You left us having just got settled into our apartment.  Our host had very kindly left us a bottle of wine and some bread, ham and snacks.  He also told us that that nearest supermarket was “10 minutes walk” away.  Now I have put “10 minutes walk” in speech marks, but can I suggest for maximum effect that you also do “air quotes” whilst mouthing  “10 minutes walk”.  Have you done that?  Good.

That has served 2 functions:

1) To further emphasise that it wasn’t actually  “10 minutes walk” and
2) I am now sat here chuckling at the thought of you all doing air quotes whilst reading this.  Haha…the power!

Anyway, we have a choice  “10 minutes walk” (don’t forget the air quotes) or a 5 minute car journey.  It’s now gone 7:30, the chilli dog from breakfast has worn off and it goes dark at 8:00, so what choice did we have?  Yes, we decided to walk.  I’m convinced there is a part of the brain which just lays dormant for most of the year, then on holiday it just kicks in.  It’s the bit of the brain which in a restaurant makes you say “I can’t understand a word of this menu and I have no idea if the “Regional Speciality” (no need for air quotes for that one.  They usually are regional specialities) is animal, mineral or vegetable, but I’ll order it.  What’s the worst it can be? lung?” (It usually is lung, or heart, or some other unmentionable parts).  Well this part of the brain decided that we should walk “so we can get our bearings”.  (Back to air quotes please).

Now once upon a time “finding your bearings” was a perfectly acceptable thing to do.  But now a days we have Google maps.  I can see our apartment and the supermarket on my phone if I so choose.  But this was the holiday brain working.  We were going old school.  Our host had kindly drawn up maps on how to get to the supermarket, Machico, Funchal etc.  All the local ones included “shortcuts” (you definitely need air quotes for that one).  When he described them to us they all seemed to involve either walking through a wood, using and overgrown path, or my personal favourite, climbing up a disused water channel so we could clamber down the other side.  So, as you probably guessed, we decided to use the “shortcut”.  (my fingers are getting tired of all of these air quotes, so I’m sure your are, so feel free to give them a rest).

Karen took a photo of the map (complete with shortcuts) on her phone.  As dusk fell we set off up the steep, unlit overgrown path, across the road, through the bushes, up another overgrown path and appeared on the top road.  We knew we were on the right track as we passed by a strange 1960’s building which  our host had told us was a gym/ice cream parlour/hair dressing salon combo.  I’m still not sure why we don’t see those 3 businesses side by side in more of our towns and cities.  As we passed by we waved and said “hola” to some blue rinsed granny body builders who were eating ice cream and continued our quest to try and find the supermarket.

I wasn’t totally convinced that we were going the right way, so I asked Karen to look at the map.
“I haven’t got it”
“But you took a photo”
“Ah yes…” (rummages in bag)”Ah, I’ve forgotten my phone”

Great.  So we ploughed on just hoping that we would find our destination.  The road twisted, left, then right, went up, went down until eventually as the street lights were coming on we found the supermarket.  We shot around purchased the essentials, bread, milk,  jam, butter, crisps, nuts.  (I think that covers all the major food groups).  By the time we left the air conditioned joy of the supermarket and entered the muggy night it was dark.  We headed back up the hill. However, all the hills that we went  up on the way here, should have been down on the way back, but for some reason, the whole journey seemed to be uphill.  We passed by the ice cream parlour gym where a lady was having a perm whilst planking and eating a knickerbocker glory.  So we just had to find the gap in the bushes and the path back.

Now I wasn’t really paying attention on the way way as to where exactly we came out.  We tried jumping through a couple of gaps in bushes but found ourselves in peoples gardens.  We kept on walking.  After around 200 yards I was convinced that we had missed it.  Karen thought if we carried on walking we would eventually find our way home.  At 9:00 pm, 90 minutes after we had set out on our “10 minute walk” dripping with sweat we made it back to the apartment.  We collapsed on the sofa.

“Do you want a beer?”
“Yes please”
“Ah….you know what we forgot to buy……”

Come back tomorrow to find out about the bizarre history of our apartment block, why the fascists built the afore mentioned ice cream parlour/hairdressers/gym facility and why we have an abandoned Olympic size swimming pool at the bottom of the garden.

PS. Ben just for you I have included more pictures and a word search to make the blog more interesting.


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