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Located in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Island of Medeira was settled by Portugal in 1418.  Once called the Purple Islands by the Romans, it is now often referred to as the Island of Eternal Spring.  With its temperate climate and abounding floriculture, it certainly does retain its spring like feeling all year round. Everywhere you go on the Island of Madeira, you are surrounded by its lush and tropical vegetation.  The island itself is geographically rugged and the terrain includes some of the steepest sea cliffs in the world.

The Island of Madeira is most famous for its namesake.  Madeira Wine can be likened to no other wine in the world.  Its legendary flavor could very well have more to do with the solitude of the island than its climate or grapes.  When Madeira was first introduced to the world in the 17th century, shopping methods left much to be desired.  With no way to control the temperature the wine was stored in, it was left to bake as the ships carrying it traversed through the tropics on its way to the New World.  The heating that it received turned the otherwise light and acidic beverage into a full bodied wine with a hint of burnt flavor in its depths.  As its popularity grew, orders were given that the wine was to be aged through several round trip voyages to all parts of the world. This unique way of aging wine caused it to often be christened “The Wine of the Round Voyage.”

While grapes are still grown in Medeira, the island has taken advantage of its tropical climate and made bananas its number one export.  While visiting the island there is never a month that bananas aren’t in season, so you can always see their bright yellow goodness hanging in bunches on the trees.  Unique to the island is their one of a kind Madeira Banana.  This fruit is half the size of a regular banana but contains twice the flavor and it is very hard to find outside the market place on the island.

The market place has much more to offer than delicious bananas.  A wide variety of tropical fruit and fresh grown vegetables are only the first delicacies to assail your senses every Friday on Market Day.   The fish market alone is worth a visit to the island.  The variety if fish and size of the tuna will make all other seafood you have ever tasted pale in comparison. Other amazing finds at the shops along the market place include delicately designed wicker items and embroidery that is so exquisite it deserves to be displayed as a prized showpiece in your home.

The Island of Madeira is a like a tropical dream that you hesitate  to wake from. Once you have partaken of charm, you may never want to leave.




Portugal: travel around and find out the essence of the Land!