A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Portugal - Chapter 3

One of the things we noticed in Madeira is how much it is like Hawaii. Not quite as tropical, but very close. There are the traditional Hawaiian flowers like Hibiscus and Bird of Paradise everywhere. Not to mention banana trees all over the place, along with mango and papaya. Waterfalls, tropical gardens, warm breezes. It's no wonder that when we go to Hawaii, we run into so many Portuguese people!

A lot of them migrated to Hawaii and we also discovered that some of Ed's favorite "traditional" family foods (like sweetbread - no, this one is REALLY bread!) and a couple of other things probably have more Hawaiian origins than Portuguese. We tried to find some of his favorites and met with many blank stares. Except for Malasadas. Those are a fried bread thing that is similar to Italian Zeppoli and Mexican Sopapilla. Incredibly good, but apparently they only make them before Lent because there was nary a malasada to be found on Madeira or the mainland. Ed also found that our tour guide knew about these little fried cornbread squares that had kale in them. Didn't find them in any restaurants, but at least someone knew about them!

And lava rock. There were some areas that had these wondeful beds of lava rock that were so beautiful. In fact, in this one village there was a natural swimming pool made from the rock. Oh, and Ed had us all fooled with the photo of his head perched on the rock. He wanted it to look like, you know, his head was resting on the rock. I kept saying "Move your head up a bit and hide that shoulder!" But it just wasn't working, plus the people walking by made him nervous. So, instead, he looks like one of those little heads that you hang off shelves - you know with the little nose hanging over. Not exactly what he had in mind, I'm quite sure.

One of my favorite spots was Santana where most of the village used to be made up of these little A-frame houses. There are only a few of them left now, plus two for tourists to see. Luckily our tour guide had an "in" with an old man who still lived in his house and welcomed tourists to come inside and visit. Which, of course, we did. He sat in his living room passing out cookies and talking with people.

While we were visiting Santana it was raining quite a bit. We had started to do another levada walk and it was drizzling. Nothing too much. So we kept walking. Then it really started coming down. By the time we got back to our tour van, I was soaked. Here's we are at lunch - truly, I don't normally look like this!!

Our five days in Madeira were over and next stop on our vacation was the southern end of Portugal - the Algarve. Here's a parting shot of one of the villages in Madeira.


namaste said...

the landscape pictures are breath-taking!

i would love to sit and talk with that villager that invites tourists into his cottage. that is so cool!

Anonymous said...

I love that banana tree :)

It's Me said...

The ocean was calling my name! Wow! What a vacay....and especially with the one you love! Scenery is amazing! I would never want to come home....never!

Jenni said...

You hung out with that guy, passing out cookies (to other tourists who stopped by to visit)? I bet that was interesting. Could he speak English?