Fred Olsen Borealis - part 3

Day 4(21st Oct)

It's day 4 and the 3rd full sea day since leaving Liverpool 1400 miles behind us. It's noticeably warmer this morning as we head into the sub tropical zone. One bonus of heading straight down to Madeira is there are no time changes to contend with.

3.5 circuits of Borealis' teak promenade deck is one mile so after a room service breakfast it's time to slide open the door and get some exercise in before it gets too warm.

Then it's back to the cabin, lying outside on our steamers in the warm rays of the sun whilst reading Val McDermids latest novel "1979" set ironically in the worst winter Glasgow can remember. J is half way through Peter Robinson's latest "Not Dark Yet".

This afternoon Cunards Elizabeth appears on our portside and holds position following us on route to Madeira. 

Dinner  tonight  is followed by a magic show.  However the highlight of the night is  in the observatory lounge featuring vocalists; Hannah and Bethany from the ships company. 

Hannah sings jazz numbers and Beth showtunes. Both are both exceptional however Beths rendition of Cosette's "In my life" from Les Mis is jaw droppingly good. Tomorrow  morning we arrive in Funchal Madeira.

Day 5(22nd Oct)
We slip gently into the port of Funchal at 7am. We have an early breakfast in the room as we have a trip organized this morning and need to meet the coach at 8.45am. Another great bonus of smaller ships is the fact you can just walk off your self and find your coach. No waiting around in theatres for your group to be called.

Our trip begins by taking us to a few vantage points around the port of Funchal before we drive further inland to the Nun's Valley ( Curral das Freiras) just amazing views of the remote village & deep mountain valley.


We head inland and higher and higher into the mountains to a vantage point overlooking the Nuns Valley some 1200m above sea level 

After some time for refreshments we head on to the gardens of Paleo. These gardens surround the original Manor houses of one of the wealthiest of Madrids family's. However on his death it passed to his nephew who gambled and lost the entire fortune. 
Whilst part of the grounds and gardens is now a luxury hotel other parts are still used and lived in by the current owners. A little piece of paradise.

The house and gardens are currently owned by an English family and it is one of the largest private gardens in Portugal. Its this fusions of tropical plants and trees in such an English setting of box beds and  herbaceous borders which mix traditional delphiniums with tropical plants  so unique, personally I much prefer it to the botanical gardens.

After a late lunch back onboard - which of course has to include Portuguese custard tarts we take a walk into town. It has gone a bit misty and sticky as the clouds roll down the mountains in the North. Cunards Elizabeth (who we will be joining ourselves in a couple of months) has indeed now joined us in port meaning there is an influx of British tourist to Funchal this afternoon.

It's impossible to walk anywhere around Madeira without being reminded of its main export; not Bananas, not fortified wine and not even custard tarts. It's this guy, though for some reason his statue looks more like something from Jason and the Argonauts than anything his mother would recognise (apart from the hair cut)

We leave the port first after yet another excellent dinner. A beautiful rare Tuna Steak being the main course we are on our way towards La Gomera (a place I know very little about) as the Fred Olsen Trimaran ferry services race past us in the evening sun.

Theatre entertainment tonight is another ships company show. Whilst staging on board this ship is  simple the dance company are in a class of their own, coming across as one of the most professional we have ever seen & I praise strongly the talents of the two female singers last night in their own show.

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