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Grutas e Centro de Vulcanism, Porto Moniz & Paul de Cerro

Up, up and away

semi-overcast 33 °C

Saturday, July 27, 2019

We headed off over the mountainous interior to the north side of Madeira this morning. Because Madeira is so hilly they have developed quite an affinity for tunnels in order to cut down on some of the steep and windy roads. For such a small island they have way more than their share of tunnels through the mountains. Dave didn’t want to miss the views by going through the tunnels so we took the high road, partly across the island instead. The roads were somewhat steep but more windy with drop-offs that went 100’s of metres down into the valleys below. Our first destination was a town called Sao Vincent and the Grutas e Centro de Vulcanism (volcanic caves) and a trek through a 1.5 km long lava tube and a visit to their museum to learn about the formation of Madeira.


Better informed we headed west down the north coast road, through many more tunnels to a town called Porto Moniz known for its saltwater swimming holes formed in the lava right on the ocean. Lunch was a local favorite called espada, beef skewered on a bay laurel branch and cooked on a barbecue (by Dave and Fred). Fred, Sasha, and Lucas then donned their bathing suits and headed for the pools that were reportedly quite refreshing.


Back in the car we drove back towards the central plateau of the island, Paul de Cerro. No main road here but narrow winding, uphill roads with old school tunnels carved out of the rock. From the side of the road the cliffs went fairly straight down to the small towns in the valleys far below. Went we did get up to the plateau, above the clouds, the views were out to the Atlantic Ocean. Along the crest of the hill was a wind farm and a few cattle were scattered about.


On the way back home we stopped at a small roadside poncho tavern. Poncho is a local drink made with fruit juice and alcohol made with cane sugar. The tavern, although more of a stand, was tucked into the cliff at the side of the road with a few seats and a line-up out the door since it had a reputation as having good poncho. A place to stop briefly, on the way from here to there and have a poncho. It was quite tasty with definite citrus and alcohol flavours.


Back on the main road home, through a few more tunnels and a few more twists and turns. Another good day in Madeira.

Posted by fredgailmiller 00:36 Archived in Portugal

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