Uploaded 18-Oct-16
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Colorful Hillside Buildings in Funchal, Portugal

After 8 days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean you can imagine the joy of finally seeing LAND when our cruise ship landed in Funchal on the island of Madeira, Portugal. Yay, we are in Europe! What a breathtaking morning to rise before light and watch the sunrise come over the mountain as our ship pulled into port. We watched the local fishermen come in with their night's catch on deck. Beautiful terra cotta roofed homes sit along the edges of the mountains. Funchal is the capital city of the island of Madeira, Portugal, sitting in the Atlantic Ocean west of Europe. Madeira is a mountainous island often surrounded by clouds, fog, and rain. It has a mild Mediterranean climate. Funchal was named after the abundant wild fennel ("funcho" in Portugese) which was discovered by the first settlers. In Funchal a cable car transports people to the city of Monte halfway up the mountain, with views of terra cotta roofs and homes tucked into the hillsides, terraced gardens, a tall bridge spanning two mountains, and views of the aqua water and marina below. The wealthy used to stay in Monte because of the mild climate. Local men in traditional clothes continue the tradition of giving tourists rides in wicker toboggans down the roads from Monte into the town below. Funchal is a beautiful city full of cute little alleyways artistically decorated, mosaic patterns in cobblestone walkways, and friendly people. A bright yellow historic fort sits along the coast, and a working replica of the Santa Maria ship lies in the marina. Funchal is a beautiful place to visit!