Baia D'Abra - a magical walk

While in Madeira we did three long walks.... the levada walk was the first one but we didn't let that one deter us.  Our host Jorge told us about a beautiful walk on the east coast.  Not a levada walk but a trail that started at Baia D’Abra.   According to the book June had it would take about two and a half hours –  well with Laurie along with her sore knees and vertigo it always takes a bit longer.  Plus of course we are both photographers.

So off we went on bus number 113 from the Marina area in downtown Funchal. The road clung to the cliffs and gave us jaw dropping views of Funchal and the coast.  The bus dropped us in the parking lot where the walk began.  And off we went.  The walk started off with stairs (my favourite…NOT) and then onto paths – some smooth and some not so smooth. (to be diplomatic)  I remarked how the scenery reminded me of Newfoundland and June mentioned Scotland and Ireland.  It was absolutely stunning.,  We were told the east end of the island was totally different and so it was.  We were lucky with the weather – a bit overcast to begin with but it turned into wonderful sunny skies.  It is not a walk you would want to do in the rain as it would be very slippery underfoot and the wind is a force to be reckoned with at times.  There was one point I struggled a bit as the wind was affecting my ears therefore my vertigo cut in which was a bit scary.  (I fell on black ice while walking my dog about 15 years ago and injured my inner ear – I now have episodic vertigo which makes me dizzy if I turn my head suddenly or am in wind)  We were told by someone that this walk should not be done if the wind is really bad as it will blow you off the path – and I can believe it. 

Beautiful place to sit and enjoy the view

Heading back
The views of the ocean were outstanding as you can see…one of those walks that makes you grateful to be alive and to be able to do this.  We were constantly exclaiming at the beauty. 

When we started out there were only a few of us walking but later on the path got quite busy.  I finally had enough at about an hour and a half in as I knew I would have to walk back.  The knees were starting to get a bit shaky and I knew I needed to have steady footing and knees .  While June carried on for a bit I slowly made my way back to a point where they had stone benches.  In no time at all she was there and we returned to the start.  We ran into a couple we had met our first day in Madeira and they were happily going to carry on to the end and have a picnic – hardy souls.  They had done this walk before.  Also a retired English couple who were not Spring chickens but went further than me.  I loved the fact that to quote him “we are going to all the places we wanted to go to as children but couldn’t”. This includes India, Galapagos, Peru, Africa, etc.   Good for them.  Madeira was rather a sedate holiday for them he said.  That is one of the many things I love about travel – meeting fellow adventurers along the way and hearing their stories. 

An ice cream van was now in the parking lot and getting steady business from the returning walkers….a busker playing his guitar?  Not so much.  Especially this guy…after a three hour walk we want ice cream not some bad singing. 
Bus number 113 rolled in and off we went back to Funchal.  We celebrated with a sangria on the water front and later had a delicious meal in the historical area.  We had beef kebobs which are a speciality of the region – very tasty with chips and salad.  What a great day!!! 
I would definitely recommend this walk for anyone going to the island.  As long as you are reasonably fit, wear proper foot wear (June wore running shoes/trainers and was fine – I wore my hiking boots) and carry snacks and water you should be fine –avoid rainy or exceptionally windy days. (it is windy in that area even when not windy on the rest of the island)