Video: Motorbike ride on Madeira

Those who come to Madeira often and hires a car to drive around might have noticed that some locals think that they were born too slow and seek to cross the borders of speed limits. Not only cars, but motorcycles, trucks and even some buses. Luckily not all members of the road have this ‘kick’.

But often you will hear from behind the roaring sound of a motor-devil that is announcing his presence … passes you by in a wink of your eyes .. and vanishes in the next curve leaving you with a impression of one second.

Most of these bikers do not care much about their own life and the only thing they want is to reach the climax of breaking the speed limits on the road.

Look at the video …. made here on Madeira. Watch the speedometer! This is low-flying! And guess how these guys were ‘dressed’ on their bikes? (the only sure protection would be the helmet).

And if the person who added this video is the one who was driving …. you would not believe how old he is ….. 😯

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill is one of the many great names the island of Madeira had the honour to have as a visitor. Other visitors we can recall are Empress Sissi of Austria, Emperor Karl I of Austria – Karl von Hapsburg (also known as Charles IV of Hungary), or George Bernard Shaw and so on.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-ChurchillSir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, a nature lover, visited the island not only for its landscape, the flowers, the beautiful scenes for his paintings, … but also to recuperate from the fatigue and illness that he started to surfer those days.

Accompanied by his wife Clementine and his daughter Diana, Churchill arrived in Funchal aboard the liner, The Durban Castle, on the 2nd of January 1950. They stayed at the Reid’s Hotel. Churchill worked on his war memoirs and was impressed with the various landscapes Madeira had to offer (and still offers) such as Camâra de Lobos, where he painted various pictorial images of the village.

Earthquake

No, do not be frightened! There was no earthquake here on Madeira. On the contrary of the Azores Islands … the archipelago of Madeira is very stable. Even when you consider that the whole archipelago (Madeira, Porto Santo and Desertas) emerged from the sea thanks to large eruptions and volcano activities 700,000 years ago.

Below you will see an image of the seismic activity of the mainland (Portugal) and Madeira (left corner below) of the last month.

seismic activity Madeira

The next image is of the seismic activity of Açores the last month:

seismic activity Azores

For more seismologic information go to The Portuguese Meteorological Institute

Of course … this does not mean we will never have a quake …. you never know when Mother Nature will a bad day ….

Review: Spa & Wellness – The Golden Residence

(By Willisha)

Yesterday my friend and I have treated ourselves with a beauty day in the newest hotel of Madeira, The Golden Residence Hotel (www.goldenresidencehotel.com). The hotel offers good Spa & Wellness facilities, with all kinds of treatments and packages, for reasonable prices.

We started with a Rasul (maybe you have the same question as me: what is a Rasul???). Well, this is a steam shower, you apply several sorts of clay all over your body (white for the face, yellow for the décolleté, brown for the belly, grey for the elbows, knees and feet and brown (lots of brown!) for the rest of the body. This relaxes you already and detoxes the body. You can do this alone or with your partner or friend (there is place for 2 persons), you can imagine the fun we had! After 20 minutes a soft shower started to sprinkle, so we could get rid of all the colours of our body.

My next step was the SoftPack. This is a superb experience: a bath that doesn’t make you wet! You are floating on a hot water mattress, while your body is absorbing the Aloe Vera (for example). After 10 minutes I was sleeping!

To complete the program you can choose for a massage like I did, but next time I want to experience the hot stone treatment. After a nice lunch in the restaurant it was time to enjoy the Turkish bath and the sauna.

This was our first visit, but surely not the last one!

    Would you like to write a short review of a (special) place you recently have visited here on Madeira Island? Then contact the editor.

Video: Paragliding above Funchal

There are a few ways to see the city of Funchal from sky. By helicopter …. by cable car …. from the cable balloon at the Marina.

But did you know there is another way to see all the Funchalense rooftops from above? Namely from a paraglide.

A guy from Madeira started his paragliding stunt from the mountain side behind Funchal and went all the way down …. to the beach at the Marina (maybe to go for a swim later on). All this (except the swimming part) he has captured it on film and placed it on YouTube.

    Click twice on the arrow in the image to start the video. If this does not work, then go here to visit the corresponding YouTube page.

Alberto Joao Jardim resigns

Alberto Joao JardimAlberto João Cardoso Gonçalves Jardim, (born Funchal, Madeira Island, February 4, 1943) president of the regional government of Madeira, resigns his office as a protest to the Portuguese government’s 2007 budget, which reduces fund for the islands.

According to Jardim the new budget would mean that he would not be able to complete projects undertaken during his 2004-2008 term. “This happens in the middle of our mandate. It’s a violation of our legitimate expectations“.

However the island is not in crisis as most people would expect when a government resigns. Since 1978 Alberto João Jardim (a Social Democrat) became successively and democratically elected for President of the Regional Government of Madeira all these years. He said he would run again in the next elections and “show the people of Madeira I am not escaping or jumping ship when times are hard.

His resignation will cause early elections of which the expectations are that he will win again and renew his leadership term till 2011. Actually you could say that this resignation is more kind of a ‘reset‘.

Charles count de Lambert

Charles count de Lambert is a famous French/Russian aviator. He was the first student taught by Wilbur Wright in France. On October 18, 1909, he was the first to fly over Paris and around the Eiffel Tower. In addition, he set an altitude record that same day.

Charles Lambert first flightHe was also the first aviator to fly in Holland (The Netherlands) on June 27, 1909, with a Wright Flyer. Although the flight only lasted 3.5 minutes! This will be commemorated in 2009 as the centenary of the nationally historical flight.

Did you know that he was born in Funchal (island of Madeira) on December 30 1865 at 03:30 …. and to be precise in ‘Quinta Vigia’ … the Official Residence of the President of the Regional Government. Did you know that ‘Quinta Vigia’ was before called ….. ‘Quinta Lambert’ … owned by the count Alexandre Carlos Lambèrt, adjutant of the Russian Empress.

We can safely say that …. one of the world famous aviators was …. from Madeira.

More about Charles count de Lambert you can find in the website of Gerard J. van Heusden: www.charlesgraafdelambert.nl

What is Carnival – Carnaval?

Soon the Carnival fever will start here on the island. See previous blog Carnival – Mardi Gras – Carnaval

But have you asked yourself … what does the word Carnival / Carnaval mean?

Wikipedia, world’s free encyclopedia, offers some answers:

The Carnival Season is a holiday period during the two weeks before the traditional Christian fasting of Lent. The origin of the name “Carnival” is unclear. The most common theory is that the name comes from the Italian carne- or carnovale, from Latin carnem (meat) + levare (lighten or raise), literally “to remove the meat” or “stop eating meat”.

Also how do other countries celebrate it?

England

In England Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day, but apart from the serving of pancakes and occasional pancake races and football matches (see Royal Shrovetide Football), little else of Carnival survived the Reformation. Caribbean influence has led to the establishment of several “West Indian” carnivals, but these are not held in Carnival season. The leading festivities are Notting Hill Carnival in August (reputedly the world’s largest), and Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival in November.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands (where it is called ‘Vastenavond’, ‘Karnaval’ or ‘Carnaval’), the last day of Carnival, the day before Ash Wednesday, is held exactly 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. Dutch Carnival is most celebrated in Catholic regions, mostly the southern provinces Noord Brabant and Limburg, where it is also known as Vastenavond (literally “Fasting evening”, although that strictly refers only to the last day). The most popular places where Carnival is held (although every city, town or village celebrates it) are Maastricht, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Bergen op Zoom and Breda.

Germany

Germany, especially the western part (North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate) is famous for Karneval celebrations such as parades and costume balls. In the South of Germany and Austria carnival is called Fasching and especially Munich developed a special kind of celebration. In Franconia and some other parts of Germany a carnival is called Fastnacht. Although the festival and party season in Germany starts as early as the beginning of January, the actual carnival week starts on the Thursday (“Altweiberfastnacht”) before Ash Wednesday.

Spain

Arguably the most famous locales in Spain are Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Tarragona and specially Cádiz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Aguilas, where the celebration normally takes place the week before Lent. At Santa Cruz de Tenerife the parties of the cities are not only well known in Spain, but also worldwide. It is famous for thematic costumes, and the election of the Carnival Queen. There is also a parade of Drag-Queens, known as reinonas.

Brazil

An important part of the Brazilian Carnival takes place in Rio de Janeiro, with samba schools. These are large, social entities with thousands of members and a theme each year. Blocos are small informal groups also with a definite theme, usually satirical of the current political situation, and bandas are samba musical bands usually formed by enthusiasts in the same neighborhood.

And much more information you can read at Wikipedia Carnival