Anna’s Madeira island adventure

Fresh from her recent visit to the island of Madeira, our social-media guru Anna reflects on how her travels have changed over the years…


In my backpacking days, my basic travel essentials checklist was money, passport, tickets, a spare pair of knickers and a toothbrush… in those days, the camera was used sparingly; film was expensive to develop and you had to wait a few days after you got back to see the end, often somewhat blurred results. Fast forward 25 years or so, and the checklist has expanded to include the mobile phone, laptop, charger and travel plug. Now we can now take as many photos as we want, and then, upload to social media within hours of the experience; family slide show evenings are a relic of the past. Although the way we share our holiday snaps, the packing checklist and, (in my case), the choice of accommodation have changed somewhat, there are some things which don’t change; the thought of visiting a destination I’ve never been to before still evokes feelings of excitement and slight trepidation. 


And while I can now take as many photos as I want, no matter how good the technology, the camera doesn’t quite capture everything. No image can truly show the infinite shades of green across Madeira. On the north side of the island, Porto Moniz’s crystal-clear sea pools are calm and serene. Protected by lava walls, swimming in these pools is a world away from the wild waves crashing in the open sea behind them.


Travelling with a friend who I’d met backpacking all those years ago, the island was new to us both. A 4×4 adventure took us through steep, narrow laneways used only by farmers to access their lush terraces growing banana and sugar cane. Once we were on rocky tracks and wooded trails, it was then we breathed fresh mountain air heavy with eucalyptus scent after a delicate afternoon rainfall.


What the camera still does though, is prompt us to remember the story behind the image. After a dusty walk along the desert-like Ponta de Sao Lourenco Peninsula in eastern Madeira, we headed back to Funchal later than we intended for our afternoon activity. There was no time for a break, and we planned our quick turnaround from grubby walking clothes to attire more appropriate for ladies taking a sophisticated afternoon tea at the renowned Belmont Reids hotel. When we arrived at our hotel, we carried out our plan with military precision, hopped into a taxi at the scheduled time and walked onto Belmond Reids’ tea terrace, looking the part and smelling somewhat sweeter than an half an hour earlier. We scrubbed up pretty good and we have the pictures to prove it !


Archipelago Choice Madeira Specialists

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