The city of Funchal is named after the fennel which grows on the island. Funchal is the capital of Madeira. The island was discovered in 1419 by Portuguese explorers sent by Prince Henry the Navigator. Madeira's geographical position allowed her to play a pivotal role in European discovery.
Seamen such as Christopher Columbus gained knowledge and experience plying the routes of the island's sugar trade. Christopher Columbus not only decided to stay on the island for a while, but also married Felipa Moniz. After his wife's death, he moved back to Spain with his son. His travels to other places would follow.
Madeira served as a vacation spot for British soldiers and civilians on their way back from India. The island lies on the Gulf Stream, making its climate pleasantly subtropical.
Madeira wine is world famous and there are several different kinds. Don and I tasted some of them in one of the Farmer's Market shops. My favorite was the sweetest of the four types, Malmsey. Boal is a semi sweet dessert wine. Verdelho is a medium dry wine and Sercial is the driest wine and rather like sherry. Do any of you have favorites amongst these?
Another thing the town is known for is it's lovely cutwork hand embroidery. I dragged Don to the Embroidery Museum having done some lacework for my daughters' when they were young girls. I found it fascinating to see old photographs of ladies working in the local embroidery factory. Most of the cutwork lace items were dated from 1860-1918. I wasn't allowed to take photographs so have none to share with you.
I'm not sure how much I like displaying my photos in this slide show. Do you like the mosaic better or the slideshow? If you prefer stationary pictures with descriptions attached you can see them here.