Re: Lock down in Funchal, Madeira


Ernest Bull
 

On 3 May 2020, at 17:07, timsinc Sinclair <timsinc@...> wrote:

Today we reached Madeira,

I have landed at Madeira twice, and once each at Las Palmas, Ascension, and St Helena, on Union Castle ships between Southampton and Capetown. Also did an emergency stop to take on ballast into Dakar, Senegal.  Once out, twice back. (Flew out to Rhodesiain ’52 with RAF, came back on Athlone Castle in ‘53. Emigrated to S Africa in ’66 on Capetown Castle and returned in ’75 on the Edinburgh Castle.

Madeira never struck me as anything special. The traffic and driving were atrocious. An endless cacophony of squealing brakes, blasting of motor horns, crumpling bodywork and streams of very loud Portuguese invective. I do not think that I ever saw a car there that hadn’t been bashed from all angles.

Ascension was occupied by the US Navy and its Space Agency. My strongest memory was of the ship sailing for over a day through massive islands of floating rubbish that had been dumped in the Atlantic by strings of floating skips loaded with garbage.

St Helena was fantastic. Like one big film set for pirate films. Its most outstanding feature, at the top of an almighty list, including where Napoleon lived and died, is Jacob’s Ladder.
Climbing its 699 steps is one thing, but coming down again is extremely weird and one has to experience it to even start to understand what it is like. The steps were very worn and irregular and we had to look where we were stepping. Looking at our feet all the time, we all got the feeling that we were drunk and leaning backwards at about 45 degrees. We had to keep stopping and turning round to look upwards in order to regain our balance. I see now that the H&SE have since “made improvements”. 

One for your bucket lists although MH hostile, I should imagine. There are only 138Km of single lane highways with a speed limit of 30mph. And steep! Uphill traffic has right of way.
________

ErnB

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