Thursday, 14 June 2012

Having just returned, Christine tells us why she can't wait to head back out to Madeira

Christine's gorgeous first piece of work from the trip, a pastel of Camara De Lobos
From February of next year Authentic Adventures will be running a painting holiday to Madeira in Portugal. Christine Russell, our talented and lovely tutor, has just returned from an exciting trip to the archipelago to see what it has to offer.

View from a room in the Hotel Pousada Dos Vinhaticos
I was so impressed by everything about my short stay in Madeira and very excited about sharing it with painters and walkers at the start of next year. I stayed at the Hotel Pousada Dos Vinhaticos (the hotel we will use), which has absolutely breath-taking mountain views from every room (see photo, right) and staff that simply can't do enough for you! There are rooms in both a main house and separate log cabin which are cosy and well equipped, without being overly lavish. The food on offer was delicious and presented with Carlos the chef's unique artistic flourishes (see below); not only is he passionate about cooking, he also an enthusiastic artist!

Artistic flare!
There are some beautiful and varied painting locations within 45 minutes of the Pousada such as Sao Vicente, a peaceful village to the north of the island, with its pretty church, cobbled streets and dazzling white-washed houses, shops and cafes. Camara De Lobos is a pretty working fishing village with colourful boats painted in primary colours, more white-washed houses, cafes & bars and racks of bacalhau drying in the sun (see below). We will be half following in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill who painted there more than half a century ago. Another spot I hope to visit is a deep river valley, only a short drive from the hotel. I named it the Valley of the Bullfrogs, since, when I was there in May the bullfrogs were making quite a racket! The mountain scenery close to the hotel is also just begging to be painted....I could go on!

Bacalhau are the fish hanging to dry above this boat
An option for our free day of the holiday will be Funchal, a small city that offers a vibrant flower, fruit & fish market, a cable car that takes you to the beautiful Botanical Gardens, possibly followed by a downward trip on a wicker toboggan - optional and not for the faint hearted! A visit to the cathedral could be followed by a relaxing stroll along the esplanade, pausing for refreshment, or a leisurely lunch at one of the cafe/bars beside the marina. Similarly, meander through the narrow, picturesque streets of the old quarter, the Zonha Velha, and stop of at the Fortaleza de Sao Tiago, now a museum of contemporary Portuguese art.

There are many more picturesque places to explore and I am really looking forward to heading out again in spring next year, I hope you can join me!