Our first morning in Madeira. At breakfast in our hotel (Hotel do Santo in Santo da Serra), it is overcast and raining outside. We decide to abide by our original plan and drive the car in the direction of Arieiro Pico, the second highest peak of Madeira. Probably against all odds. /p>
The road (number 102 later 202) winds through the forested areas of Madeira. Gradually, the sky becomes clearer and suddenly ... the sky above us is completely cleared. We're above the clouds. We had read that this could happen, but had never taken into account that this really could happen to us! It appeared to be the beginning of an exceptionally beautiful day, as if we were on the roof of the world.
Enjoying the magnificent views, with the Pico Arieiro in front of us, we drive further up to a height of 1818 meters. In the parking lot, just below the highest point, there is a restaurant and a souvenir shop. Buses bring masses of tourists here from Funchal for a brief visit. They stay there only for a short time and then make way for other tourists.
We leave the spot quickly and start the walk that brings us to the Pico Ruivo. The start of the walk is immediately spectacular. The trails are well maintained and fortunately in certain places cables have been placed which gives us a sense of security.
After a mile or two the path is rougher and the road also goes down. The 'steps' are at times 30 to 40 cm high, quite tiring at an altitude of almost 1800 meters.
The road passes through a tunnel for a first time. Not so long and straight, so that you can see the light of the tunnel at the end. Our lamps are not really needed. A little further the way to the second tunnel is closed. We obediently follow the instructions and begin the detour which takes us back on track along the flanks of the Pico das Torres.
It is already well past noon when the road bends again to the west. We see the Pico Ruivo ahead, we still have a few kilometers to go and especially ... the road goes at first down and then up again. Up to 1862 meters, the highest peak of Madeira. We continue to quietly enjoy the beautiful weather and beautiful views and decide to go the way back.
At the end of the trip we decide to come back to the Pico Arieiro. We want to watch the sunset. We're almost alone until the last moment and enjoy a wonderful spectacle!