12 Days of Cruisemas/4th Day

By Avid Cruiser Contributor Geoff Edwards

Funchal

Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat, and has been the capital of Portugal’s Autonomous Region of Madeira for five centuries. It’s been a rocky road for Funchal.

The island, and Funchal specifically, were vulnerable to privateer and pirate attacks. In 1566, French corsairs attacked with a force of 1,200 men, on three main ships and small fleet of eight support craft. This armada anchored in the beach of Formosa, disembarked a contingent of 800 men that marched toward the city in three columns. Funchal’s fortifications were assaulted by land, where its defense was thin; the defenders could not reposition the canons directed toward the sea. The city suffered a violent sack that lasted 15 days until the last of the armada left.

Little remained of Funchal, but today, the population is 140,000, and it is a bustling city.

Although another attack is not to come, they are still alert.

It is lovely to walk along the pedestrian way. There are tons of outdoor cafes and no empty tables. It’s lunch time.

And, as is typical of Spanish type towns, there is a statue of one of the cherished in the middle of the square

There are also those not so important, but hey, put up a statue.

One of the things that puzzled me was the white area on the cathedral.

All I could think of was it was space for a coming advertisement;  “Praise God and shop here.”

Another building had me questioning. I couldn’t imagine the space inside and wondered what caused it to be built so slim. Maybe the architect only had a narrow roll of paper for his plans.

Heading along the waterfront, back to the ship,

I was captivated by a sign that said, “Sardine Salad and Sangria 8.50 Euros.” I was sold. It was very tasty, and  I just bet those sardines were caught that morning.

A sad sight was waiting at the pier.

A man with whom I had chatted was being taken to the hospital. When I met him he was on oxygen and in a motorized wheelchair. I don’t know what happened. He talked to me as they wheeled him out, but certainly wasn’t happy. Better it happened early than in the midst of the Atlantic.

I was looking forward to dinner as I was a guest at the table of two of the social hostesses. Yeah right, once again I was at the end of a table for twelve. There was some fun conversation, but it felt weird not to be able to talk to either of the hostesses except to say goodbye.

Tomorrow is the first of nine days at sea.

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