I have just come back from Madeira, my 28th visit I think. I first visited in
1968, and obviously like it. The Old Town was exactly that, cobbled streets, distressed houses, then a few houses were converted to Restaurants, nothing to see from the outside but very smart interiors and well cooked, reasonably priced food. The area had it's own magic, peeling stucco, little windows and doors, some shabby, some with brass knockers and gleaming paintwork. EU money has made a lot of changes, not all for the good, but this June they and the City Fathers decided on an Art Contest which sought to smarten up and enliven the Old Town. Some people said no and refused to allow the artists to use their homes, but most joined in. Talking to a few of the Madeirans I know it was a pretty mixed reaction. I think the comment I remember most was the guy who said,
"If I wanted to live in California, I'd move to California"
I hope a few MH members will tell me what they think.
The way things were.
The Old Town.
Then and Now.