In addition to Disney's private island Castaway Cay, we stopped at four ports; Funchal, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Barcelona. Maisie and I enjoyed our time in each port but my one regret of the cruise was that there wasn't enough time so we only got a little taste of each city and I really wanted to see and experience so much more.
I didn't plan to do any of the Disney tours as none would have been of interest to Maisie, were just too long and many included sitting on buses for long periods of time, just not appropriate for us so I planned activities at each port that I though we both would enjoy.
Our first port of call was Funchal which was just amazing to see. The port and along the waterfront was flat but then everything else was built on and went straight up the mountain. The city was just blooming with beautiful flowers and the day we were there was the final day of the flower festival, the day of the final Grand Parade. We followed our plan for the day which was to walk along the waterfront promenade to the cable car and ride it up to Monte. We then spent a few hours walking around the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens, we visited the Monte Church, walked up and down the steep streets and then watched people ride in the toboggans. We then took the cable car back down and walked through the old part of town to the Fortaleza de São Tiago for a little look-see and then we stopped at a nice little restaurant to try some of the local foods for lunch. I really wanted to try traditional foods for the area so Maisie and I ordered and totally enjoyed bolo de caco which is a warm flatbread that is halved and slathered with garlic butter and we dipped that into Sopa de Tomate e Cebola which is a very traditional tomato soup loaded with onion. That was followed by a locally caught delicacy, Espada (black scabbard fish) prepared a la Delicia (with fried bananas), totally delicious. Our meal also came with a glass of sherry and cake for dessert, yummy, yummy and even Maisie loved everything.
After our meal it was about the time that the parade was starting so we walked back along the parade route and it was heaving with parade onlookers and people in colorful costumes and we saw the gorgeous "floats" covered with flowers. We had walked about 10 miles up and down the side of the mountain and were both exhausted so we made our way back to the ship where Maisie took a quick swim before dinner. I suggested to Maisie that we just go to dinner in casual clothes but she wanted no part of that and told me that she had to wear her fancy dress, tiara and heels so that everyone would know to call her Princess. She was totally knackered that night as she fell asleep at the dinner table, my little pirate princess picture in the previous post. We loved Madeira and only got to see a tiny piece of it, we really need to plan a return trip.
Riding the cable car up to Monte. Our cable car rides were the highlight of the trip for Maisie.
Maisie and I in the cable car, such beautiful views.
In the Oriental Gardens at Monte Palace.
Beautiful views everywhere and we must have walked up and down a few thousand steps.
There were thousands of pieces of garden art.
Maisie imitating art.
A common view of Maisie, her racing ahead and having fun and me following behind.
Wonderful statues around every corner.
Even the water taps were beautiful.
Side view of the Monte Palace.
1000 year old olive tree.
View of our ship from the Palace.
Maisie imitating another statue, this one in front of the Palace.
The Palace overlooks a beautiful lake with fountains and a waterfall. The lake is also filled with lovely statues and other pieces of art. There were also two beautiful, giant white swans.
Maisie...well being Maisie and having fun.
Once you work your way from the entrance down, around, up, down, up, down and down, down, down, the only way out was the way in so it was a long climb of hills and steps back to where we started.
Zimbabwe stone sculptures were found both in the gardens as well as inside a small museum.
At the foot of the Monte Church where all the toboggans were lined up.
Some daring folks out for a Sunday ride. Eammon made me promise that we would not do this activity as I guess the idea of men using their shoes as brakes as you slide down the road which you share with cars, worried him a bit.
The Monte Church. See Maisie way up there at the top of the steps!
View of our ship from the Monte Church.
Fortaleza de São Tiago. The Museu de Arte Contemporânea (Museum of Contemporary Art) is housed here as well as a nice looking restaurant but we just strolled around and admired the views.
And what gorgeous views we saw.
Maisie enjoying the last of the sherry...it was delicious!!
Walking along the parade route we saw many beautiful flower covered floats.
We also saw dozens and dozens of beautiful costumed girls.
I know that I previously posted the following two pictures but this is how we finished our day in Funchal.
My little pirate princess sound asleep at dinner.
My beautiful and so grown-up looking Maisie with her towel animal.
Next post, Port of Call ~ Cadiz