“Wall of Hope”
Flower Festival approaches again – from 16th to 22nd April. Obviously the main event as usual is on the Sunday (19th) and it is easy to overlook the “Wall of Hope” ceremony on the Saturday morning, which has taken place for over three decades and is intended to raise awareness of world peace, using, according to visitmadeira.pt, “childhood innocence and the fragility of flowers” in a ceremony which has over a thousand children, each carrying a flower, parade from Avenida Arriaga to Praça do Município to place the flower on a wall “filled with symbolism” – the "Wall of Hope". The ceremony will culminate, as usual, with the release of doves and a children’s show. The parade of floats with the flower displays – on the Sunday – has been taking place since 1979.
Hotel School “favoured”
It has been announced that the Professional School of Hospitality and Tourism Madeira (EPHTM) will receive subsidies of €3.4 million over the coming year from the regional government under revised guidelines. Evidence that the authorities realise that there really is effectively only one industry on this island.
Lufthansa – more strikes
Lufthansa pilots have called for a new, second strike today, following a planned action yesterday, potentially disrupting thousands more passengers. The airline yesterday cancelled 750 flights, affecting 80,000 passengers, including a number of flights to Portugal with onward connections to Madeira. Passengers are advised to consult the Lufthansa website. At the heart of an on-going dispute is the company’s attempts to scrap a scheme that allows pilots to retire early at the age of 55 and remain on 60% of their salaries until official retirement at 65. The airline has been plagued by strikes, which last year cost it €232m
Sugar Cane Festival
The Cana de Açúcar Regional Fair takes place in Canhas, Ponto do Sol, this coming weekend (21st and 22nd March). A full itinerary is available here (unusually in Microsoft Word format rather than a PDF). Visitors get a chance to participate in the cutting of sugar cane. There are competitions as well as the usual traditional entertainment. This is the earliest it has ever been held, and is actually two weeks before the sugar cane mills start operating, raising allegations in the Diario that some local politician will benefit if the event takes place before the elections at the end of the month.
Free copies of the WalkMe levada app!
Our good friends since their inception, WalkMe, have become very successful since starting their mobile walking apps for Apple and Android devices some while ago. Their popularity has grown and allowed the team of software engineers based at the University of Madeira to produce walking guides for other locations including the Azores. They have given us another ten free copies of their Madeira levada-walking app to give away to readers of the blog – just e-mail a request using the the “Contact Us” tab above if you would like a promotional code. First come, first served!