Our cruise ship stopped in Funchal Island, owned by Portugal, which is a small island filled with wealth people, everything has to be imported, and nothing but bananas is produced there. The ship stops at this particular island because it has extensive upper-scale shopping and long tours around the island’s natural beauty. For the not-so-wealth (aka: us) the island offers surprisingly little. You can stroll up and down the streets window shopping at stores you’ll never be able to afford, or you can waltz into the magnificent churches to gawk at the gold-plated everything.
We chose to head to the local fish and flower market, where we watched elderly men gut and skin fish before chopping them into bits for waiting customers. Eels, shark and various other strange under-water critters materialized from under tables to be dissected
like bizarre outer-space science experiments. We watched until bile began to rise from the smell and sight of gutted mystery critters, and then moved on to the flower market, which had a much better smell. Some of the tropical flowers were more beautiful and colorful than anything I imagined existed on this planet.
Our stay on the island was brief, but it is a place we highly recommend if you have: A) money; B) time, and; C) a love of shopping.