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Flight to Funchal, Madeira
Flying to Madeira, we were gliding above the deep blue Atlantic in fair weather.
We gently flew above Madeira's brown sea cliffs, took a turn and I spotted the Desertas Islands in the distance. It felt almost surreal...
Here's my story dedicated to my memorable and enjoyable Lisbon-Madeira flight.
I chose to write an entire article about this flight, because it was such a captivating experience and I still remember it as one of my most beautiful flights, ever.
I was flying from Lisbon to Funchal aboard an A319 owned by TAP Portugal.
Having woken up very early morning in Barcelona and this being my second flight on the same day, I felt a bit tired, but the strong coffee kept me awake.
On-board meal was basic: consisted of a small cereal bar, a sandwich and coffee (very strong one, indeed!).
Mini meal was enough for half a tooth only!
I don't know why, much of the airplane was empty (about 60 %), yet I still had to pay a heavy price for this ticket (the price was so high I could have flown from Lisbon to New York). At TAP's Barcelona office they told me the cheap tickets were sold out fast.
Anyway - I spotted Madeira first after about 2 hours of flying above the Atlantic.
Land! I could imagine how João Gonçalves Zarco felt when he discovered Madeira in 1418...
My first glimpse of Madeira: Porto Santo's cliffs
During the flight, there were only a few pure white pillow-like clouds, so I often had a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean.
There were no turbulences and the crystal-clear Atlantic Ocean has a sapphire blue nuance.
Porto Santo's airport. You can see how small that island really is.
Our plane was gently gliding above the ocean in the early afternoon.
As you can see from the photos, we started our descent above the Porto Santo Island and I even got a good glimpse of the rocky Desertas Islands (I was sitting on the left side, the only place from which I could enjoy this view).
After Porto Santo, we reached the Madeira Island's cliffs at Ponta de São Lourenço
Our descent towards Funchal's airport was a stunning experience!
I admit my photos aren't the best. These were taken with my old Canon EOS 400D, which I had bought shortly before the trip.
The uninhabited rocky Desertas Islands in the distance
As we passed the Ponta de São Lourenço northeastern elongated tip of Madeira, fantastic brown sea cliffs and an eolian energy park were visible through my window (no photos of the wind power generators, nor of many other beautiful sights... we were flying too fast for my fingers and my camera!).
As the plane was getting ready to land at Madeira Airport, we even got a bit close to the Desertas Islands. Then, our jet made a turn and we started heading in the opposite direction (west to east), passing near Madeira's misty green hills.
Madeira fly-by, as we were preparing to land...
We flew past Machico and Santa Cruz after the release of the landing gears.
I enjoyed a beautiful aerial view of the complex green-brown Madeiran landscape with myst-caped mountain tops and scattered residential areas.
It felt warm, humid, exotic.
I thought to myself: "Yay, this looks just like South America!"
In fact, even down there, when exporing Funchal, if felt like Latin-America.
...truly beautiful island, strikingly similar views to Andean and Brazilian landscapes...
Did you know: many wealthy German seniors buy homes on Madeira?
It felt strange: this was my first landing on a "real" island.
Actually, my only island landing before Madeira was back in 1999, during my teens - when I traveled to Japan. But Japan is so large, I couldn't feel like I was landing on an island.
Madeira's dimensions are: 57 km (35 mi) in length - WE, 22 km (14 mi) in width - NS.
Couldn't call it large, but once you're down there... it feels bigger. Also due to the complex relief.
From the window, I could observe the cute little houses scattered on green hills separated by valleys and deep gorges.
The infrastructure is especially well-developed with tunnels, viaducts... and highways!
Getting across from one hill to the next one sure ain't easy!
After taking a few photos, we landed at Funchal's suspended airport.
Interestingly, a large section of the runway is supported by 80 immense concrete pillars.
They lengthened the original runway and strengthened it from underneath with a forest of pillars.
Only pilots with enough experience are allowed to land at this airport.
To me, landing at Funchal felt a bit like landing on an aircraft carrier.
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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