Back to Hungary …

Business travel is back … and got me to Hungary. And outside meetings, there obviously was plenty of time to explore.

During my last trip here, my colleagues had recommended, to make the trip up to Szentendre, a small town about 20km North-West of Budapest. The town features a well preserved and renovated city center – showing off its Baroque history. The city sits nicely next to a branch of the Danube river with a nice (pebble) beach. Perfect for a nice, sunny and warm Saturday afternoon.

Below some photos from Szentendre, as well as some from Budapest.

In Budapest, I retraced some of my previous trips – just to realize (to my disappointment) that many of the city’s attractions are currently under renovation (incl. the chain bridge, the citadel, parts of the castle, the Nyugati train station and the key portion of the M3 metro line) – well, it seems, the city is preparing itself for a restart.

Back to Madeira

We left Porto Santo on the evening ferry, leaving shortly before sunset – with the arrival to Madeira obviously in the dark – and some good nighttime views of Funchal.

Tour around a rainy Island

Today the weather got us once more – it was raining and raining hard (supposedly the previous proper rain had been back in April – so, imagine our chances here).

We nevertheless were picked up for a morning tour of the island. First heading out for the Pico Castelo Viewpoint (with the visibility bad enough, that most did not even bother leaving the bus). From here we continued the trip around Pico do Facho to the Mirodouro da Portela. We were now in moderate rain – with OK views of town (the wind nevertheless killed my umbrella).

The next stop was in Vila Baleira – the island capital – itself, where we did proceed by foot – looking at the statues, hearing explorer stories, checking out the church (which was open for a church event some time later) – and culminating in a visit of the house of Christopher Columbus (well – his vacation home, he supposedly stayed in for some weeks – to use the island’s climate for the benefit of his sick wife).

We left town for a visit of a weird combination of bird zoo and park – the Quinta das Palmeiras. En-route we had a stop, to check out one of the traditional windmills on the islands – Moinho das Lombas.

A trip around the golf course and the Pico de Ana Ferreira got us to Ponta da Calheta (the South-Western most end of the island, I had already been to yesterday) – before making it back to the hotel.

The rest of the day was at leisure – without big activities for me – except for a quick bath in the Atlantic ocean (water temperature: ~21°C; air temperature: ~19°C).

To the Beach …

We made it from the small port straight to the hotel – with the rest of day at leisure. I made it immediately out for a walk along the beach to the the South-Western most point of the island – Ponta da Calheta. From here it was back and on to Vila Baleira, the island’s capital for a walk around town.

Ferry to Porto Santo

By now we had explored Madeira quiet a bit – it was about time for a change. That change was to come – by ferry.

We left Calheta in the early morning, to make our way back to Funchal and to the Porto Santo ferry – for the 2.5 hour / ~80km trip to Porto Santo.

The way out was a bit of a review of some parts of the trip so far – Funchal, the Christ statue, the airport and of course Ponta de São Lourenço (now from a different angle).

A wet Day …

Today we left Santana and Madeira’s North-East behind and made our way South-West. After a quick stop at a supermarket, we made it up to the Western highlands and to the trailhead for the Levada das 25 Fontes hike

That hike is often referred to as the most popular hike on Madeira – and despite November being off-season (at least in normal years) the trail turned out quiet busy with several bigger groups being squeezed through.

The weather was not on our side today – we started in light drizzle, with the rain getting worse over time – until we eventually got to a constant stream of steady rain.

At one point I decided, to put all gear into my backpack (which is now proven to be waterproof) – this included camera and phone (so only few photos here). The decision turned out a wise one, as I eventually was drenched to the underwear (as were most people in the group).

The hike itself – to me – felt pretty pointless … but then I was cold, wet and felt miserable – plus, the trail was super-busy and it all just took too long. Well – in fairness, I can understand, why this is a popular hike – I am sure, there are some fantastic views to be had here – and the waterfall and pond are probably nice places to be as well …

Needless to say, I was happy, when we were back on the bus and making our way down to the coast and the town of Calheta for a nice hot shower – and a change into dry clothes.