Here you are in our second article on Madeira. If you missed the beginning, no worries, just click on the links below:
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The island is ideal for hiking, with family, friends, or alone, amateurs or seasoned. We present 3 excursions that we had the pleasure of carrying out as a family.
Source : GoogleMap
STROLL 1 - Levada da Serra do Faial – August
Source : geoportail.lneg.pt
The first follows the Levada da Serra do Faial, one of those precious canals on the island.
A little to the north-east of Funchal, the capital, we find ourselves at the edge of the built-up areas alongside this trickle of water which plunges its meanders into lush corners.
Very quickly, we sink into this forest which oscillates between real nature and a garden paradise.
The agapanthus flourish there wonderfully. There are never too many, however, like all imported species, they proliferate.
Originally from Australia and South Africa, they paint here paintings of controlled nature, romantic as one pleases.
Here and there, the trees are spaced out and the views emerge on the beauties of the island where the red roofs, the slopes and the ocean are dotted.
Plants catch our curious eyes. The colors, the shapes of the flowers are captivating.
Brugmansia candida Passiflora tripartita Leonotis leonurus
And then, we are surprised to find there, in an impressive size, a tree which for our temperate, continental habits, is only a bast shrub, the Clethra.
It is also an opportunity to observe the mimosas more closely.
Acacia mearnsii ou acacia noir
From time to time, our journey offers us intimate face-to-face meetings, where time stops and suspends us in elsewhere.
An abandoned house. There are plenty of them on the island, but this one has retained all of its charm despite the fire that caused its occupants to flee.
And then a sheepfold, perhaps, accompanied by its Echium nervosum.
STROLL 2 - Hike of the 25 fonts - October
Source : geoportail.lneg.pt
Start at the top of the island, in its center. This walk is unquestionably the most beautiful in terms of discovering nature in its purest state. Since it is very popular, it is best to tread its paths outside of busy seasons. October is the perfect month for this.
Barely deposited on the mountainside, we follow the guide and we rush into the forest, humid, rich, strong. The smells, the vapors envelop us and impregnate us. The path is still paved, the only element that connects us to our world.
The gaze is invited in the distance towards landscapes worthy of Jurassic Park.
Sonchus fruticosus in the foreground
The cascade of the 25 fonts pours its water, in multiple jets, along the vertical slopes of a verdant rock of laurels and arborescent heather clinging.
And then the vegetation engulfs us, the Laurus novocanariensis and the calluna scoparia 'Maderincola' bend down, lie down, invite us into the throat of the primary forest, under its glottis, for the time of a descent.
Often the water joins us, hurtles down the slopes, hops, bounces from a pebble to a grassy clump. The paths are narrowing, losing the last traces of civilization.
Trees become deformed, disordered, no longer obey the same rules. A last escape to remind us where we are.
At the crossroads, we fork obliquely and descend the slope.
This horned lady must have gotten lost, wedged between two strings of steep steps.
After more than an hour under the armfuls of heathers, the path finally opens onto the majestic Levada des 25 fontes. She continues to be rocked by the wooded arches. However, we still follow each other in single file, enjoying the last panoramas before succumbing to the cradle of the trickle of water.
After a long journey, adopting the peaceful rhythm of water, we reach our Grail, the waterfall of 25 fonts. In a setting of wet rocks and lush greenery, water oozes everywhere, spreads in exquisite mists, falls, crashes, splashes.
We pose. And then we leave by a new path, to attack the mountain. Our guide promised us more flatness, then.
It leads us under the rock, a shortcut. To pass from the north to the south of the island, and to transport the treasure to its destination, the aqueducts pass under the mountain. The water circulates there in the open or confined air, carrying with it ferns that colonize the walls.
We walked more than a kilometer and a half in the darkness, guided by the jolts of the wandering water. It sometimes spread at our feet, which we then lit up with our smartphones.
Once outside, we found the mountain, its mist and its flowers.
STROLL 3 - Porto Moniz and ports - October
In Madeira, many hikes offer the express visit of typical places such as small fishing harbors, ancestral villages or breathtaking viewpoints.
The rugged, sometimes steep landscapes are reminiscent of distant islands, from another continent, such as Reunion Island for example. However, Madeira is less than 4 hours away by flight.
The houses cling to the sometimes steep slopes.
The paths intertwine to make you sick. They must remain practicable, always
And sometimes, the mist gets involved, veils desires, exacerbates the beautiful bark of the eucalyptus.
Port of Câmara de Lobos, place prized by Wiston Churchil, suspended for a moment, far from the London hustle and bustle, to paint.
All around the island, water flows into water, tirelessly. The waterfalls are powerful, impressive, full of foam. The shores are steep, the beaches probably non-existent.
And then we come to Moniz and its natural pools, from above. The panorama is incredible.
Source : geoportail.lneg.pt
First, we weren't convinced. The world, the principle, the weather, we were between two showers, and perhaps the danger. Installed on the volcanic rock that tumbles into the ocean, setting foot is perilous and requires constant attention.
Also, we only had 2 hours, watch in hand, to eat and enjoy swimming. It was one o'clock.
Big mistake our reluctance. We chose the paying area because there was also a restaurant.
What pleasures it is to enjoy these natural pools with these ocean waves which suddenly rush over the piers. A thousand times better than the wave pools at Sian Park in Tenerife or those in Florida.
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Texts : GiiN WEB copywriter 2023
Photos : Bénédicte and Laurent des Jardins du Florilège 2021-2022