A Look at the Portuguese World

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From the sky to the sea

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It's a passage along the tracks of the island of Madeira.

Our walk begins exactly to 1862 meters high at the Red Peak, high above the clouds on a cold morning that guesses to be hot surrounded by a rough and quiet nature, dotted with a green and yellow mantle from various plants in unusual unison colorful, surrounded by a powerful silence that is only interrupted by the hiss wind and the short sounds of our breathing. A perfect day for a descent that will end by the sea, during a track that drastically changes the landscape along its 10 kilometer route. We go toward Santana to the Pico das Pedras, which overlooks the standing man, a towering basalt rock formation that is a kind of gateway to the endemic landscape of the island, the Laurel, whose tall, leafy trees are home to mosses and lichens that recall garments that adorn their trunks and branches of various shades of green, is as entering in an enchanted forest, covered up by the refreshing mist that caresses it with small shiny droplets of water and whose edges are embellished with ferns and wildflowers of various shades, from the Pico das Pedras to the Queimadas owhere you can observe the entrance to the paths of the Green and Hell Cauldron , but that is for another day.

We are starting in the Achada do Gramacho through Quinta Furão moving toward to the pebbles beach of São Jorge, through the royal road, built in the early colonization of the island. It is nothing more, nothing less than a pedestrian acess, a very broad viaduct compared to some of the island's paths that were built as the name suggest by a Portuguese king, roads cobbled with stones that were intended to facilitate the access of populations from one point to another of the island, among the many fiefdoms belonging to the church and the local gentry since other way was not possible, to the pebble beach where there was a small ship that would taking them to other stops, perchance to the capital, Funchal. It is a descent zigzag of about 1 kilometer, which lasts about forty minutes through gray rocks and solitary trees ending when passing the bridge, through St. George's stream, into the ruins of the old fort with it's standing walls and a gate made of stone, on the other side the wild North Sea, mottled with strong rocks. Beside, the path continues, but our last stop is here in front of this blue ocean that before was plagued by pirates who dared to navigate through these rebellious waters in search of treasures to loot. When looking at these ghostly quiet remains is almost hard to believe that life was so uncertain, hard and difficult for the first islanders who lived here, as the only thing I hear is the swinging noise of the stones taken by the waves and feel the salty flavor in my gasping mouth.

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