonight we’ll try again heading to the village of Ribeira Brava to a different restaurant, a 15-minute drive through mountains, tunnels, and many turns. If that goes well, soon we’ll begin getting out more frequently.

Those who live close to the sea may have an opportunity to witness a day such as this.  But, for us, formerly from the US Midwest, far from the sea and mountains, it was a new experience.

After researching what’s to do in Madeira we’ve discovered most of it revolves around hiking, horseback riding, and scenery overlooking the sea, much of it high in the mountains and others out to sea. 

At this point, we could barely see the ocean.
For a short period, there was an opening making it possible to see the ocean.

The “out to sea” adventures appeal to us most especially when the weather warms over the next month. We’ll play it by ear.

We took the photos are various times of the day when it was like this for the entire day.
This hill is directly across from us.

We love being home with the ever changing views overlooking the valley and the ocean. It was two days ago that we witnessed an entire day of changing weather, clouds, and sky that literally took our breath away, a low cloud cover morphing into one amazing view after another. 

At times, the clouds moved close to us, wafting away a short while later.
Unquestionably, the close proximity to the ocean had an effect on the clouds.

The above video was taken on Wednesday as were all of the included photos. Perhaps some of them appear repetitious but, being amid this scenario was exciting as we were drawn to its magic, that we spent most of the day on the veranda.

When we lived in the mountains of Tuscany last summer, we had a few days of low lying clouds which we’d posted at the time.
It was fascinating how quickly the scenery changed.

Last summer we watched an episode of the Bachelorette where one of the “dates” consisted of visiting the top of a mountain in Madeira, the Pico do Arieiro, one of the highest peaks in Madeira where the same cloud cover occurred during the filming of the show.

We imagine that the locals are used to this.  For us, it was a rare treat.
An opening gave us a peek at the sun setting behind the mountain. With only a gentle breeze, the clouds moved quickly.

When we watched that episode, knowing at the time that we were coming to Madeira, we were amazed by the low clouds wafting around Desiree and her date. Wednesday, here at our home, we had a similar experience, much to our delight.

We were amazed as it inched closer to us.
Looking over the veranda at the house below us.

Visiting that particular mountaintop requires a 2 to 3-hour hike each way, something that I don’t believe we are up to at this point. But, when the experience came to us here at home, we began to wonder if “safari luck” may have in fact followed us to Madeira, minus the wildlife.

As darkness fell, our veranda became cloudy as well.

As I write this today, I see the hilltops begin to become shrouded in more fluffy clouds. Ah, Mother Nature, she certainly knows how to give!

Photo from approximately one year ago today, May 30, 2013:

A pure gold dispensing ATM at the Emirates Palace Hotel which we toured a year ago., one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Insert a credit or debit card, select your desired amount of gold, and out pops the gold from the machine. Wow! We couldn’t believe it when we saw this. For the rest of the day’s activities, please click here.

Cool climate, often windy…A welcome relief after a year of heat…

The old stone tunnel in our area used until the newer long tunnel was built in recent years.

It’s cool in Madeira, cooler than we expected. Other than the fact that we have no warm clothing, we don’t mind a bit.  For the past several days, I’ve been wearing the only hoodie in the house, Tom’s lightweight XL cotton fleece.

Please click here for today’s weather in Madeira

The nutrient rich hills of Madeira are readied for summer produce.

Today, I’m wearing the warmest of my BugsAway shirts in order to stay warm, although there doesn’t seem to be many insects here. This house has no heating or AC system which is most likely the same for all of the homes on the island.

Driving around Madeira is challenging, although the roads are newer and well maintained.

The hottest it ever gets here is in the 80F’s, 27F’s, but that’s not until August and September. We’ll be long gone by then. Over the next few months, we can expect highs in the low 70F’s, 21C’s and lows in the 50F’s, 10F’s.  Sleeping is pleasant under a fluffy comforter.

Many of the tunnels on the island are one way reducing the risks of accidents.

Our plans to get a bit of a tan from short stints in the sun is impractical in this month’s cool weather although the comfortable lawn chairs are awaiting us. It’s simply too cool to sit outside unless bundled up.

What story could this abandoned house tell?

To our surprise we don’t mind. After the hot summer in Italy, spring in Kenya, summer in South Africa and the heat of spring in Morocco, the coolness if a welcomed relief.

Campanario, where we live, is not nearly the highest elevation in Madeira. In other areas which we’ll visit, the mountains are at an elevation of over 6000 feet, 1828 meters. 

Perhaps soon, it will warm up enough to get some Vitamin D spending 15 minutes a day with bare skin showing sitting on the veranda in the sun.

Please click here for benefits of getting Vitamin D from sensible sun exposure.

More one way double lane tunnels in our area.

In reality, we haven’t had any regular sun exposure in over a year when we lived in Belize. It dawned on me that failing to do so may have impacted our ability to stave off infections and viruses. Once it warms up a little, we’ll be sitting outside 20 minutes a day.

We’re surprised by the excellent roads in Madeira.

Every location we travel has its pluses and minuses which become easily apparent within the first few weeks.  We’ve discovered that if we have a good house with views, are able to sleep comfortably at night, have access to reasonable food options for dining out and grocery shopping and feel reasonably safe, we are content. 

This hill is considerably steeper than it appears. When sitting at the top, one can’t see the upcoming road due to the steep drop off. 

All of these are definitely in order in Madeira. The difficulties of finding our way around on these confusing roads, the cool weather and the language barrier are easily managed with careful thought and planning. 

We are looking forward to getting out to take care of our yet undone errands in Funchal, dining out again, and beginning to explore our surroundings. Soon, we hope.

At the moment we hear the rooster crowing, the church bells ringing, the goats baaing, and dogs barking, all pleasant and familiar sounds. It’s beginning to feel like “home.”

Photo from one year ago today, May 23, 2013:

On a walk in Dubai, we headed toward the marina where we captured this photo of the Atlantis Hotel at Palm Jumeriah, the palm tree shaped island extending into the ocean. For details of our story and photos on that date, please click here.