Day 8. A visit to Sao Tiago Fort, Funchal

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Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth
We woke slightly later this morning then enjoyed our usual breakfast out on the hotel’s ocean front terrace.  We watched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth cruise liner slip gracefully into port,  her navy and white livery gleaming brightly in the morning sunshine.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when we ventured out for our morning walk down the steep hill into town.

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Santa Caterina Gardens
We strolled along a path through the pleasant Santa Catarina gardens and watched local school children taking part in an orienteering competition.  Pressing on, we wandered along the cobbled streets of Funchal’s old town and decided to take one final look inside the Mercado dos Lavrodores  (market hall).  But it wasn’t the best time to visit as it was heaving with cruise ship visitors and we had to elbow past hordes of tourists to see anything of the market stalls.   Leaving after only a few minutes we continued along to the bright yellow painted fort of San Tiago.

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The Fort
It’s free to enter and panoramic views of the harbour can be seen from its ramparts.  There was little else to interest us though,  a few information boards explaining the fort’s historical significance would have enhanced our visit, but alas there were none to be found.
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Christiano Ronaldo statue on the seafront in Funchal

We returned to the hotel along the seafront, a 40 minute gentle uphill stroll stopping for awhile near the marina for our morning caffeine fix.   A little further on we paused to take photos of the statue of Madeira’s most famous son,  no other than the footballer Christiano Ronaldo.

Back at the hotel we enjoyed a glass of the local Coral beer and a few crisps on our balcony and then prepared for a lazy afternoon relaxing by the pool, reading and gently dozing in the warm sunshine.  Later, we visited the hotel’s spa for the final time this week and relaxed in the sauna.  Returning to our room we quickly packed some clothes into our suitcases then headed down the hill for dinner and drinks.  Walking back, we stopped at a pavement cafe along the seafront for coffee and cakes,  then after climbing the steep hill to our hotel one last time we returned to our room to complete our packing.

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