Madeira A place so laidback they don’t have a word for ‘quickly’ Travel notes
Main picture: The market in the Old Town of Funchal. Above: Largo do Colegio Old Funchal
roads, the houses built into seriously steep slopes, and we got a detailed lecture on how the water travels from north to south. Who knew a drainage system could be so fascinating? Seriously, ask about a tour. The lush scenery is beautiful and the chance to learn about life not so long ago is fascinating.
Right, it was time for me to, cough, play golf. David Whyte, a Scot who organises breaks for golfers, tells me that I have a nice swing. He’s a terrible liar. We took a ferry to the island of Porto Santo where there is a Seve Ballesteros course. My hero designed a lovely golf course with lots of grass and only a small bit of water. I found the water. That’s how good I am.
The golf is superb. It’s all quite new so the clubhouses are top notch. The food is great. Of course it is. And then there is poncho, the local liquor, which sorts out the men from the boys. Sheesh.
Lastly, I have to talk about the Old Town in Funchal. With its brightly coloured doors, many restaurants, including Taberna Ruel which for this foodie is in his top ten, wee bars, shops and narrow streets that are great to potter around, this was a real highlight.
On a Saturday night, with red wine in hand, I sat outside a bar on my own, in my shorts, watching the world go by and thinking: “I like this place, I’ll be back”.