The Story of The Floating Gardens of Eden
Funchal, on an April morning.
Eve loved surprises so it was with the greatest enthusiasm that she got the news of her best friend’s wedding. Immediately she made arrangements for a bachelorette getaway with their inseparable groups of friends. It would have to include sun, fun and… flowers. Yes, the bride just loved flowers. In this case, Madeira Island was the perfect combination of these mandatories. And the Gardens hotel had just the right vibe for those moments when you are just hanging with your old friends and making new ones, which made Eve even more excited.
In fact, you could feel the Madeiran tradition of hosting and celebrating life radiating from the hotel. You could feel it from the staff, from the delicious breakfast buffet, from the bars bursting with entertainment and from the restaurants with a wide spread of local and international cuisine.
On the first day, they went to Lido, Funchal’s beautiful seaside promenade with the famous bathing area. As they walked down the path from the Gardens, they noticed a man on top of a tree. It seemed he was taking photographs. They smiled at him, shared a “good morning” and walked on.
After a great lunch, the group decided to walk around town. They were amazed by the number of gardens, little backyards and paths covered in flowers. At one of these parks Eve felt they were being watched. Someone camouflaged by a thick line of cactuses was pointing a huge camera lens, right at them. And it looked like the “tree photographer” from before. Intrigued, they decided to joke about it: perhaps some of the girlfriends hired a photographer to write an article on their trip? Maybe it was a paparazzi that mistook them for a famous girl band? Would they end up in the cover of a celebrity magazine? Or, did the groom, a bit more anxious than advised, hire a detective? They all laughed at the foolish stories on their way back to the hotel.
It was now time to go up to the panoramic hotel terrace, drink a cocktail and see how Funchal changed its colours as the night fell. At the rooftop, Eve saw the mysterious man with the camera, again.
Funchal, on the same April morning.
Adam liked to travel alone. In these moments, what he most looked for was tranquillity and to be able to photograph nature. Because of this, including Madeira in his destinations was just natural. Gardens was a reserved hotel, ideal to relax, and a good base camp for his photography walkabouts through the parks, villas and island viewpoints. The hotel had the ideal cool atmosphere of the adults-only concept, that allowed him to calmly be at the spa, the pool or at the rooftop jacuzzi, before or after one of his long walks.
On the first day, Adam went out for a reconnaissance tour, wandering around the quiet and sunny residential area next to the hotel. Inseparable from his camera, he felt almost immediately attracted to the colourful exuberance of the blossoming jacarandas. Excited, Adam found himself climbing trees to get the best angle and light to capture this colour spectacle.
Back at the hotel for lunch, he made the best of the sun and the view over the ocean by the pool restaurant. In the afternoon, back to his walkabout and photos he felt surrounded by living proofs to why Spring chose Madeira for its great Atlantic nursery. In a specific garden, Adam found plants from the four corners of the globe living in harmony. He was especially fascinated with the cactuses. He spent hours capturing the minutiae and multiple forms and shapes of the exotic flora. Absorbed by this, he was completely disconnected from his surroundings.
As the day ended he went back to the Gardens. He felt like replenishing his energy at the rooftop bar while taking some more photos of the sunset in a magnificent panoramic view.
Funchal, at nightfall.
On the rooftop, enjoying the view, the excellent temperature of that evening and the general good mood, the guests started mingling. Unable to hold her curiosity any longer, Eve went to Adam and without hesitating directly asked him: can I see the pictures you’ve been taking? Adam was taken aback, feeling a bit intimidated even. But thought that he might as well share the result of such an inspiring day.
Adam and Eve got married the following spring. The honeymoon was on this Atlantic Island, also known as the “floating garden”. Or as they started calling it, the Floating Gardens of Eden.