14 de Agosto de 2017.

Expectations

It has already been a month since I left my hometown in the northeast of France to live this experience of a lifetime in Madeira. How do I feel about that? If anyone would have told me that I would be in Madeira at that time last year, I would have never believed him or her. I was doing my end-of-studies internship in the Ministry of Economy in Luxembourg, and I was expecting, or rather, my parents were expecting me to find a job afterwards. Instead I started working as a volunteer in a non-profit organisation that promotes European values and informs youngsters about all kinds of mobility programmes that exist in the European Union. I was still looking for […]
10 de Agosto de 2017.

British Experiences of Iberia

Comparing my first experiences of Iberian life to the British soldiers who arrived in 1807. Upon arriving in Madeira I read The British Soldier in the Peninsular War (G. Daly, Hobart, 2013) in order to learn more about the history of the island. I have compared my experiences to the soldiers who occupied Madeira from 1807. The first thing that struck me upon arrival was the temperate weather and dramatic terrain. Lieutenant Sherer of the Cumberland Regiment was similarly taken, describing the wooded mountains of Portugal as ‘enchanting’. However upon entering the cities the initial optimism of the soldiers turned to revulsion; John Douglas wrote home complaining of poor hygiene and disease in Lisbon. While I have not been to […]
7 de Agosto de 2017.

Your own personal mountains

Dare to feel like a king of the island? After having set my adventurous foot on three trails connecting Pico Ruivo with the south (Pico do Areeiro), the east (Achadas do Teixeira) and the north (Ilha), I once again channelled my inner explorer to check the last remaining path – Vereda da Encumeada (PR 1.3) going west, to the mountain pass at Encumeada. And this vereda is no fooling around, this is not for Sunday hikers in flip-flops or the likes of a guy I once saw at roughly 1700 meters above sea level, carrying his equipment in a plastic bag from a well-known supermarket. This hike alone is 11,2 kilometers long and you still have to reach or descend […]
4 de Agosto de 2017.

My luggage

This month I’m going to Spain, and in this text I want to talk just a bit about the news in my luggage. In my luggage I’ll put the normal things, like clothes, shoes, sunscreen, but I also want to take some specific new things that I obtained in Madeira like new language skills, new friends, new knowledge. I’ll also take lots of histories about my job, my adventures, about the lovely people that I met here. I’ll also take new first experiences, my first picnic, my first successful hitchhiking and camping for the first time. I’ll also tell them the way that I’ve learnt how to be more patient, how to be more open, how I discovered some proper […]
21 de Julho de 2017.

Old ones & new ones

Upon the arrival of new volunteers, I realized that I am the “old” one now. When I got here, to Funchal, four months ago, I could count on the help and experience of volunteers that got here several months before me. I perceived them as my “mentors” when it comes to practical stuff regarding living in the residence and getting around the city. They showed me the fastest route to work, where to buy vegetables and of course what does the word “poncha” mean. And their help was even more appreciated when it comes to free-time activities. Like finding great camping spots, recommending hiking trails and levadas, bars, museums and other attractions. Of course I’ve learned and discovered a lot […]