Friday 11 December 2015

Levadas at Ponta do Sol

Out and about on the early bus today. It was only five miles as the crow flies to Ponta do Sol, but we endured a bus ride of over an hour to get there. One minute at sea level, a few minutes later hundreds of metres above it, but all the while twisting and turning, with amazing drops on either side.
We stopped frequently, mainly to pick up smiling old ladies who all had a chat and laugh with the driver. Just as I was starting to feel pretty ill, he announced that we had arrived, so we eagerly disembarked. Phew!
We then found out that the start of our walk was at least a couple of hundred vertical metres above the bus stop, so we set off marching upwards, past beautiful houses with flower filled gardens and patios.
Finally, we were ready to begin our walk.
We set off along the Levada Moinho which was recommended on the Walk Madeira website. It was lovely and we were soon out in the countryside following the levada as it made it's way up the mountain. It was a little bit 'safe' though and Darren in particular enjoys a bit of danger built into his walks.
Fortunately, we had the choice of returning via the Levada Nova, although there was warnings about precipitous drops and for any vertigo sufferers to stay away.
It was higher up the mountain than the Levada Moinho and we climbed a long staircase up to it. The difference was immediate, with no handrail for most of the route, except for the very scariest sections.
Suddenly we turned a corner and were walking in a cave carved out of the rock. It went behind a thundering waterfall and then around to the entrance to a tunnel.
It was very pleasing to see a light at the end of it, and we walked closely together through it, using the light from Darren's phone.
At the other side it was more of the same, although it is difficult to show how steep it was on my photos. In picture six we set off a path towards the bottom of the photo, but returned above the white village on the right.
Unfortunately, all too soon it was over and we headed back downhill, ending up in the beautiful little town of Ponta do Sol.  I bought a well deserved an ice cream and sat beside the harbour enjoying the sunshine and the view.

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