Car rental expense and special story of an amazing rep...More house photos...Pool shot from cruise a year ago...

This vehicle was almost twice the size of the one we'd booked online.  We found that we can fit our luggage into very tiny cars but this upgrade was a unexpected pleasure.  The driveway in front of the house is tiny and on a hill.  There's no other practical way to park the car than as is shown here.
Arriving at the Alamo window at the Funchal airport in Madeira at approximately 1:30 am Friday, we waited in line for 10 minutes.  Exhausted, we could hardly wait to get through the annoying time consuming process of renting a car. 
The interior of our rental car, a Renault Clio small SUV.  Although there's a navigation systems it doesn't work on the island of Madeira.
From past experience, we knew that the language barrier and the big sales pitch for the extra insurance was to add to the time required to stand at the desk once it was our turn. 

The beautiful wood floors are continued throughout the house including on the stairway to the second level.  The house was designed by Gina's brother Carlos, who is an architect, the actual owner and lives next door to us with his family.
The rep spoke broken English which I was able to understand although Tom has trouble with dialects due to his hearing loss. After the rep at Alamo, Nelo Gouveia, went through his required spiel our contract was ready for signature and we were handed the keys.

Our new home, a photo taken by Gina, for highlighting the house in HomeAway.
Suddenly, Nelo looked at our two luggage carts asking, "Is that you bags?"  His question came up after we'd chatted with him when he'd asked where we were from and where we were going. 

He practically flipped when he heard we were traveling the world for possibly years to come.  He thought it was the greatest adventure he'd ever heard.  We giggled over his enthusiasm as tired as we were.

The long upstairs walkway from one end of the house to the other.
When we nodded "yes" that they were in fact our bags, he immediately started shaking his head, "No, no, no!" he said, "This little car," he pointed to a photo on the wall of the car we were getting, "Will not work for these bags!"

"I give you bigger car, for you nice people.  No extra charge!" 

"No extra charge?" I inquired.

"No extra charge," he reiterated.

This is the master bedroom where we sleep and Tom keeps his clothing.  In order not to awaken him when I often awake earlier than he, I use another bedroom and bath for my clothes and for bathing and dressing for the day.  This bedroom has an en suite bathroom.
Having to do over all the paperwork for the larger car would take time but we were willing to wait for "no extra charge."  Ten minutes later after it was completed and signed he offered to take Tom to the awaiting car.  This was far beyond our expectations. No rep had ever done this in the past. By this time it was 2:15 am. 

He helped us haul our bags to the curb telling me to wait there while he took Tom to get the car.  Before he and Tom left to get the car, he approached two nearby police officers telling them to keep a eye out for my safety at 2:15 am alone on the curb of an airport. 

This is the third bedroom with the twin beds.
Five minutes later they drove up, Nelo waving his enthusiastic arms out the window.  I couldn't stop smiling when they drove up in the much larger Renault Clio SUV type vehicle with loads of room.  We couldn't have been more thrilled.

Based on the fact that we now only rent cars for 30 days at a time, later renewing online to maintain the best online price, I asked Nelo how we could get this same car again.  He explained that we should again sign up online for the best price, call him and ensure he was at work when we return the car, and he'll give us the same car for the same price.  Whether or not this will all work out is not a certainty.  Surely, we'll try.
This is the another shot of the third bedroom.
The cost for the rental car for 30 days is US $1055.70, EU $758 plus they hold an addition US $835.62, EU $600 on our credit card, an excess for possible damage.  Once we return the car, the excess will be released within a few days for which I always keep checking the credit card we use to ensure it was handled.

Our luggage easily fit into the upgraded car and we were on our way with Gina's translated directions as to how to find the house.  It was tricky, very tricky.  Somehow, we persevered in our exhausted state, staying calm through the long 45 minutes.  At one point we got off onto the wrong exit, wasting 15 minutes.  Finally, we found Campanario and the house, after going through several tunnels.  We didn't fall into bed until 3:30 am. 

Each of the bedrooms have doors opened to a small veranda as shown in the second bedroom where I store my clothes.
Too tired to bring our bags inside, we only brought in the laptop bags, my purse and the pill bag.  I slept in the tee shirt I was wearing all day.  I didn't care. 
Finally after the third night of sleeping in this house, we both finally feel rested after last night's full eight hours. 

My huge soaking tub.
Last night's dinner was fabulous; our coleslaw made with already cut up cabbage to which we added carrots chunks. For ease, we made the bread less sandwiches with nitrate free meats we'd purchased at the deli in the market. Tonight, we'll repeat last night's dinner as we often do; the same dinner, freshly made each night, two nights in a row.  Doing so saves time and money.

Tomorrow, we'll head out for errands and our first dining out experience in Madeira. feels so right here.

One of the many tunnels were drove through on the drive from the airport to our house.
By the way, I beat Tom at Gin during our two and a half months in Morocco,  for the first time after playing almost everyday in four countries.  He's won in Italy, Kenya and South Africa.  With only one country win under my belt, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I can't imagine why he swears at me every time I win a hand!  Otherwise, he never swears at me.

Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2013:
There were no photos taken on this date as we sailed through the Gulf of Aden.
Instead here is a photo of Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Sea's pool area posted on May 17, 2013:

The ship's pool area.  At this point in time, we were still using the little Samsung camera, although we had the new Sony which I had yet to learn to use.  Soon, you'll note that our photos improved in quality.  We'll let you know when that transpires as we move through the dates from one year ago.  For details of the post without photos on May 18, 2013,
please click here.


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