Moreover, we were astounded at the fortitude and ingenuity of the clever Madeirans who have managed to carve livelihoods, homes, roads and over 150 tunnels out of incredibly steep slopes and unforgiving volcanic rock. Every inch of land that is accessible and even slightly serviceable is used and where there is not enough land, they have added some by creating terraces on the slopes. A good portion of the highways are engineering marvels, not to mention the airport runway which is built over the sea supported by gigantic pillars--more on that in my next post.
Nevertheless, we managed to circumnavigate and cross over the island without mishap and the effort was worth it as we were treated to some dazzling scenery: Some of the highest cliffs in the world plunging down into the sea, sea-side villages only accessible from above by gondola, terraced vineyards and farmland carefully cultivated on mountainsides and breath-taking views of those sensational mountain peaks with clouds spilling over them like dry ice.
My photos don't do it justice, but I did what I could considering the weather was not great--rain with the occasional burst of sun. In fact, we’re not visiting the island during the best time of year as November and December have generally have the highest rainfall and this particular November already looks like it will be breaking a new record with flooding and landslides. The rain hasn’t dampened our spirits though, as the countryside is still breath-taking and thanks to all the downpours we have witnessed dozens of rainbows and the some of the most amazing waterfalls.