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Friday, January 8, 2016

Downtown East Funchal and the Mercado dos Lavradores --Madeira

Welcome back!  

I am still chatting about my first full day in Madeira Island, recapping my day in East Funchal. Today we are talking about the downtown area and the farmer's market.  

Technically, our hotel is in Sao Martinho, just outside of Funchal.  While you can walk to downtown Funchal from the hotel district in Sao Martinho, you can also drive.  We headed downtown to see several sights, including the Cable Cars, Toboggans, and Farmers Market. Be warned, downtown Funchal is the capitol of the island, and also a busy busy port for tourists coming off the cruise ships.  There are a ton of shops and restaurants, and you can easily spend the day here in the downtown area.    Walk along the water, have lunch outside, and visit the Sao Tiago Fort.  

No car? No problem!
Book a tukxi tour tour to see Downtown Funchal. 
Harbor in Funchal 
Bikers in the downtown area
Cruise ship in the harbor
Ship in the Atlantic 
Sao Tiago Fort
Sao Tiago Fort 
Sao Tiago Fort
Sao Tiago Fort
On our (long) list of places to visit in East Funchal was the downtown farmer's market known as the "Mercado dos Lavradores".  We wanted to see the local produce, flowers, fish and goods, and this is the perfect place to do it.  Known as a spot where the locals trade, you can find amazing local produce, fresh fish right off the boat, and even some touristy goods and keep sakes.  There is an upper level and lower level, and the fish are brought in a separate room.  If you want to really get a glimpse, and see the essence of Madeira, this is a great place to start. 

Mercado dos Lavradores entrance 
"Bursting with exotic color, heavy with wonderful mid-Atlantic aromas and busy from morning till late afternoon with a procession of shopping locals an curious tourists, Funchal's main market is one of the city's most captivating attractions.  Built in 1940 by architect Edmundo Tavares, this art deco structure has retained the majority of its original features, including very high quality azulejos tiling from the mainland.  Far from becoming an ossified tourist attraction, the mercado still serves as the city's trading hub".  Lonely Planet Pocket Travel Guide, Madeira

Fresh fruits at the market 
Mercado dos Lavradores
Hours:  8am to 7pm Monday to Thursday, 
7am to 8pm Friday, 7am to 2pm Saturday 
Cost:  Free admission into the market
Parking:  Parking garage or spaces downtown
GPS: N 32º 38' 55.09'' ,W 16º 54' 15.17''
Notes:  If you want to see the fresh fish in the market, make sure you get there at opening time.  You will see the fishermen bringing their catch inside, and filleting the fish.  You will also find a ton of fruit, flowers, embroidered goods, and souvenirs. 

"Banana Ananaz" Looks like a weird banana, taste like a pineapple 

Fruits and vegetables for sale at the market 
A local fruit known as "Black Hearts" (far left)
Tangerines at the market 
Variety of fruits including Papaya 
Empty fish market, where local fisherman bring their catch at the start of the market
Embroidered goods for sale at the market 
Local Poncha made in Madeira made with aguardente de cana (distilled alcohol made from sugar cane juice), honey, sugar, lemon rind and with different fruit juices according to the version of poncha, but traditionally lemon juice is used.
Figs stuffed with walnuts at the market

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