Using Gateway funding, I travelled to Funchal, a city on the island of Madeira in Portugal with a group of friends. As we were each travelling from different countries, planning this trip entailed coordinating various flight arrival and departure times, but thankfully (apart from delays) everything worked out well! Furthermore, most of us had not travelled alone before so it was a new challenge for us to organize our itinerary and make sure that everyone was happy with the activities we were doing.
One of the highlights of the trip was touring the volcanic sites and pools around the island, where we learnt the different formations of lava and how the island was formed from a series of eruptions over thousands of years!
We also got the opportunity to trek in the mountains, exploring the various levada trails; a levada is an irrigation channel specific to Madeira. On this trek we were exposed to the beautiful and diverse flora and fauna of the island, including the smallest bird in Madeira, the Bis-bis, which is only 10 cm in length!
Another incredible experience was the 4x4 jeep tour that took us around the northern and western part of the island. On this tour, we stopped at many different villages, allowing us to explore the culture of the island, as well as off-roading down the mountains!
Overall, I really enjoyed this trip as it allowed me to discover a part of the world I had never seen before with a group of my close friends. I was overwhelmed by the natural beauty and rich culture of the island and I am very grateful to Gateway funding for giving me this opportunity!