Saturday, 14 May 2011

Monte

On the Wednesday of our holiday, we thought we would take a walk up to the town of Monte.  We had been told, by a local Rep' that it was not possible to walk as it was too steep a climb up the roads.  But, not to be deterred, we set out.  It soon became clear that it was to be quite a slog.  It was about 4 miles up the hill and it got steeper and steeper as we climbed.  The views were good...

... and they got better the higher we climbed.  As we neared Monte, we were being approached by taxi drivers offering to take us in their taxis, explaining that it was still good way to climb.  Some of them looked concerned, making me think we must have looked about ready to expire.  Still the views got better...
Closer still to Monte and we not only had to struggle against the incline, but we also had to keep stopping and pressing ourselves against the walls, to avoid the famous 'sledges' which give mad tourists a white-knuckle ride down the hill on upholstered, wicker baskets, steered by white-trousered men sporting straw boaters, scars and cauliflower ears!
The sledges, travelling at frightening speed on wooden runners down the roads seemed to be out of control despite the best efforts of the 'drivers' and the smell of burning wood hung in the air.  It was popular with some of the tourists, but not with us.  Stopping for the sledges to pass, gave us more chance to take in the view.  Malcolm seemed impressed as we looked down on Funchal...
More from Monte tomorrow, as we have to catch our breath first....
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