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May, 2019

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Monte is 3000’ above Funchal and has wonderful views of Funchal. It was the summer retreat for the wealthy families, who built Quintas here. It was popular with C19th tourists until Reid’s Hotel opened in Funchal. Emperor Charles I of Austria and King of Hungary lived here after he was deposed and exiled during the First World War and is buried in the church.

After the Second World War, Funchal became the main tourist base although Monte with its gardens, is still a popular day out for tourists, who come to visit “Monte Palace Gardens,”: the “church”: and a toboggan ride.

“Toboggans, “: wicker baskets on wooden runners, were traditionally used to carry people and goods from Monte down to Fuchal. They were controlled by two men called carreiros using ropes.
The toboggans still run today and are a popular tourist attraction, although they only run as far as Livramento. The run takes 10 minutes and can reach speeds of up to 30mph. The Carrerios traditionally dressed in white with rubber soled boots and a straw hat, act as brakesmen controlling the downward speed.

A “rack railway”: was also built at the end of the C19th to bring visitors up from Funchal. This ran until the Second World War when there was a shortage of steel and the track was dismantled and the train taken out of service. One of the viaducts can still be seen among the trees in the Municipal Gardens. These small gardens have cobbled paths through indigenous and exotic trees and are free.

A cable car was built 2000 taking tourists from Almirante Reis Park in Funchal old town to Monte. The trip takes 15 minutes to cover the 1840’ difference in height. There are spectacular views down to Monte

Down the hill below the bus stops are Jardins do Imperador, which have recently reopened after being badly damaged by a fire in 2016. The Quinta was originally the summer residence of an English merchant and later was the final home of Emperor Charles I of Austria and King of Hungary until his death. It was destroyed in the fire but there are plans to rebuild it.

All my Madeira pictures are “here.”:


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