Helpful people of Madeira

By Stan C. Kimer
This item appears on page 26 of the August 2018 issue.

Stan Kimer (left) and two British friends riding the toboggan down the hill into Funchal.
I took a one-week hiking trip to Madeira Island, Portugal, in late May 2018 with Exodus International (Toronto, ON; 844/227-9087, www.exodustravels.com). Including a single supplement, the land cost was about $1,100, breakfasts included.

This was my fourth trip with Exodus. I enjoy hiking with the mostly British clientele as well as the very reasonable prices.

On our final day, we had the day free to roam Madeira’s major town of Funchal. Many visitors take the cable car from lower Funchal up to the suburb of Monte. After enjoying the sites of Monte, the most fun way to head back down into Funchal is by riding a toboggan, maneuvered by two drivers, down the steep, slick streets.

The toboggans can seat one, two or three people. The ride, dubbed as one of the world’s “seven coolest commutes,” was exhilarating!

After two friends and I arrived at the small bar and photo center at the bottom of the hill, I reached for my credit card to buy one of the marvelous photos of the ride, but it was missing!

I guessed that I had probably left it on the counter after paying for my lunch at Pátio Das Babosas (Largo das Babosas 16, 9050-541 Funchal, Portugal; phone +351 291 765 137), up in Monte. I did not relish the idea of walking up a steep, 2-kilometer hill to retrieve it.

My friend Cathy, from the UK, had her credit card receipt from the restaurant, which showed the phone number, and her cell phone had European service, so we called the restaurant. Sure enough, they had my credit card.

I coordinated with the toboggan-photography person, Rui Santos, down below, and he agreed to get one of the toboggan drivers to bring my credit card down with them if someone from the restaurant would take it the two blocks to the toboggan starting point. A restaurant employee agreed, and within 15 minutes my card was delivered!

It is refreshing to recount this story of the wonderful, helpful and honest people of Madeira.

STAN C. KIMER
Raleigh, NC