Posted by sean on September 17, 2019 at 10:00 pm in Holiday with No Comments

Awoke this morning as the ship was navigating itself into port within the beautiful city of Funchal, Madeira.

Claire had already woken up, had flung open the cabin curtains and was stood on the balcony. I preferred my view from the bed.

A picturesque-looking town, built into a landscape with very tall hills, capped with clouds.

There was a constant noise of traffic, which did surprise me. I was expecting a more rustic and traditional atmosphere.

After a quick, buffet breakfast we left the ship, heading down a gangway, with help from some very helpful stewards.

I enjoyed the weather. The sun was out and was warm enough to make you feel like you were on your summer holiday, but without boiling you alive.

The city centre was almost two miles from the cruise terminal and considering the majority of the streets were cobbled, which are not the easiest of surfaces to drive across on a mobility scooter, we chose to give the shops and cafes a miss.

Headed towards the Cristiano Ronaldo museum – apparently a short walk from the terminal. This short walk seemed to go on and on for what seemed like forever. The condition of the streets didn’t help, although the real problem for me and my poor battered scooter, was the dropped kerbs, or lack of any. While back home a dropped kerb is a small, tidy incline in the pavement, the equivalent in Madeira is where part of an existing kerb has simply cracked and worn away.

We bravely perceived with our trek, although eventually surrendered to the mean streets of Maderia. A visit to Museu CR7 would have to wait for another day, which will almost certainly be never.

I was quite pleased anyway. As a supporter of Leeds United and the England national team, I would feel rather dirty visiting a museum solely about a man I could easily place in my Top 5 Most Despised Footballers of All Time. I would have returned back to the ship, only to spend the entire afternoon in the shower, scrubbing my skin until it became red raw and I felt sanitised

The man has a statue of himself! Granted it doesn’t look anything like him, but I would have probably ended up vomiting everywhere, had I ventured inside, and considering I hadn’t come equipped with any P&O sick bags, it could have all made for a difficult situation.

Ahem. Sorry about that. I may have gone off on a tangent there. You may have picked up that I don’t like Cristiano Ronaldo very much. Nothing personal, Ronnie.

Spent a couple of hours on our balcony, trying to suck up some rays from the sun, which was timidly hiding behind the clouds. I was happy, anyway. It meant that I didn’t get too hot.

Having totally skipped lunch, we left our cabin mid-afternoon, heading for the buffet, where afternoon tea was being served.

Claire braved the buffet itself, choosing to brave our fellow cruisers, while I stayed behind and fought to keep the table we had selected to eat from. I nearly lost it to an older woman who placed her tray and plates, piled with food, in front of me. When I made it clear that I was not going to budge, her almost certainly long-suffering husband, ushered her away. She moved on, but not before scowling at me. Very odd behaviour. I had been at the table before she arrived and just because I was sat on a mobility scooter or have food in front of me, I hardly see it as a fair reason to be ejected.

Claire returned with food, informing me it was insane in the buffet. I could well believe it. As a result, it was decided she would not return for tea and coffee.

Having eaten our full on a makeshift meal of cake, we took the lift to a lower deck, where we attempted to buy hot drinks from a Costa coffee bar. It was as crazy on the lower decks as it had been at the buffet. As soon as we had been handed our drinks in takeaway mugs, we sped back to our cabin.

Spent the final hours of the afternoon back on the balcony, as the crew prepared to leave. It would appear that some passengers had not managed to return to the ship, as repeat messages were sounded over the tannoy, asking “David and Angela Blight to telephone reception”. I don’t know whether Mr and Mrs Blight did telephone the reception. I hope for their sake they did, otherwise it’ll be a night in Madeira for them.

Returned to the Havana bar this evening to watch Jon Clegg’s final performance of the cruise. What a contrast to Sunday night! His first act left me wondering what all the fuss was about. This evening, he was fantastic. His jokes were new and very funny, with the impressions superb.

It’s funny how different people receive and interpret comedy. While Sunday’s performance left me feeling uninspired, Claire found Jon Clegg hilarious. After this evening’s act had finished, I was left raving to my wife about how great it had been. Expecting Claire to agree, I was surprised when she told me that she thought it wasn’t as good as the first night.

Returned straight to the cabin after the performance. We had not eaten an evening meal, so ordered a few light dishes to enjoy before bed and stop us waking up at 3am feeling hungry.

Debate as to whether or not we should tip for room service. On past cruises, we have tipped crew members at the end of our holiday, who have been particularly helpful – for example, our cabin steward and sometimes restaurant staff. It wasn’t until Claire mentioned it, that we even though about tipping for room service. If we did, how much? Claire initially thought 5 Euros. But our order was only 11€. Was 2€ too low and potentially insulting? What was the etiquette? In the end, we chickened out, deciding to be mean and not tip. Should we order room service on one of the final couple of days (almost certain), then we will show our gratitude, with a final “thank you”. Oh, and it’ll be more than 2 Euros!

I ordered Nachos – after enjoying them so much yesterday. What was delivered was a presentation box, filled with lots of nibbles. We ate our meal in a low lit bedroom – because of this, and due to the fact I haven’t eaten carrots or visited an opticians for a while – I thought the snack in the top left of the tray was cheese. It wasn’t until much later, when told by Claire, that I realised it was, in fact, rice.

I must admit, I did find the “cheese” to be very mild in flavour. It also puzzled me as to why this strange cheese didn’t melt. The fact it was RICE explains a lot. At least my mistake was able to amuse Claire, more than Jon Clegg this evening.

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