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 March this year). Fairylights twinkled in the plane trees and around cafes serving poncha, the local tooth-rotter of aguardente de cana, lemon, sugar and honey. I risked a cup and waited for the razzmatazz to start.

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Sarah Baxter