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24 Dec 2005: Feliz Natal

A picture

Oxford Circus, Eat My Shorts

Before we embarked on our Madeiran sojourn we had no idea that the island is taken over by Christmas lighting every year. Our first indication of this was an invitation to a Christmas Lights tour shown to us by the hotel when we arrived. When we explored Funchal on our first day, we were surprised by the density of the Christmas lights during our daytime wanderings. They were just everywhere. We couldn't wait to see them lit up at night.

On the Monday evening, we joined the Christmas Lights tour which, apart from driving us around the city centre itself to see the lights up close, took us to several excellent locations from which to observe the full spectacle of the Madeira Christmas lights. Above is a shot from one such place. I don't think Aki or I had ever seen so many Christmas lights in our lives before, it was really impressive and we thought on Monday evening that the tour would be the highlight of the trip.

At the final viewpoint, the tour driver took us to a nearby bar where we were treated to spam, cheese and some biscuits with the beverage of our choice. Some of the Madeira veterans chose something called Poncha, a mixture of lemon juice, sugar cane alcohol and sugar cane honey, so we opted for the same. Time to try something different! Aki thought it was quite easy to drink. I didn't...