Monthly Archives: July 2016

Madeira moments – Campeoes

Where on earth is it?

Madeira – a Portugese island in the Atlantic Ocean.  It is part of an archipelago about 590 miles (950 kilometres) south of mainland Portugal and 370 miles (600 kilometres) west of Morocco.  The volcanic activity that produced it stopped about 6500 years ago and since then it has become a lush green place enjoying pleasant temperatures all year round.

Tim and I had been wanting to visit for several years – for the walking, the landscape and the levadas.

It certainly lived up to our expectations and more and, because of that, I will need to break down our two week trip into several posts.

Monday 11th July 2016 – Arrival, Airport, Taxi, Football

The small landing strip on this lovely island is infamous for being a bit of a scary place.  A single runway is perched on enormous stilts (albeit made of concrete) above the rocks with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other.  Sadly, as far as I’m concerned we were sat on ‘the wrong side’ of the plane to fully experience the approach.  Not to worry we would experience lots of hair raising journeys in time.

The day before we arrived in Madeira the Portugese had just won the UEFA Euro 2016 (football) tournament.   We had no idea.  Our Madeiran taxi driver  was keen to mention this as he drove us, at break neck speed, towards our hotel.  The goal scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, our driver proudly added, was born in Madeira.  Flags were flying from apartment balconies and I suddenly wondered how much celebrating our taxi driver had been doing as apparently “ah yess, big partees” had been going on through the night.  We congratulated him with our fingernails digging into the seats.

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Just arrived (phew). A yellow Taxi can be seen down on the road below!

As I write this now I’ve just seen a news article that the airport has been renamed Cristiano Ronaldo Airport.  He’s their hero!

I spotted this ‘graffiti’ when we were travelling out of Funchal.  I took this shot from a bus window!  We are Champions….

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This photo was much easier to take!

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Around Southwold – a special seaside town

If I could recommend one place to visitors coming to our part of the world then the town of Southwold would be it. At any time of the year it never fails to be an enjoyable day out.

We’ve had numerous visits with family or friends or just by ourselves and they are all remembered fondly.  Go for yourself and see if I’m wrong.

Here’s a walk we did last Saturday with my own recommended list of ‘things to see and do’.

Saturday 2nd July 2016

In school holiday time and weekends (with good weather) the town can be busy. Yesterday we made an early start to get ahead of the any crowds.

Park (for free) near the water tower, on the edge of town, between the cricket pitch and golf course.

A couple turned up with their rather nice car and parked opposite leaving the roof down which I thought was a brave move. Couldn’t resist taking a shot of it.

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Across the golf course, down a track to the river we met up with some young cattle.  Thankfully we didn’t want ‘their path’.

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Over the River Blyth via the Bailey Bridge (we call it the ‘iron bridge’) continue straight ahead then turn right following Sandlings Way signage.  The path Is narrow here with sweet smelling wild honeysuckle doing very well in the hedgerows. Heather too, which we thought was a little early – usually doesn’t appear until August.

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Cross open heath then a road and back onto a grass footpath that winds around the edge of woodland.  It’s always warm here and I keep my eyes open for adders.  One day, one day, I hope.

Eventually we find ourselves on a track that joins many other crossing Walberswick Marsh.  I mentioned this area in a previous post.  As far as the eye could see we had the place to ourselves except for one couple who stopped to ask for directions.  Here is Tim doing his best to describe the way – he is such a kind person.    I am always amazed that people venture out into areas like this without a map or guide book or leaflet or anything that could help them find their way!

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Heading south away from the marsh there’s a really good track that leads directly to Dunwich.  We picked up our pace – our destination was Dingle Hill cafe and it was coffee time.

We have seen this cafe, and adjoining plant nursery, grow (so to speak) and it now attracts large numbers of visitors.  We chatted to an older couple who were on holiday (who had a map) but couldn’t agree on their route.  We shared some ‘local knowledge’ to help them out.

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Down to the stony beach for our sandwich lunch we stared out at the sea and some adventurous individuals who had taken to the waters!

The route back to Southwold from here is straightforward – just follow the coast along the shore.  When the wind is behind you and the sun is out the walking is easy.  I spend a lot of time searching for ‘treasure’.  Sometimes it might be a simple white pebble or a tiny red stone, sometimes it’s a piece of green glass.  Treasures mean different things to different people!

We passed the ‘map owning cafe couple’ heading in the opposite direction with broad smiles and cheery “hellos”.

Before Southwold is Walberswick.  Two Duch couples were trying to work out how many euros to the pound outside an art exhibition before making a purchase.  In this current climate I couldn’t even guess.  I’ve got lots of Dutch family and can understand general conversation.  However we had a boat to catch and no time to chat….we could have been there a while.

The river splits these two places and you can either cross back over the iron bridge or take the ferry. Everyone must, I repeat, must take the ferry to experience the effort that an oarsman (or woman) has to make against a tide.  You also get to see the harbour from the comfort of a passengers seat in a rowing boat.

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Southwold beach huts.  They generally cost an absolute and eye watering fortune as does all the property in the town.  Maybe one day we will win the lottery and will afford to own a tiny part of it.

Here we are approaching the first group of huts, ten minutes from the harbour, with pier in the distance.

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Go half way along the front passing in front of the huts and some steep steps lead you up to this street scene.  The Nelson Inn is in the foreground – lots of history and lots of visitors.

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A couple of streets in is another popular drinking hole the Sole Bay Inn which is right next to the lighthouse.  The pub was packed apparently.

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The lighthouse itself was ‘open to the public’ but unlike the mill that I mentioned in my previous post there was a set charge of £4.00 each.  We decided that we actually liked the view of it from the street and went off to spend that money on ice cream and tea at Suzies Beach Cafe.  Me : Fruit Magnum, Tim : Double Peanut Butter Magnum.  Regular tea!

The cafe is set amongst the huts and seems to do a roaring trade.   Watch the world go past from this spot before drifting along the Main Street, window shopping as you go, back to the car.

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Other places to visit if you haven’t just walked 12 miles or if you’ve still got the energy :-

The pier, the Adnams Brewery, the Adnams shop & cafe.