14 April 2022

It was overcast when I got up this morning, so Linda and I decided we would go for a walk instead of our normally hectic holiday schedule of sitting by the pool drinking beer and wine. We just presumed that with the cloud cover and cooler temperatures it might be nice to explore our surroundings a little. The only problem is: this is Madeira, and everything is uphill. Up very steep hills. When the Portuguese first settled this island, they must have brought ropes and grappling irons to get a foothold. You see, the hotel is at the bottom of a sheer cliff that has been carved away to make space for it. Almost everything is at the top of the cliff, and to get to it involves climbing… lots of climbing. And, unlike continental Portugal, there does not seem to be a cafe on each corner to offer sustenance and respite to weary travellers.

We beat a retreat downhill and stopped off at a beachside cafe for some refreshments and to allow our weary legs to recover from the unfamiliar exertions. Of course, the cool temperature and overcast sky had by now been replaced by a blazing sun in a clear blue sky, meaning it must be time for a swim. So back to the hotel we trekked to don swimming attire. I prefer swimming in the sea to swimming in a pool full of excited children with inflatable animals, so I headed down to the beach to soak my tired limbs in the Atlantic, leaving Linda with a glass of Espumante to contemplate the arctic chill of the hotel’s outdoor pool – the heated indoor pool having been requisitioned by screaming children from the hotel’s kids’ club.

I came back to the hotel refreshed from my dip only to find Linda exactly where I left her. The water was way too cold, she complained. I went in to prove that it was no colder than the sea (although it was a close-run thing) and tried to entice her to take the plunge, but to no avail. Defeated, I joined her at the table for a while before going upstairs to crash my drone trying to take a picture of people playing beach volleyball. But that’s an altogether different story.

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