My holidays over the last couple of years have never been with abject purpose to relax, but always explore. Though this is always cool and exciting, exploring in an finite number of days is, well, not always relaxing. This didn’t even change with Raquel if you consider our trips to Portugal, South Africa, Morocco and Norway.
For this reason and others, we decided to take a breather kind of holiday in Madeira, Portugal. It would be a holiday in which we would convert to beach bums and mix that up with a bit of family fun, driving and simple conversation. We also invited Raquel’s sister and brothers who had never visited the island joined us from Portugal which considering she spend much less time with them since moving to the UK, we thought this would be a nice way of being with them and enjoying a fun holiday.
Madeira Island itself does not have the kind of beach we were dreaming of, but the neighbouring island of Porto Santo did, which is why we decided to make our way to the island for four days.
Porto Santo is one long beach with a bit of an island attached. Along its nine kilometres of soft white sands, you’ll find just a handful of hotels and restaurants, making Porto Santo one of the last ‘undiscovered’ resorts in Europe.
The paragraph above describes the island perfectly because despite its fantastic beaches, its still kind of a hidden secret in the Atlantic, which means the beaches don’t over crowd and makes for a very relaxing location to simply chill out.
The island is accessible by plane (the expensive option) or by ferry (much cheaper). We opted for the ferry as it meant we could take the car, which gave some more mobility. The two and a half hour ferry trip was not great as we spent most of it vomiting and wishing the trip came to a quick end! However that turned out to be the only low point of an otherwise great couple of days on the island.
Our mission statement for the four days we would be out there for was simple: Relax and enjoy doing nothing. All of our days were spent getting up at 8am, having breakfast and making the five-minute walk to the beach.
The beaches were simply superb; fantastic blue and turquoise water with the great yellow sands to lay down on while simply relaxing in the sun and every once and while going for a swim in the perfect temperate ocean. The best part was we all were all on the same page with our objective and our in between, the swims, reading and walking we enjoyed some good old conversation.
We usually stayed at the beach until about midday when we would make our way back to the house and prepare lunch. Lunch was usually followed by some more good conversation and then a nice little siesta. We would return to the beach at around 4pm resuming our beach bumming activities until dinner time.
Sometimes instead of siestas we would drive around the island to its miradouros (viewing points) for some photo opportunities. From theses point you can see the beautiful colours of the water contrasting with the arid landscape.
On the final day we wandered around the town centre but at this stage we were in complete no-sightseeing mood! We simply wandered around aimlessly, had ice cream and waited for boarding the ferry.
I had been to Porto Santo but this was in 2006 and I had forgotten what a great vacation it makes. As the Island is still mostly undiscovered to tourists, apart for those visiting from Madeira and odd Italian charter flight, the island and beaches aren’t crowded which makes for an even more relaxing experience!
I think all five of us enjoyed the holiday very much, though I think for Raquel it was a Godsend as spending so much time in dreary, cold and rainy London had her down in the pits. Add to that, she finally proved to me she is quite tanned because as I’ve only known here in London, she has been quite white (though more tanned than me) ever since I’ve known her. She now is the complete Portuguese package, tanned skin and all!