“It’s 1.9 kilometers from Prazeres to Jardim Do Mar through this mountain trail, and we come down from 565 meters to 35 meters in the process,” I said, reading aloud from the signboard.
My wife mulled over this information, and asked, “And you are sure about that record time you told me about?”
“Absolutely,” I replied, “That is the world record.”
“So, should we try to beat it then?” she asked.
“What’s the point otherwise,” I replied cockily.
And just like that, we were off.
The path was easy, and sloped gently in the beginning.
“This is going to be a cakewalk,” I said to her as we took our first break at the Miradouro, or viewing point, and had our first look at what is touted to be the most beautiful village in Madeira.
But the path had just flattered to deceive, for within a few minutes, the gentle slope gave way to treacherous, steep steps
and then, the path disappeared altogether.
“What’s our status?” asked my wife while standing on the tips of her toes like a ballerina and crossing a 12 centimeters wide stretch of the path, with nothing but a steep drop on one end, and a thorny tree at the other.
Still hanging from a branch over the valley like Mowgli or Tarzan, I freed one hand somehow, looked at my watch and said, “400 meters, and we are on track in terms of time.”
And so we continued on and on, stumbling, falling, creeping, crawling,
till finally, we reached the outskirts of Jardim Do Mar.
Our destination was Joe’s Bar, and a black flag announced its location to us.
We moved towards it now, hardly able to walk, legs cramped, backs bent, amd finally, when we KNEW we couldn’t possibly make it, we were there.
“The time, the time,” she asked, panting, “Did we do it?”
I checked my watch, and my face broke into a wide grin as I pumped my fists in the air triumphantly, “4 hours and 42 minutes!” I shouted, “We are the new world record holders for taking the longest time to complete this trek!”