This is the last trip of our timeshare exchange to share (some of you may be grateful) and it could be titled "the trip from hell" or a least the traveling part.
Pestana Village in Funchal, Medeira is located around 535 miles from Lisbon, Portugal so yes, it was to be a long flight...around 12 hours but when you add a 12 hour delay in Philadelphia that is over 24 hours trying to get somewhere! The only good thing that came from this was that US Airways gave us a $200.00 credit for another trip after I complained but it didn't help the long hours go by while we waited. We arrive at around 1:00 AM and of course the only thing open was the check in area and our luggage was lost on top of it all.......for 4 days our luggage was lost and finally came just in time to keep us from rotting away. Note: always take a carry on to tide you over in case of this situation (lesson learned).
The islands of Mederia are much like our Hawaiian islands, mild temperatures year round and people from all over Europe come to vacation. The city of Funchal includes a superhighway running west and east with amazing technology and in fact the whole structure of the island is very well planned. The facility was very tropical
and included a daily breakfast buffet that tended to be more English style with cold cuts and breads but still able to have eggs cooked to your liking and toast but no hash browns to be found.
Most of the visitors spent their time playing in the pool but we opted to take tours and learn about the area. They have taken great care to utilize all the land on the island and to preserve it with planting trees to keep down erosion. The whole island is like one big hill and this affords a most interesting activity of all......bob sledding but this is done in a wooden one! These were just on display in front of the resort but this is how they look for real and the deal is that two guys with rubber boots and long sticks guide this thing down this HUGE hill. Did we do it??? Of course! Got a little hairy when a truck came up the hill and the two guys had to jump off and stop it to let them pass...
The best part of Funchal? The people........very friendly and most of the time they spoke not only English but French, German, and more and the most amazing thing to me is........the bar tender for example, would speak to one couple in French, a co-worker in Portuguese and us in English all while serving us a drinks!
A laid back lifestyle out of the city..
Notice the card designs on the walkway. They had pebbled streets everywhere and they were beautiful............
One afternoon we took the bus to the open market
where they sold everything imaginable including fresh fish on the bottom level. This is where I got my first glimpse of these little cars that now are appearing here in the US.
An interesting observation at the resort was that the people that worked there rotated almost daily so the person who served you dinner may be hosting you at the breakfast buffet the next morning or cleaning around the pool while you drank your morning coffee. They were very well equipped and always very pleasant.
The week soon ended and it was time for the dreaded flight back home and guess what? They lost our luggage again and it didn't turn up for another 4 days! It is a little difficult to be patient with these situations but so goes travel.
The point of out of the ashes was to share that even though buying the timeshare was not the smartest thing we have ever done...it did help us to get our feet wet for travel in far away places.........