Virtuoso Life - March/April 2018 - 74
Port of Call
Gardens, sea cliffs, and strong wine and brandy fortify days in Funchal.
BY CHADNER NAVARRO PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANNA DÍS
Clockwise from left:
The Madeira Botanical
Garden above Funchal,
restaurant O Lagar,
and aging barrels at
Blandy's Wine Lodge.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
T ROUGHLY 290 SQUARE MILES,
Madeira, the largest of the islands in the Portuguese archipelago of the same name, packs in
black beaches, banana groves, and cherry
and apple orchards thriving in a yearround subtropical climate, and its capital,
Funchal, a glorious combination of European architecture, cobbled streets, rock
pools, and fragrant garden after fragrant
garden. Homages to its favorite son, soccer
superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, abound - a
statue here, a museum there, a hotel, and
the airport that now sports his name.
Long a favorite of European honeymooners and pensioners, this volcanic
speck 500 miles off the coast of Morocco
has gained favor with cruisers and other
travelers drawn to its burgeoning art
scene, outdoor adventures ranging from
big-wave surfing and snorkeling with
dolphins to scenic waterfall hikes, and
rustic regional cuisine distinct from the
cod-heavy kitchens of mainland Portugal. Cruise ships dock in Funchal, a city
of about 100,000 residents, which dates
to the 1400s and takes its name from
fields of wild fennel that greeted settlers.