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   We spent the next day at the hotel. We tried to swim in the ocean, but we didn’t get any pleasure because of the large pebbles and the inconvenient entry and exit from the water. But at the pool we were almost alone. It was cloudy and we sunbathed without the risk of getting burned. By the way, about one more remarkable characteristic of the island - there is practically no temperature difference. We read that the average annual temperature on the island is 24 degrees. But the thing is that, for example, in Funchal the average daily temperature is the same 24 gr. We had a thermometer on the balcony, located in the shady side. At any time of the day the temperature fluctuated from 22 to 26 degrees. What else can you dream of?!
  Later we got to table tennis. We found the game room on the first day. There are many games here, but we were interested in two, more precisely, one of the two tennis tables of good quality. Although the lighting left much to be desired, this did not stop us from warming up intensively and then playing an hour-long sparring session. So, this point of our program was completed. True, this time they did without an international tournament, there were simply no rivals. The rest of the time was spent on the balcony.
  And we had dinner again at the fish restaurant next to the hotel.

   When planning trips, we leave the most interesting closer to the end of the route. So this time, on the penultimate active day in Madeira, we were going to go to the big road - to the levadas. Many come to Madeira just for this.
  Levadas are channels for collecting water flowing from the mountains. In the first period of the development of Madeira, levadas played a very important role and were, in fact, the water supply system on the island. And recently, levadas have acquired another purpose - they have become the basis of tourist walking routes. There are dozens of such routes on the island of varying degrees of difficulty, laid along the levadas, cutting the island up and down.
  We have chosen the most popular and one of the most beautiful routes - Risco.
  On the already familiar road, we quickly flew to Ribeira Brava, turned north again towards Sao Vicente. About halfway short of Sao Vicente, we had to turn west towards the Paul da Serra plateau.
  But we missed the right turn. Fortunately, there are many roundabouts on the road. We turned around without difficulty and, already following in the opposite direction, we saw a turn with the Encumeada sign, as it seemed to us, in the right direction.
  The road went up as usual. After a few kilometers, we saw a large car park in front of some complex of buildings and a beautifully decorated sign with the name Encumeada. Just below the parking lot - a lot of mushrooms with tables and benches. From here, a view of the surroundings opened, which again surprised, recalling both Alpine meadows and Carpathian valleys. At the parking lot, we talked with fellow tourists, checked the maps and made sure that we were on the right track.
  We continued our way up. The mountains were getting rougher. The road, already noticeably narrower, ran along a ledge along bare rocks with sparse vegetation. Here they passed a tunnel cut in the rock, without lighting, with streams of water flowing down the walls and arch. And here we are above the clouds.
  And suddenly, somehow unexpectedly, we jump out to an absolutely flat place. In front of us stretched the bare steppe with here and there sheltered undersized bushes. Judging by the map, we are on the Paul da Serra plateau, at an altitude of 1595 meters. The fantasy of the landscape is added by dozens of rotating petals of propellers of wind power plants, as if grinding clouds.
  A few more kilometers later we saw a huge number of cars parked along the road, and a Rabacal sign.
  Having hardly stuck the car near the shield with route maps, we set off on the road. First we had to walk 2 km down the paved path to the village of Rabacal. Once it was possible to go down this road by car, but now the entrance to the path from the highway was blocked by a barrier. And along the path itself, a shuttle bus scurried back and forth - a minibus. This pleasure costs 2 euros per bow one way. We proudly ignored the minibus (they say, that's not why we came here) and cheerfully drove on our two. The path wound through the forest, around the magnificent nature of the gorge with the euphonious name Ribeira da Janela, and going down, especially down, was a real pleasure. Soon we reached a small parking lot with barely visible remnants of the markings. Here, the monopolist of the local cab was just parked - the same minibus.
  We came to a fork: one arrow pointed in the direction of Risco (0.9 km), the other - 25 Fontes (2.4 km). As planned, we decided to go to Risco for a warm-up. They also promised a beautiful waterfall of the same name.
  Here we finally saw what levada is.

    A channel with water up to 50-70 cm wide wound along a path, and sometimes along a narrow path laid along a mountain ledge: on the one hand, a rock wall and a channel along it, on the other, a mountain slope or just a cliff and an abyss. The path on the Risco is relatively wide and straight, without sharp drops, the ground, although rocky, is trampled down and rather soft. Those. no mountain walking skills are required and our shoes in the form of sneakers turned out to be quite enough to comfortably walk along this levada. Further you will understand why I describe the track profile in such detail.
  So, we moved along the Risco Levada. There is an impenetrable forest on both sides, and along the path itself there are thickets of berry bushes. We enjoyed the ripe blackberries. Streams, springs, waterfalls and simply flowing moisture flow into the levada all along. We tried water from one spring: pure, clear and tasty, but not icy.
  And here is the Risco waterfall in all its glory. A white foamy jet of water, clearly visible against the background of black basalt rocks, fell from somewhere under the clouds and disappeared into the abyss of the abyss. On postcards, we saw this waterfall much more full-flowing. Around the rocks flowing many small waterfalls. In front of the waterfall itself there is a small observation deck, protruding in a semicircle over the abyss. There are ancient stone benches on the site.
  We returned to the fork and, inspired by what we saw at Risco, set out to continue our walk along the levada 25 Fontes - 25 Fountains and even began to go down. The track profile has changed dramatically. A narrow stony path led steeply down, hard, with stones sticking out at sharp corners. Then we suddenly noticed the shoes of the tourists who overtook us in the downward direction and returned upstairs with heavy breathing: all without exception were in mountain boots and, moreover, armed with alpenstocks. And we realized that we are not ready to take this height today.

   Being prudent people, probably due to age, we unanimously decided not to look for adventures and not to spoil ourselves with such a wonderful vacation. And they turned back. Impressed by the relative failure, hiding pride away, they even used the minibus service and went upstairs to the car.
  On the already familiar road, we returned home without incident, even had dinner at home, and gave up unspent energy in the next table tennis sparring.

   Last day in Madeira. I just wanted to rest before the long journey back. In addition, the car went haywire, there were some abnormal noises while driving. They didn't want to tempt fate again. Therefore, we fully spent the day at the hotel: on the balcony, on the pool, in the game room. Only in the evening we walked along the embankment and had a farewell dinner in a very cozy restaurant on the square near the supermarket.

   Last time we had breakfast in our very hospitable mansions. Yang has arrived. Thank you very much and say goodbye. At exactly 11 o'clock a minibus was waiting for us. We gave the keys to the room and the car to the porter and drove to the airport.
  We never wanted to end our holiday in Madeira, we felt so comfortable here. We agreed that another 3-4 days would not hurt. Well, let's take it into account for the future: Madeira is that corner of the earth where, having been once, you really want to return!

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