13 April 2022
I got to fly my drone today. There was no wind and no-one about, so I headed down to the beach and sent it soaring above the harbour and the hotel. It is so small and quiet that it disappeared out of sight and sound long before it hit its ceiling height of 120m. I had a play around, familiarising myself with the controls and hitting the return to home button to make sure it didn’t make a break for freedom. I eventually relaxed enough to take some pictures. Not great pictures; just your run-of-the-mill drone pictures that you’ve no doubt seen countless times. But I am sure as my confidence grows I will get better.
Linda clearly didn’t want to be seen with me as I scoured the skies for photo opportunities, preferring her own company and a walk along the harbour looking at all the big yachts and cafes. She came back as the drone was being packed away, and then we both wandered along to the village to check the times for mass on Sunday. Madeira is very steep, and everything is either thigh-burning uphill or knee-wrecking downhill. Still, since this is Portugal, there are always plenty of cafes to break up the journey, and so we stopped for coffee, water and torrada before continuing our sun-drenched climb to the church.
The church is a small whitewashed building that Luis, our transfer driver on Monday, told us dated from the 17th century. However, upon closer inspection it looked much more recent, and inlaid into the patio was the date 1954, which seemed a bit closer to the truth. The building looked much more modern and the interior looked as if it was made to look like it dated from the 17th century, but had all the hallmarks of one dating from the mid-20th century. That is not to say that it wasn’t nice inside, because like most Portuguese churches, it certainly was very attractive; and it is not to say Luis was lying, because it is certainly plausible, if not possible, that this modern building stands on the site of a much older building.
Our next challenge was to get swimming. I wanted to go to the beach and swim in the sea, while Linda wanted the indoor heated pool. We compromised and went to the heated indoor pool only to find it full of screaming children with inflatable animals, about seven of them supervised by a sleeping middle aged woman. We decided it was too noisy and too busy, so we trooped out to the outdoor “heated” pool, which made ice feel warm. We gave up and retreated to the shade to nurse our disappointment with some gin and tonic.
After an all-too-brief lie down, it was time to get ready for dinner. While not a special location – the hotel’s a la carte restaurant – it was a special occasion, and they were ready with the bouquet of flowers that I had arranged to be delivered to Linda for her birthday. There then followed a pleasant and relaxing meal that was brought to our table, which made a pleasant change from the normal frenetic help-yourself buffet we have been used to.
After our repast we repaired to the hotel poolside for a couple of after-dinner G&Ts and to watch the sun set behind the palm trees as a Portuguese folclorico group provided the evening’s entertainment in the hotel bar. It was a nice end to a nice day.