Madeira Life Quite Slow

By: Douglas Scott

The island of Madeira is located in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean. The mariners who discovered the island in the 15th century were led by Joao Goncalves Zarco and Vaz Teixeira. Drawn by curiosity concerning what looked like a dark cloud, the mariners sailed into a breathtakingly beautiful bay and high green mountain.

Upon hearing of this, Dom Henriques began to organise the cultivation and colonisation of the island, shipping in high quality vines, sugar cane, wheat and barley grains and the finest cattle. Settlers came from the Algarve to create farms on the island, its claimed that the settlers chose the names Adam and Eve for the first boy and girl to be born in Madeira.

Funchal is the capitol of the island and a beautifully colourful port. The Portuguese took immense pride in the island and fine decorative architecture can be found everywhere. The quality of the fruit and vegetables that are grown on the island is exceptional. A visit to the lavradores market will give you the opportunity to discover how much difference there is between the homogenised products that are sold in supermarkets and the flavour filled produce that is grown locally.

The nearest beach requires a two hour boat ride to the island of Porto Santo. It is claimed that Christopher Colombus lived here, married to the daughter of the governor of the island.

Living in Madeira expatriates will find the pace of life quite slow and the quality of life achievable very high. Especially during the summer season the island is busy with tourism traffic but this doesnt affect the laid back nature of the locals. This is worth bearing in mind because those who want things doing quickly may find they have to wait and wait. In terms of finding work in Madeira, unless you speak Portuguese the majority of jobs available are in the tourism industry.

Like property in Portugal, especially on the Algarve, property in Madeira is not cheap basically on any island there is a limited supply of property for sale which in a place like Madeira where demand for real estate is high creates an environment where prices rise quite sharply. The level of health care available in Madeira is quite high, there are a number of private medical centres as well as the main hospital Cruz de Carvalho, but private expatriate health insurance is recommended for those moving to Madeira. For those moving to the island that have children, The British School of Madeira is a bilingual Portuguese and English school recognised by the Regional Education Authority of Madeira but there are other international and local options available to parents.

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