21 April 2012

Funchal and the flower power

Every year, by this date, Madeira is invaded by tourists. Together with the New Year's Eve, the Carnival and the Madeira Wine Rally; the Madeira Flower Festival (or Madeira Flower Party, in a literal translation) is one of the most famous events that takes place in this small Atlantic island. Taking advantage of the richness of the island's flora, this festival is, among this group of four, the only truly representative of the island's most important and unique asset: its perfect and pristine natural world.
This, in fact, is the only reason why so many thousands of tourists search for Madeira, year-round, for their vacations.
Its natural world, preserved and well kept, together with a benevolent climate and a net of well designed mountain trails and paths makes this island a must for any nature-lover worldwide.
The Madeira Flower Festival is, therefore, the vehicle to divulge this unique characteristic. It's no surprise also that it takes place in the middle of the Spring. After the end of Winter, the colors start to return once again to the mountain peaks, to the valleys, to the agricultural fields, to the grass-lands, to the gardens.
This is simply the appetizer. Located in Funchal, the capital city of the island, the festival only shows to foreigners what they can expect to see everywhere in the island if they dare to stay until the end of the session, instead of leaving the room before the intermission.
Granted, the festival is lovely. The exhibition of flowers in the city, everywhere, is amazing. The colors, the perfumes invade the downtown of Funchal during these days.
However this is only a sample. An example of what you can see if you dare to leave the comfort of you hotel in the city, put on some walking shoes, and hike around amidst nature.
You can take my word for it.
The Avenida Arriaga, here seen from a sentry tower in the S. Lourenço fortress, is the epicentre of many cultural activities in Funchal. The Madeira Flower Festival is no exception.
In the Madeira Flower Festival you can have an overdose of perfumes...
... and colours.

You will see also lots of photography fanatics, like you and me. However, all the beauty present here is nothing compared to what you can see if you dare to immerse yourself in the natural Madeira...
...after buying a cheap Easy-Jet ticket, reserving a few nights in a middle-category hotel (it doesn't have to be the Reid's - unless you like it!) and don't forget your hiking boots at home.
Picture taken in Queimadas, North coast, with Nikon D300, Sigma EX 10-20mm f:4-5.6 DC HSM, Manfrotto tripod and head.