Our ship was docked in Funchal, Madeira from 8 am until 11 pm so after our morning tour we still had plenty of time to explore. We had some lunch then proceeded back to shore with the intention of taking the shuttle into town. Instead we hired a cab to take us outside the city to see some of the sites.Over half of the 250,000 population of Madeira live in Funchal and tourism has always been the major employer. The island is only 35 miles long and 13 miles wide, but is a very popular European holiday spot. Terraced farming and fishing are also contributors to the economy.
The taxi driver took us first to the fishing village of Camara de Lobos, where Winston Churchill stayed in the 1950s. We wandered around the little cove and amidst the racks of drying fish. We drove past many of the terraced farms on our way to the cliff top of Cabo Girao. All of the work on the land is done by hand since machinery cannot navigate the steep staircases between fields. Cabo Girao is the second highest sea cliff in the world (after Norway) at 1,902′. Since it was a lovely day the view was impressive indeed. Agricultural land is so precious we could even see farm plots at the base of the cliff.
On the way back to town we asked our taxi driver to drop us off at the castle that we had seen from the ship. It is called Peak Castle. After we toured around the castle for awhile we meandered down the cobblestone streets down the hill toward the dock.One absolutely must stop and check out any motorcycles one sees. We had a nice walk in the Jardim Municipal (Municipal Garden) before heading back to the ship; conveniently just in time for dinner.