Madeira Wine – Rooted in history

One of the many advantages on an apartment in the centre of Funchal are the number of places that can be visited without walking far. The old part of Funchal with its narrow streets and houses with wrought iron balconies sits alongside grand old properties given new leases of life beside wide boulevards and streets.

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February 14th

February 14th. St Valentine’s Day. But who was St Valentine and why do we celebrate it as a lovers’ day with red hearts, roses and sloppy cards?

St Valentine was a Catholic saint, or according to some sources one of two or three, all martyred, one of whom is said to have sent a letter to his loved one (his jailor’s daughter) from his Roman prison and signed it from your Valentine.

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Exhilarating

The boat was a Turkish gulet, twenty-three metres in length, called Bonita da Madeira, made from rich coloured woods and stainless steel, with masts that soared towards the sky. At the stern, we lounged on blue plastic covered mattresses formed into a relaxing seat. The relaxing aspect was further enhanced by a glass of Madeira wine – such a welcoming gesture as well as a great promotional tool for both boat trip and wine.

It’s getting near

The decorations are up, cards sent, presents bought and wrapped. Now only a few days more to go before the man in red drops down your chimney.

That old story always gives me a mixed feeling of giggle and shiver down the spine, for when I was at the tender age of believing the Santa thing, I felt deeply uneasy, okay afraid, that some stranger would come into my home while I slept.

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Never say never

In Madeira, as in Scotland, you are never far from the sea, though there the similarity fragments like the spray of a wave. Madeira can boast a fairly benign climate year round, although it does have its off days. But sitting in December, without feeling cold, on the balcony of your hotel room around midnight, wearing only

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