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Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira

Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira Madeira may have a sedate reputation but the wild, rugged landscape is the perfect place for hiking and trail-running in the spring sunshine Having found a bench in the hot spring sunshine, I was unwrapping my bolo de caco – an excellent toasted sweet potato sandwich, slathered in garlic butter – when “Michael Jackson” walked past. He was dressed Thriller era, and accompanied by a few pirates and a brass band in orange Afros. The band struck up. Michael strutted. The bystanders on Funchal’s lively Avenida Arriaga cheered. That evening, the fancy dress and frivolity were fully unleashed. It was Madeira Carnival’s main parade – one of the Portuguese island’s biggest celebrations (10…

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Younger at heart: Madeira’s makeover

Younger at heart: Madeira’s makeover Madeira is known for its year-round warmth and relaxing vibe. But visitors are now going there in search of thrills ‘Time to off-road,” says Pedro, our jeep driver and guide for the day. It’s the most enthusiastic he’s been all morning; his 4×4 Land Rover is built for it after all, and he isn’t remotely worried that we’re stuck in mud with our back wheels hanging over the edge of the track. “Are we going to fall down the mountain?” asks my seven-year-old, her knuckles white. “We’ll be fine,” I tell her, as Pedro accelerates over a fallen log and hurtles up a steep hill in search of another panoramic view. We’re about 1,500m…

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