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On our first day, the primary task is to arrive on the island, find the hotel room, get to know the other people in the travel group; the official programme is scheduled for the following days. Our hotel is named Royal Orchid, and it is located in the city of Caniço de Baixo (sounds like "Kanisoo da Bayshoo").

For the whole trip we have a minibus at our hands, together with driver, since the travel organiser did not dare to let us drive rental cards on these difficult roads.

Some months ago (April 17, 2019), not far from our hotel, a terrible accident happened with a tour bus toppling down the hillslope, with 29 people killed. Authorities suppose a driving error, not a technical problem.

On day 2 we go by bus to our first hiking trail going along the Levada do Norte, or, to be more precise, a section of it. Levadas are channels that transport water from the rainier parts of the island to the dry parts in the south. The levadas have a path next to them, not only for the purpose of maintenance but also for tourists. Since the levadas are open channels, they cannot pass steeper terrains, so wandering along the levadas is not difficult.

Still, you should be free from giddiness. The paths get very narrow in some parts, and there is a steep descent right next to you. Some people of our group actually had some trouble with that.

Near Eira do Mourão, we leave the hiking trail again and return by bus. On our way, we have a stopover at a bakery and cafe bar and enjoy some of the specialties.

Madeira is not known for its beaches - there are really very few. In fact, the whole island looks like a giant lava rock thrown into the sea, where people settled down at the most improbable locations. In the middle of the island there is a plateau which offers free sights. Near our hotel there is a promenade, not too long, though.

Public pictures