Funchal, Portugal

April 11. 2017
I’ve been so terrible at writing since pictures are so much easier. We had five days at sea after Bermuda. I spent them eating desserts, napping, and pushing the limits on my pant line. (Update: was too successful.. jeans had to go in the bottom of the backpack for now.)

Yesterday was rainy and a little cold so we spent it all inside, part of the day including doing charcoal face masks in our room with our new friend we made. Although he requested not to have the picture of ALL our face masks on (not sure why as he looked fabulous!), so here’s just us.

Talking with our new friend gave me a lot of hope on things I’d been missing in every relationship prior to now, especially with my ex that I KNEW I wanted to marry *insert facepalm here*. He came on the ship alone because his friends couldn’t make a two-week transatlantic and he wanted to travel, so he just went…alone.
We went to the dance club the other night on the ship and he actually pulled me up to dance to some salsa-type dancing (I hope he never reads this because I know that’s inaccurate but I can’t remember what it was). I do know he had a a lot of hip movement and I was thoroughly impressed. He goofed around with face masks and laughing our asses off to Lonely Island songs.

These little things, like charcoal masks) to big ones, like travel, were eye opening. It made me realize how much I had given up in the name of “making it work” with my ex. Which is also called settling.
Never. Again.
Maybe this is the start of it- what everyone always talks about when I tell them I’m taking a 3 month trip- this “finding yourself”. Finding out things you never knew you wanted until you had it. Or maybe it’s just finding what I forgot. Either way, to meet someone who my heart recognized as “oh! You’re like me!” was incredible. I’m looking forward to a lot more soul recognizing encounters. 😊

This morning we had our 6th and final hour time change, putting us 9 hours ahead of Seattle. We set an alarm at 7:00am and came to the front of the ship (which also happens to be where the 24 hour buffet is located – winning!) to watch the sunrise. It was due at 7:17 that morning. We waited a good hour and a half in the dark before it started to rise. Time changes are really confusing for us, apparently.

During that time of waiting we talked with one of the Maitre’D, and a native to Bosnia. We talked of his cruise life, compared costs of living all over the world, and I swear at some point he nonchalantly told me you can get a $20 BJ in Thailand. Which is obviously a steal, but I didn’t quite know what else to contribute after that. Or if it was a language barrier. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.

(Our patiently awaited sunset)

Okay, so there’s that update.

Now let’s talk Portugal. Our ship got in April 10, 2017, and we were able to explore from 8-1630.
I also only realized shortly before arrival we were going to an island. For some reason, I’ve had in my head Funchal is where Lisbon is (*insert snotty laugh like I’m so cultured to mess up these geographical locations when literally two months ago I could find neither on a map.*)😒 I digress.

It started to feel real getting of the ship and seeing the unfamiliar, European looking cars. We saw those in Bermuda but it seemed different. Bermuda to Europe is like Hawaii to the U.S.- we’re really glad you’re here and we think you’re beautiful but I also really don’t understand how you’re related. You’re not even attached. You’re closer to other continents and actually look like them.. Europe won’t fully admit you’re adopted but you don’t look much like the rest. It’s like Europe had an affair with one of the other continents but everyone just looks the other way and no one acknowledges it. “YOU HAVE PINK SAND! That doesn’t run in our genes over here!” Anyway, off track, again.

So, one of the first things you see off the port are these adorable “graffiti” signs of “Welcome to Funchal” over a bright, familiar yellow smiley face (same as the Walmart rollback dude or an emoji smile, depending on your lifestyle).

Next was the view. We climbed a couple stairs up to the cliff top overlooking the edge of the island and the beautiful water. While taking selfies on our selfie stick like the g-damn tourists we are, I see an orange tabby cat just sitting on the sidewalk. Then a black one. Then two more laying in the grass. So either they found me, which I hear is what happens when you turn 30 and are unmarried, or these were some of the strays I’d heard about. It took everything I had not to pet them then stuff them in my bag, but I felt pretty confident they’d find me when the time is right, so we moved along.

There’s going to be a few things I’ll mention about Portugal all that I learned, but first and foremost, let’s discuss how all the men are beautiful. They have this amazing sunkissed skin and these ice blue or green eyes pop out of their beautifully-handcrafted-by-God faces.

Next, the toilet seats. WTF Portugal? I mention this to Katie and she says “well? what’s the point of them anyway?”

“I don’t know. One more thing to clean? It’s more comfortable? It’s just.. what I’m used to I guess” I told her.

She made a decent point by saying maybe they didn’t want people hanging out there. I wasn’t trying to write a novel, or even read one, but I didn’t have a great argument back other than my butt cheeks are perhaps just more sensitive these days as I’m still recovering from my Man O War encounter.

We bought tickets for the hop on/off tour bus for the day. I learned Portugal’s #1 export is wine, which grows best in their land 400-700 meters above sea level. Second, and best grown below that, are bananas. Actually, some crossbreed of bananas that they said taste and look better than regular bananas… because anyone that’s eating a banana is clearly concerned with how it looks. Their third largest export is probably their Portuguese sperm. They didn’t say this on the information section, but it’s my own personal speculation.

One of the stops we got off was the municipal gardens. We walked up their weird half-steps that were just 5 inches too short or too wide for my regular stride. At the top of the steps was an old church that overlooked all the houses built into the cliffside and the Atlantic Ocean. I had no idea exactly how beautiful Portugal was.

(Half steps!)

Church we went into.

Beautiful Portugal.

We also watched toboggans that slid down these gigantic hillsides. Short of the fact there were two Portuguese men in a 3 foot vicinity of you when you’re in the cart, I couldn’t see the rest of the appeal. You sit in this wicker-looking basket cart with wooden sled feet (that might not be right) and go down the entire side of the mountain on these should-be-one-laned-but-are-two-laned roads, that CARS ARE ALSO DRIVING ON! I would’ve let those men strap me to a lot of things, but a cart flying down a side of a hill with no control was not one.

Next we walked some back streets in the center and Katie enjoyed a glass of their famous Madeira wine. We tried to go to the post office to mail a card back home but between not speaking their language and a ticket that said there were 37 people ahead of us, we opted out.

Another thing I noticed in Funchal was everyone hung their clothes to dry. I’m not sure if it’s a power, heat, or space issue. Or maybe it’s a Americans are lazy and there is no issue. More than that, I noticed pants were hung like you’d wear them, but all the shirts hung upside down. There’s got to be a reason for that method, but I didn’t get to find out.

Also, all of Madeira is hill. HUGE. Slopes. If I had paid more attention in Algebra, I could probably tell you the name of the angle of that slope but I believe it’s called “a shit ton”. With noticing the big hills, I also noticed the big butts of the natives. It felt a little like I belonged. 😊

Before boarding the ship, I tried to FaceTime my mom. Then my dad. Then my mom again. Neither answered. Really felt the love, Life Givers.

Alright y’all, I had been meaning to post this for a while. I’m gonna get back to some exploring Granada now and get another post up after we leave. ✌🏼😘

I'm a 30 year old American female that's decided to quit my big-kid job and go travel the world. I believe in being kind to everyone and I believe in laughing, a lot. Everything else is secondary.


  1. Great pictures and you are a funny story teller too. Keep the updates coming, I am enjoying reading about your travels. I have not been anywhere over there, but London. Portugal is one of the locations I can do a Habitat for Humanity trip. I am much more interested in it now. Maybe after I go to Nepal I will do Portugal next.

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