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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 1 - 10 of 1941 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Nov 23, 2017 12:00 AM Last day on Madeira

Last day on Madeira This is my third visit to Madeira byt I never had enough time to see the Botanical Garden. The problem is that it is located far from the "centro" and some 200 m above sea level. Because the lack of the signs is also not easy to find in the labirynth of the streets on the slopes.
City bus 31 goes there (1,95 euro each way) but I decided to climb :)
It is important to go up the little streets Rochinha an Camino do Meio on the edge of ribeira. It is serious, steep climbing! Allow min. 30 minutes each way. Once you will see the yellow fence and yellow taxi cabs you are close to. They charge 5,50 euro entry fee, no discounts... There are cacti and ferns and images made of flowers, but for somebody who saw bigger gardens it could be disappointing.
Down in the city I took a walk to the coastal area of the Fort San Tiago - this is the oldestpart of Funchal with mane restored houses and streets converted into pedestrian zones. Many, many restaurants for tourists - they sit and eat and eat.... :)
This is my last day on exotic Madeira. Tomorrow I will fly back to the continent...

Nov 22, 2017 12:00 AM From ocean level to 1818 m (by car)

From ocean level to 1818 m (by car) Yesterday I asked the lady in tourist info office about the weather forecast for today. -It will be like today: sunny with some haze in the mountains! I booked little car...
It was raining in the morning, but the car was booked... I thought that on the level of 1818 m on Pico Areeiro I will be above clouds. I took me 1,5 hours driving on narrow mountain roads to reach the radar station on the peak. Clouds around, rain and wind, almost zero visibility. Sorry, bad luck! Going down I stopped at Monte Church to see the grave of the last Austrian emperor and famous tobogans used by locals to slide the tourists down... Funny - see the picture!
Then I turned again to the mountains. There is famous vally Curral das Freiras on the level 633 m with great views from little settlement. You go there through the eucalyptus forest and 2,6-kms tunnel. Yes, I saw the settlement, but nothing else. Bad luck!
Ironically, when I was returning car in Funchal at 4 pm the great sun was shinning down there (but the peaks were still in the clouds)...
I always repeat talking to the young travellers: you should perfectly prepare your expeditions, but you also need a bit of luck! :)

Nov 21, 2017 12:00 AM By ferry - back to Madeira...

By ferry - back to Madeira... It is time to say goodbye to the Porto Santo - the new, lovely island in my collection! Carla - charming host from "Colina" took me to the ferry. There are also flights between Madera and Santo but they are so expensive, that almost all tourists and locals use "Lobo Marinho" ferry.
They sell tickets in advance via internet and round trip costs 46 euro.
After 2,5 hours sailing in Madeira's capital Funchal I was walking half an hour by cobbled streets to find my "Sirius" hotel. Recommended! If you book in advance you can have here a room with bath and substantial buffet breakfast (ham, cheese, yoghurt) for just 21 euro...
I was walking again the narrow streets of the old town to the Farmers Market (Merado Lavradores) where ladies in the local traditional costumes sell flowers and kilo of bananas costs 1 euro...
In the street going from the cathedral down to the coastal promenade I found the monument dedicated to Polish Marshall Jozef Pilsudski - very important person in our history. He spent here 4 months in 1930/31 years. I will keep the fingers crossed for thecweather fir tomorrow - I plan to rent a small car and go up to the mountains...

Nov 20, 2017 12:00 AM Santo: 200 m up, 100 m down, and again!

Santo: 200 m up, 100 m down, and again! Santo is a hilly, volcanic island. They are renting here the bikes for 12 euro per day, but I do not recommend them unless you are really good in mountain biking. I myself rely on my experienced legs :) Today I was exploring south-west of Santo. Peved road is climbing here to the level of 115 m. At the end of the pavement you have 4 options, 4 gravel roads. One goes to the Espigao Peak. Then you must go down and climb again to the Miradouro (view point) Flores - absolutely worth the effort. Then you are coming down to go to the ocean level to see unusual bay of Zimbralinho. After return to " 115" you can continue via fourth "finger" to Moreno... This was my program for today - it took me 6 hours and more then a hundred pictures. Finally I went down to Calheta at the end of the 9-kms beach just to come to the conclusion that this part of the beach is the best. Probably also one of the best beaches in Europe. Hmmm... It it Europe here?

Nov 19, 2017 12:00 AM Columbus was here

Columbus was here The famous discoverer of America spent some time on Santo Island. Long enough to fall in love and to merry the daughter of the local governer... In the center of Vila Baleira, next to the church you can visit stone house called Casa de Colon. There is small museum and they charge 2 euro entry fee...
After great sunrise - just in front of my window - I had a sunny day to visit the pier, the beach (there are black stones on the white sand - not shown on the promotional pictures!) and to walk up to the Mirador Portela (180 m) giving the best view of the town and 9-kms white beach. From this view point I took the walk to the beautiful valley Serra de Fora and down to the easterm coast of the island. Gravel road goes from there to the sheer south-east cape of the island. Yes, it is possible to walk around this cape - they dug 50-m tunnel under the high rock so you can go to the southern side and follow poor path heading to the port. I was happy to see this area, facing little Cima Island with its lighthouse. But how to come back home? No buses, car drivers here do not know what is hitchhiking - their cars are not bougth to help the others... :) As a result I walked another 8 kms from the port to my pension on paved road. It was 5,5- hours walk in total... But sun is shining and I expect another interesting day tomorrow!

Nov 18, 2017 12:00 AM The farthest one, the highest one...

The farthest one, the highest one... From the perspective of Cabeco, where I live the farthest cor ner of the island is the little and rough peninsula of Terra Cha. Nobody live in this part of Santo Island, no public transport, one or two cars per hour. But paved road goes there, so I was forced to pay 13 euro (more then my daily diet) to take a taxi. It was worth: vereda (trail) starts from the road, it is well maintained and marked. After 1 hour of gently climbing it took me to the ridge with a great view of the eastern cliffs. 20 minutes later I reached the top of Pico Branco, 450 m above ocean, where I photographed even nicer views of northern coast. Terra Cha view point is just 15 minutes from the trail fork. There is located the only shelter on this trail (but firmly locked) and interesting volcanic chimneys around small chapel.
The walk back to the road took me an hour. What to do now? No transport...
I decided to walk back across the island, through the mountains...
Not easy, but on the route there was a pass between Castelo Peak and Pico de Facho - the highest on the Island. I wanted to take the opportunity to make a detour and climb it. And I did it! There were great view from the top, where antenna is installed, especially to the Juliana Peak... Nice nature. I have been down in the capital of the island only at 4.30 pm - after 6,5 hours on the trail. Tired but happy!

Nov 17, 2017 12:00 AM To the other side of the island...

To the other side of the island... Santo Island (formally called Porto Santo) is 14 kms long and 7 kms wide - it makes it walkable... Today I took the walk to the other side if the island - to Fonte de Areio - the great view point on the high cliff. Paved road goes there from the capital of the island, but the traffic is minimal...
From the 100 meters cliff you can see roaring Atlantic Ocean and little beach Salemas accessible by steep, gravel road.
On the way back I tried to hitch-hike, but it seems that the locals want you rather to call the taxi using your mobile - they probably think that the foreigners are here to pay, since the tourism is here the main industry. In the main settlement there is a supermarket and the prices are not high. The loaf of basic bread -500g costs one euro, dozen of eggs 1,80 and bar of butter 1,60.
It was coludy day today, but still 20 deg Celsius. I am waiting for sunny weather to climb the highest peaks of the island...

Nov 16, 2017 12:00 AM Ferry to Santo Island

Ferry to Santo Island Some people go to Santo from Madeira just for one day... I want to stay longer, to have enough time to explore it on foot... Return ferry ticket cost 46 euro and you can buy it online. It was still dark at 7 am when I was going fron the old town to the ferry dock. Warm enough to walk in the shirt only. It is around half an hour walk... They checked my ticket an then I was climbing three decks up where open deck and cafeteria is located. We started the sail at 8 am, just after the sunrise. And I had a chance to see the nice coastal landscape of Madeira while the ship was sailing along the eastern coast - as far as St Lawrance Point, where the lighthouse stands on the rocky island. I met on the deck nice couple from Cracow - more and more Poles travel now abroad... They intend to rent the bikes and go around Santo in one day...
Then Santo Island appeared on the horizon with nice hills and long sandy beach along the southern coast. After 2,5 hours of sailing we docked at the miniature harbor. Public bus going to the town was waiting on the jetty - it costs 1,60 euro for just 3 kms trip. Then I was walking more then an hour to my pension in Cabeco do Ponta. Little bue bus goes along this coastal road but only few times per day. It is so nice here! Palms, flowers in blossom. Let's have a rest!

Nov 15, 2017 12:00 AM 3 flights, 7 hours on the planes....

3 flights,  7 hours on the planes.... It was mid-day when I boarded LOT flight to Warsaw. We landed on time and two hours later I boarded TAP plane to Lisbon. Vduring 4-hours flight they served hot meal with wine or Sagres beer. In Lisbon I was a little bit afraid because I had only 45 minutes for plane change. They did not park the plane at the terminal, but far away, using the sneaking bus to bring us to the arrival hall. But this was the same terminal 1, and I was anyway on time for boarding the third plane - to Funchal on Madeira.
It was still 19 deg here Celsius when we landed.
In front if the terminal building there is the stop of Aerobus going to the city. One way price is 5 euro, but if you buy return it is only 8.
I get of at MERCADO stop. My Residencial Funchal was just round the corner. Surprise! They have my booking but want to resettle me to the other pension - to MONACO. What can I do in the strange town at 10 pm? Good night!

Nov 14, 2017 12:00 AM Oh, new voyage!

Oh, new voyage! Again I fly south to escape the November cold and December dark days and by the way also see something new and fascinating. Initially I wanted to start this trip from the visit of Northern Algeria. It turned out, however, that Algeria has introduced visa impediments that without a invitation from the Algerian virtually exclude travel. I had to find quickly another option and decided to fly with cheap airlines to Portugal and then to use a ferry to travel to the unknown island of Santo in the Atlantic Ocean (via Madeira).
Then I'll go back to Barcelona to embark a cheap ship sailing to Brazil. On the coast of this country I will visit several new ports, I will spend again a day in Rio, and when it will come to say goodbye to the ship in Santos, I will continue on buses south - to the "mysterious" Saint Catherine Island. Planes, ships, ferries, buses - it could be a great adventure! I intend to return to Poland just before Christmas. Please keep your fingers crossed, dear friends!

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