Fire near Casino Park. Pestana. Praia Formosa.

A bit of excitement in Funchal last night as a fire broke out on the cliff-face below the Casino Park Hotel at the top of Santa Catarina Park. The fire was spotted around 6.00pm and the Avenida Sá Carneiro from the Pontinha to its junction with Avenida do Mar was closed by police. 24 Bombeiros and 6 fire appliances attended, with the fire being reasonably quickly extinguished and the Avenida re-opened a couple of hours later.

The Diario reports that the fire did not assume large proportions due to prompt intervention, but the heat caused the hotel’s nightclub windows to shatter. Three people were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation. Neither the gardens of Quinta Vigia, official home to the President of the Regional Government of Madeira, nor the Vespas night club at the base of the escarpment, were affected by the fire.

Pestana plans new hotels

The Pestana group plans to open this year three hotels in mainland Portugal and start work on the Praça do Mar in Funchal  – by coincidence the area overlooked by the fire reported above. President of the Group, Dionisio Pestana is reported as saying that “it  is easy to transform the existing building into a hotel with 50 rooms”. Rather ambiguously, plans reveal that “the first phase of the  floor of the building will be for housing, with a discreet reception to be included in a total of ​​559 square meters”. The hotel project will take three years before commencing business. There are yet more rumours about Pestana starting various projects in partnership with Ronaldo, but Dionisio reported that at the moment there was “nothing concrete”. Pestana have invested almost 20 million euros since 2008 in the renovation of the Casino Park, Carlton and Bay.

Praia Formosa

The eastern end of the beach at Praia Formosa and the tunnel through to Doca do Cavacas remain closed after being damaged by unusually heavy seas last week – see previous blog. The view below is directly from the Regency Yacht Bar, courtesy of Steve – thank you.


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Doca do Cavacas. Madeiran car parking.

Madeiran car parking, and other offences….

Resultado de imagem para psp madeiraFigures in the Diario today reveal that the PSP, responsible for policing traffic on the island, fined 16,994 drivers (down 2656 on 2013) and arrested 616 (down 15) during 2014. Irregular parking accounted for 78% of total road crimes with an average of 38 vehicles penalised each day. However this figure is falling quite rapidly – in 2010 an average of 67 were fined each day.
Speeding, as in previous years, was the second most committed offence, representing 8% of the total – radar caught 1,431 drivers during 2014, an average of four per day. This is a small increase on previous years – apparently the PSP enforced the rules more strictly, particularly with those driving more than 20 km/h above the speed limit (€60 minimum fine). Interestingly the majority of speeding motorists are caught on the outskirts of Funchal.
Driving under the influence of alcohol accounts for 5% of the total offences in the year, with 856 drivers being stopped, 60% of whom were held for having blood alcohol levels exceeding 1.20 g/l. There was a small reduction in “very serious” offenses (0.80 to 1.19 g/l) which incurs a fine of €500. The decrease was most marked in the classification of “serious” offenses (0.50 to 0.79 g/l), punished with a fine of €250 , which went from 237 to just 98.

Doca do Cavacas

imageThe heavy seas that affected much of the southern coast of the island during the last week have closed the tunnel at Doca do Cavacas  – this seems to have been open for an unusually long spell recently, having regularly been closed by storms over recent years. It also looks like the duckboards providing the pathway along the eastern end of Praia Formosa have been washed away, and the Regency Yacht Bar has been closed for a few days. Not sure if this has suffered any damage, but you have to feel sorry for the place – it might as well close when the tunnel is not open, as I guess the tourists using that route accounts for the majority of its custom. The photo was taken at Praia Formosa on Wednesday lunchtime – thank you David.
Update Sunday pm: I am reliably informed that the Regency Yacht Bar has opened again today, although with barriers preventing access to the pathway to the tunnel to Doca do Cavacas, and more tape stopping access to the beach

Bizarre cloud formation

Finally, a couple of photos of the “blimp” that appeared over Funchal last night – these taken in Ajuda at around 7.00pm.



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Carnival Clean-up. Bacalhau à Brás. Bees back in Porto Santo.

After the party


There are literally thousands of photos of carnival out there on the internet so I won’t add to them here. Instead a couple  of shots of one of the more practical aspects of the festivities – the huge job of tidying up afterwards. These guys literally come last in each parade – this time immediately at the end of the “Slapstick” parade yesterday. Thanks for the photos Margaret.


Jamie Oliver “disappoints” Portuguese

À Mesa com o Chef Malhado's photo.The Diario this week reports that well known TV chef Jamie Oliver has created a little controversy posting a recipe for Bacalhau à Brás on his Facebook page last Friday. His version of the traditional Portuguese recipe provoked a flood of highly critical “comments”, with most agreeing that he had not even come close – one whimsical correspondent adding that he had followed the instructions and come up with this……….

Hopefully this will not develop into a diplomatic incident.! A Portuguese blogger, , points out that the authoritative recipe is generally regarded as the one detailed in the highly regarded “The Portuguese Cuisine “ by Maria de Lourdes Modesto. I didn’t realise that the dish is named after an innkeeper named Brás from the Barrio Alto district of central Lisbon – a great area for restaurants nowadays.

Beekeeping reintroduced to Porto Santo

After being wiped out ten years ago by disease, bees have been re-introduced to Porto Santo. Ten swarms (around 130,00 bees) have been imported from the Azores – these species are reputedly tolerant to disease – and it is hoped that the activity will bring some fresh business to the island.

High winds forecast

IPMA, the Portuguese Met Office, have issued a yellow warning (3rd on a scale of 4) for winds of 90–100 km/hr in the inland mountainous regions of Madeira today.

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