Easyjet buys GB Airways

While tomorrow Easyjet will starts with its regular flights between London Stansted and Madeira …. they decided to do an acquisition of GB Airways.

What does that mean for those who bought tickets to fly with GB Airways?

GB Airways says that they will continue to operate from its base at Gatwick until March 29 2008. After that date they will ‘scrap’ the name and 39 routes plus 15 aircrafts will be handed over to Easyjet. For those who bought a ticket that is after March 29 2008 …. Easyjet guarantees that they will be flown by an Easyjet aircraft … however under its terms and conditions and so these people will be notified to that effect.

By the way … the deal was valued at 103.5 million pounds ($212 million).

The Evening Dress of Funchal

Funchals Gala DressIt is almost the end of the month October and we are about to change all the clocks to the new wintertime (one hour back). However I doubt now seriously …. is it one hour back? or is it one month ahead? The reason I am asking this is because if you go to city of Funchal now it seems as if Christmas already has started. Buildings, galleries, shopping windows, streets etc. are already being decorated with Christmas adornments. I am already getting the season feeling …. in October!

I remember my first Christmas on Madeira. Especially the evening dress of Funchal. It is actually an ‘gala dress’ embroidered with thousands of coloured lights, which the city of Funchal starts wearing at begin of the month December. It is a spectacular view at night to see. You can put away your map of Funchal, and just follow the lights …. because the city itself offers you a road map through the string of lights on each street, each building, church and bridge. All of them sparkles like jewels on a black velvet cloth.

In the Netherlands (and other European countries) most of the people enjoy their Christmas days at home, in front of the fireplace, cosy and warm, with their hot drinks (hot chocolate), and some Christmas music playing in the background. Here on the island of Madeira that kind of inside experience takes place outside. Wandering through the magical streets of Funchal that has turned into one big nativity scenery, you will be hearing the various songs and music announcing the arrival of ‘Natal’. Enjoying several cultural and artistic events … organized for both locals and tourists. Not only Funchal becomes a giant amphitheater during the days of December, but also the other towns around the island have taken over the same approach to enchant people with lights, colours and warmth.

And there will be no time to recover from these Christmas day’s as the magic will continue. Various parties will be taking place in hotels, restaurants, bars and the streets. Just wander through the lighted streets you are sure to be swept up in the festivities somewhere.

And then there is the New Year’s Eve

A lot has been said about the Revellion – New Year’s Eve on Madeira … which last time even got an award in the Guinness World Record. But I will summarize it for you in one word: spectacular!

In the Netherlands for example people spend millions of euros each year buying fireworks. A common household spends about 150 euros on firework …. and to see it all that value in money explode in their own backyard.

On the revellion of Madeira the locals don’t buy many fireworks. Maybe some stars and few rockets. On New Years Eve you take wine and food instead invite your family and friends, finding a nice spot with a view over the city of Funchal and then wait on the stroke of midnight. At which the stars in the sky will disappear for about 10-15 minutes. They will be replaced by million of lights and colors … that apparently seems to come from the Funchal’s ‘evening dress’. The city decided to fire the sky, sending all its jewels and let it duplicate by a thousand times more and bursts into a myriad of colours. The same time you hear the bells from the churches, the sirens of cruise ships and cargo vessels, culminating in the spectacular firework display. People will be cheering, hugging each other, toasting on the arrival of the New Year and wishing all the good things in life to one and another.

After this there are still a few days more to feast ….

All the December celebrations are finally brought to a close on Epiphany (6th of January). The lights are then extinguished and Funchal takes down her with lights embroidery evening dress for another year.

Is there an International School on Madeira?

Family that are planning to move to Madeira often ask the question if there is an International school on the island.

Yes …. there is one. Located in the centre of Funchal at Calçada do Pico nº 5 … next to the “Museu das Cruzes” … is the Escola Internacional da Madeira (International School of Madeira). It is a primary school with classes from Nursery (age 3) to Primary 4 (age 9 to 10). It is a fully bilingual school where they teach daily all subjects in both English and Portuguese in the same length of time allocation.

For more information visit their site

Other FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

The Scottish Are Coming!

After the news that the British are coming (Easyjet comes to Madeira) and asking ourselves what the consequences might be for more low-cost flights …. we just learned that Scottish are also coming!

FlyglobespanScottish airline Flyglobespan will be launching of this winter a new fly-service from Edinburgh to Madeira. This service will be the first link ever from the Scottish capital to the Madeira island. Tickets will cost from £54.99 one-way, including taxes.

Starting on November 5 and departing on Mondays, flights will leave Edinburgh at 10.15am (10h15) and arrive in Madeira at 2.15pm (14h15). On the way back, flights also on Mondays, will depart from the island at 3.25pm (15h25) and arrive in Scotland at 7.25pm (19h25).

Dolce Vita Funchal

Dolce Vita FunchalOn 23rd of October the city of Funchal (Madeira) will open the doors of its newest Centro Comercial (Commercial and Shopping Center) Dolce Vita Funchal.

The Dolce Vita Funchal has a gross lettable area of 16,000m² for 54 shops, including a Pingo Doce supermarket and a Health Club. The modern shopping center has three floors for retail and a car park on two floors with a capacity for 800 vehicles. The location is in the Funchal’s city center. Click here for the location.

Dolce Vita Funchal will be the 7th offspring of the Dolce Vita brand in Portugal. The interior design is by architect Sua Kay, who also designed the award-winning Dolce Vita Coimbra.

I invite you (the reader), if you are in Funchal, to visit this modern shopping center and let us know what you think of it.

If you have your camera with you … take some (artistic) pictures of the area (outside and inside) and send it to us. We will publish it here with your name (and, if applicable, link to your own website).

Obrigado

A Madeira Blog from 1954

There are many travel journals, travelogues and online diaries about people visiting the island of Madeira … but the one that I found lately is, in my opinion, a special one. A travelogue written by Mrs. Frances A. Roper, in which she describes, day by day, her visit to Madeira. What is so special about this? you might ask. Well … this journal was written in …. 1954

In July 2003 Nick Hubbard was going through the family archives and found a black notebook entitled “Visit To Madeira” of his Aunt Frances. It was a dairy in which she registered her visit to the island of Madeira from 25th Sept till 9th Oct 1954.

The travel journal also included photographs she has taken, brochures and postcards. Nick scanned these and copied up all her work (without changing the text) into a few webpages.

Read how visitors experienced the island of Madeira in those days …. more than 50 years ago. This is very pleasant reading supported with idyllic images. Enjoy!

Madeira Visit from 25th Sept till 9th Oct 1954

P.S. Thanks to Red Yeti I have changed the title of this blog.

One-Question Interview

This month the low-cost airline Easyjet will start regular flights to Madeira Island, and it seems that other budget airliners will follow soon (next year) this example. This is good news for the regional tourist sector on the island …. and also for the madeirean travellers that gives them the ability to visit more interesting countries for a much cheaper price.

However …. I wonder … are cheap flights to Madeira really a good idea?

Some people are afraid that the o-so-quiet-and-relaxing Floating Garden is going to be invaded by thousands of ‘new consumers’ (also known as the party-tourists) … who have left their legacy on other former-paradisiacal islands such as Ibiza.

Others think the growth of the low-budget tourists will cause chocking changes … forcing the island to focus towards the visitors needs and disregard the cultural environment the island is well-known for.

Or … some feel there is no need to be concerned. It is a golden opportunity for the Pearl of the Atlantic to glow like a diamond on the world map.

1-Question InterviewThis is a good reason to do with you the One-question Interview.

Dear reader … our question for you is the following:

What do you think the consequences will be when more low-cost flights to Madeira will take place the next few years?

Tell us what you think … write a comment below or send it to us. Thanks in advance.