35 Before 35: Madeira New Year’s Fireworks

Number 16 on my 35 Before 35 list is to spend New Year in Madeira and watch the fireworks display (which got the Guniess World Record for world’s biggest in 2006). Since I did, in fact, spend New Year 2013/14 in Madeira, it’s probably fairly obvious that I also saw the fireworks πŸ˜‰ But I thought I’d provide some evidence anyway…

You probably can’t really tell from those photos, but we actually managed to get an excellent spot! There was much less of a crowd than we had expected, and we were able to find a space next to the harbour wall right in front of one of the places where the fireworks were being set off from! (They were being ignited at three or four places simultaneously).Β  It was flippin’ loud down there, I can tell you! These next photos will hopefully make it a bit clearer how close we actually were:

They’re a bit blurry, but hopefully you can see that we had a clear view of the fireworks actually emerging from the explosive thingies!
It wasn’t the longest display we’ve seen (the one in Brussels takes that title – I actually thought those ones would never stop!), but a lot of fireworks were set off in a short time. One member of staff at the hotel told us 17 tonnes of fireworks were set off in 8 minutes! I don’t even have words for a number that big…

So, that’s another item crossed off the list and I’m pleased to say it was 100% worth it! If you’re ever given the opportunity to spend New Year in Madeira, my advice would be to take it (as long as you’re not afraid of fireworks, of course…). And for any of you who’ve ever spent New Year in a German-speaking country, I’m sure you’ll be very pleased to know that no fireworks were thrown! A few people had their own to set off, but they sensibly pointed them up at the sky, where they belong πŸ™‚

Madeira fireworks

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Funchal door art

Walking around the Zona Velha, or Old Town in Funchal, you will notice that many of the doors feature art work of various kinds – mostly paintings, but some other forms of art as well. These works are part of theΒ  Projecto artE pORtas abErtas, or ArT of opEN doors project, a scheme that aims to “open” the doors of Funchal to art… and give new life to old, dilapidated doors, often of abandoned and forgotten buildings. Here is just a small selection of the photos Jan and I took of those decorative doors.

Obviously I couldn’t possible resist taking a photo of the following door… colourful artwork and one of my favourite things combined!

Boooooks!
Boooooks!

Here are some of my favourites. For a few, I took close up photos of the various details because a photo of the entire door just didn’t do it justice.

Have you ever been to Funchal? Which is your favourite painted door?

Funchal, Madeira

After breakfast on our first day in Madeira, we drove down to Funchal – the capital city – to see what it had to offer. The photos in this post will be a mixture of ones from that first day and ones from later trips into Funchal.

On the first day, we just wanted to have a look around. With no particular destination in mind, we found somewhere to park the car then just went for a wander. We found the cathedral, and beside it a mini Christmas market complete with a Madeiran village section, where people in costume were displaying traditional crafts and cooking over log fires.

It was odd seeing the place decorated with things like snowmen when the temperatures were around 15-17Β°C all week! There were some pretty lights though, including some made to look like the Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise flowers that were planted everywhere. There were also loads of cute little lizards all over the place… anywhere there was a wall, there was a lizard!

It was nice to be beside the sea again, and smell the salt in the air. That’s something I really miss in Karlsruhe!

We went for a walk in one of the local parks (there are many!) and I found a rainbow in a fountain.

After walking around for a while on the first day, we decided we were hungry so we headed back to the traditional Madeiran huts to grab a bowl of soup and some of the local bread. Bolo do Caco is a round, flat bread (similar to a Stottie in the North-East of England). It’s baked on a flat stone slab called a Caco – Bolo do Caco literally means bread cooked on the Caco (actually, Bolo is technically the Portuguese word for cake). At the Madeira Story Centre we read that the bread was originally baked on large pieces of roof tile – caco de telha – which is where the name Caco for the stone slab comes from. The bread is traditionally served smothered in a garlic and herb butter – not all that healthy, but absolutely delicious!

After eating our soup on that first day, we headed back to the car before the time we had paid for ran out. But on the way, we stopped by the Mercado do Lavradores (Worker’s Market) for a quick look. You might want to look away now if you don’t like dead fish πŸ˜‰

I think that’s enough for one post! Tomorrow I shall share some pictures of the artwork on the doors of the old town. I think they deserve a post of their own πŸ™‚

~ I am including Madeira as my January 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge, even though part of the holiday actually took place in December ~