Funchal Cable Car and Wicker ToboggansMarch 5, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
On the news today...
“The Funchal procession that was due to take place today at 4pm has now been postponed to Saturday.
Considering the forecasts that points to the great instability of the weather, with the possibility of showers but, especially with a strong wind, on the afternoon of this Tuesday of Carnival, the Regional Secretary of Tourism and Culture opted to postpone the Traditional Trapalhão, and it is expected to take place next Saturday, March 9, at the same time, that is, at 4:00 pm.”.
So today, we will see what it is like to be on an island with heavy winds and rain.
The morning was windy and cloudy but not too bad so we decided to go into the capital city of Funchal where we could run for shelter if it rained. No hikes in the mountains today. We are staying in Canico, a nearby suburb so it was a short drive.
Our goal was to take a ride on the cable car (Teleférico do Jardim Botânico) up to a small town called Monte that had wonderful views of Funchal and the surrounding areas. Initially this mountaintop town, that is about 6 km away from Funchal, was a health resort for the high society of Europe. Monte means mount in Portuguese and it is high above sea level. The cable car ride is quite thrilling, especially for people with any sense of vertigo.
The ticket lady would only sell us a one way ticket up as the winds and rain were coming up and she said that the cable car may be shut down. If that happened, we would have to take a taxi or bus back down. We really only wanted to go up and down and as it wasn’t too bad, we took the chance.
As we rose above Funchal, we could look down and get glimpses into private gardens and mini farms and see dramatic views down through steep gorges. The 3,200-metre ride itself takes 15-20 minutes and sometimes reaches a speed of 48 km/hr. Once everyone relaxed a bit, it was quite exciting.
At the top, it was raining though. There is a beautiful garden there but we decided to skip that as it cost 12.50 euros ($37.50 cdn) each for entry and we had been in some lovely gardens recently.
There are other points youof interest on the Monte and that’s the "descent in a basket car". Originally, around 1850, the basket cars/sleds were a fast way to get to Funchal. Currently and still in use, they attract hundreds of tourists every year to experience this exciting descent down the steep road to Funchal.
These wicker baskets, carros de cestos, sit on wooden bars for better gliding. They are guided and pushed by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothing and a felt hat and wear their rubber boots as a brake. The ride is 2 km downhill and taxis wait down there to bring you up. It was raining pretty hard at this time and the roads must have been slick. We passed on the ride but it would have been fun.
It started to get pretty foggy and the sky was getting darker so we took the cable car back down again, for 1/2 price, and had a nice chat with our fellow passengers from England.Read more