In this blog entry Oscar is escaping the grey January sky of London in search of some milder temperatures and a bit of sun on the island of Madeira, Portugal.
Oscar on Madeira
Mid January seemed like a perfect time for a little break away from London. The choice fell on Madeira, where temperatures would be around 20 degrees and the island also seemed to have plenty of activities to offer.
Coffee wise, I wasn’t expecting much, after not been able to find any on nearby Tenerife a few years ago (please comment below if you have found a good place on any of the Canary Islands) and made plans to take the Aeropress with me.
However, after doing a bit of research online I found that right around the corner from our Airbnb apartment in the main town, Funchal, Madeira’s first specialty coffee shop called Legs Eleven Coffee Co. had just opened. This was looking promising and so I decided to give it a try before heading out to explore the island.
On my first visit I ordered a yogurt, banana and granola bowl and of course a flat white (coffee by Dark Arts Coffee), followed by a take away espresso.
We had a nice chat with owner Steve, who worked previously as a barista in Melbourne. Everything was spot and a visit to Legs Eleven became a must each day we were on Madeira before heading out on a tours or hikes.
You can find Legs Eleven on a cute cobbled street in Central Funchal, a short walking distance from the main sights. It’s frequented by both travellers and locals working nearby.
This certainly is the place to go for coffee in Funchal!
Whilst exploring Funchal, we took the cable car up to Monte, a lush suburb in the hills 500m up from the Old Town. Here you can find the botanical gardens, a beautiful church and the starting point for the toboggan ride that brings you back down central Funchal!
At one end of the Largo Das Barbosas near the cable car station we found a cute but cool kiosk with the most awesome view. Unfortunately, we arrived late in the afternoon when they were about to close. They use a local roastery but as the coffee machine was already closed and cleaned, we couldn’t try the coffee. We opted for a beer instead and enjoyed the view!
Despite not having tried the coffee this place does deserve a mention as it is just stunning. The kiosk itself has a contemporary feel but in keep with its surroundings. Sitting on it’s terrace you’re overlooking one side of the island from the top. You could just sit there and see the all the way from the top of the mountains, through a green valley, all the way down to the ocean. Just wow!
Legs Eleven Coffee Co., Rua das Prietas 88, Loja 3, Funchal, Madeira
Local Shop, Largo Das Babosas, Monte, Funchal, Madeira
When you think of Oxford, colleges, students and bus loads of tourists come to mind. Not so much on a gloomy December day.
This is the second instalment in our VvW on the road blog, this time co-owner Martin writes about his experience on a day out in Oxford, UK
Oxford by Martin
With a bit of time spare on a weekday close to Christmas, I decided Oxford would be a good place to catch up with an old friend.
We headed to Society Coffee. I had visited one of their stores in Bath in the past, but was keen to check out their Oxford store. Their coffee offering is somewhat similar to what we have in our store in Crouch End, with Origin and Round Hill available. I started with a flat white (made with their house blend from Origin) and as it was close to Christmas the obligatory mince pie. The place is very chilled, with very relaxed music in the background. It seemed lots of people used the place to work from home.
Happy with my first coffee I ordered another coffee, now with their guest espresso by Bailies Coffee Roasters. Without a mince pie this time.
After our second coffee we decided to go for a stroll, hit the Christmas market and had a walk around Oxford’s backstreets. Oxford is a surprisingly nice and atmospheric place to visit on a gloomy December day. No large groups of tourists, and many students have already left for their Christmas break.
We strolled on to the Cowley Road just outside the City Centre. Clearly an area that has undergone some gentrification, and certainly has plenty of places to eat (it was lunch time!). Nevertheless we couldn’t help ourselves and opted for another coffee shop to stop for our lunch. It is in Peloton where the cycling and coffee communities nicely blend into each other, with plenty of hints to the passion for cycling (we loved the little cushions in Belgian, Dutch and World Champion flags).
I opted for some nice avo on toast and together we shared an Ethiopian V60 roasted by James Coffee.
After a further stroll we ended back in the city centre and a Colombian focussed business owner we could not leave Colombia Coffee Roasters at the covered market out of this trip, where we sipped on one final single espresso.
We finished the day with a pint or two at the Turf Tavern a 13th century
-Society Cafe, 12-16 St Michaels Street
-Peloton, 76 Cowley Road
-Colombian Coffee Roasters, 106-107 The Covered Market