- Arquipélago da Madeira, Portugal
- N 32° 38.877′ W 016° 54.036′
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso
In the early 2010s, the historic downtown of Funchal on Madeira Island, Portugal, found itself with quiet streets and many abandoned buildings. To combat this decay, the city council collaborated with local artists to revitalize and beautify the street of Rua de Santa Maria by painting elaborate designs on as many doors as possible. Today, tourists flock from all over to admire the wondrous art, and the city now has a new lease on life.
Thanks to this flourishing art scene and a geocacher named luisftas, Funchal gained another priceless asset in February 2012 in the form of a beloved Multi-Cache. In its decade-long existence, our Geocache of the Week, Arte de Portas Abertas (GC3D4F9), has accumulated a whopping 688 Favorite points. Take a stroll down Rua de Santa Maria with us and see what makes this cache so special!
With over 200 painted doors, an exploration of Rua de Santa Maria can be a day-long excursion. To claim the find on GC3D4F9, however, geocachers must take note of only six paintings. First, navigate to the posted coordinates and start on the western end of the street. As you make your way east down the narrow road, you can’t help but appreciate how full of life the city is; laughter fills the air, restaurants and other establishments bustle, and tourists line the street as far as the eye can see. Without the efforts of local artists, you might have left Funchal with a different impression.
Amidst the flurry of activity in this dense urban core, you might have some trouble knowing where to begin. Luckily, you can refer to the cache page where luisftas lists each specific address you must visit and the elements of each painting you’ll need to identify in order to uncover the final coordinates. Be attentive and try not to get too lost in the beauty that surrounds you.
After a walk down Rua de Santa Maria with careful observation and notetaking, you’re ready to plug in the answers for the final coordinate puzzle:
N 32º 38 (Stage 3+4)
W 16º 54 (Stage 5+6)
If your calculations prove correct, there’s a joyous treasure waiting for you just a short walk away from GZ. You’re looking for a micro-sized cache though, which adds one last layer of difficulty. After some head-scratching, you finally locate the elusive hide. Congrats! However, with all of Funchal’s newfound life, it’s best to use stealth as you uncover the geocache container. Once you sign your name in the logbook and replace the cache as found, feel free to celebrate; your hard work and attention to detail paid off! And the marvelous paintings of Funchal are definitely cause for celebration.
The story of Funchal and the painted doors offers many lessons. Perhaps most importantly, we learned that magical things can happen when we come together around a common cause, care for our surroundings, and try to spread beauty. It’s pretty similar to the essence of geocaching when you think about it!
Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.