Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Funchal is an island in the Atlantic ocean near the Canary Islands off the west coast of Northern Africa. Surprisingly lush, the island and the people made our day here just perfect.

Joined by Rena, who is the from the San Francisco area, the three of us climbed the small rock fort called the Fort of St. José which helped guard Funchal Harbour for at least 2 centuries

Fort of St. José

Kathryn, Fort of St. José lookout, Funchal Harbour, Portugal

After that we strolled down the promenade to the cable car which took us way up into the mountain to the Monte Palace.

cable car, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

cable car to Monte Parque Palace and tropical gardens

The Monte Palace gardens are rated by Conde Naste Traveller as one of the 13 most beautiful gardens in the world.

Kathryn & Rena, Monte Parque gardens, Funchal

We strolled down, down, down into the lush greenery amid statues, fountains, pools and eventually wound up at the palace which overlooks yet more gardens and the city and sea below.

skipping girl statue, Monte Parque Palace, Funchal, Portugal

skipping girl statue, Monte Parque Palace


waterfall, Monte Parque

The ticket price included a small glass of Madiera wine which we sipped on the patio before making the big trek back to the top.

Toboggan Basket Chair Rides

On the top of the mountain the narrow roadway was lined with 2-seater basket chairs on wooden skids and men wearing white shirts and pants with straw hats. I watched with envy as people sat in the chairs and the men pushed and pulled on the ropes to get the baskets sliding and then stood on the skids using their foot to steer the chair down the steep 2 kilometer hill. What a ride! I sooooo wanted to do this!

Madeira basket chair toboggan

We took the cable car back down to town where we strolled and had a lovely lunch on the terrace at the Almarante Grill. The roast suckling pork sandwich was scrumptious and the staff very friendly and helpful.

Brigitte, Kathryn, Rena at Almarante Grill

Brigitte, Kathryn, Rena at Almarante Grill

Our shopping trip continued and we stumbled across bins of fabric that we rummaged through to find the perfect fabric to make costumes for the Halloween Party on the ship.

fabric remnants, costume fodder

fabric store remnants stir up great costume ideas

Back to the ship and we quickly got ready for our dinner with the ship’s officer, HR Director Robert Vrooman who is from Seattle, Washington. Robert answered our questions about life aboard the ship and regaled us with funny jokes and stories. The dinner was over all too soon and we all headed off in different directions to continue our evening activities.

Robert, HR director, Norwegian Spirit

dinner with ship’s office Robert, HR director, Norwegian Spirit

afterpost kathryn abroad


  1. Syndee Painter says:

    We are going to be in Funchal for a day on a cruise. I am an heirloom seamstress and would love to visit some fabric stores. Could you tell me in what area the ones you visited were?

  2. and why didn’t you do the Toboggan Basket Chair Ride??? What a great time you’re having… you deserve it!

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