Hi! This is Sara again.
I just arrived home from our European incentive trip in Madeira, Portugal. I’m embarrassed to say that when I learned where we were going, I had to look it up on the Internet. I wasn’t even sure where the island was located or in what country! But this destination did not disappoint, and being there with our top achievers in Europe added even more to the experience!
My friend Nicki and I arrived Monday evening, grabbed a bite to eat, and got settled into our room. The view was breathtaking from our little deck, as were all of the views around the island. Most demonstrators arrived Wednesday during the day, and in the evening we had a lovely dinner out on the terrace of the hotel with views of the ocean and the city of Funchal.
The following day a lot of us spent the morning going on tours to different parts of the island. I was part of the group that rode the gondola up the mountain, where we saw a beautiful garden and stunning views. Because Madeira is a volcanic island, there are no traditional sandy beaches, and the seaside cliffs are spectacular because the elevation varies greatly from the seaside to the mountains. They say that in Madeira, it’s possible to experience all four seasons in one day!
My favorite part of the tour was the Funchal toboggan ride. We got into sleigh-like baskets and literally sledded down the narrow streets of the city. It was SO much fun!
That evening was the swap event. And let me tell you, these ladies know how to stamp! Their swaps were amazing, and it was fun to see each demonstrator sharing, smiling, and enjoying the time together. It was a reminder of the love we all share for stamping---no matter where we’re from!
Friday morning the events staff had planned a catamaran tour and lunch. The weather was wonderful and I was amazed by all of the dolphins we saw while we were out. After watching the dolphins, we proceeded up the coast to see more of the ocean. The views were great, but my favorite part was laughing and talking with some of the demonstrators out in the open catamaran nets. We laughed about some of the idioms each culture uses and how confusing it can be to translate from one language to the other. Lunch was traditional Portuguese fare; we ate and visited with the harbor in view.
The farewell dinner Saturday evening was the perfect way to officially close the event, with a bus ride to a local village and a family-style dinner at a beautiful restaurant. Afterwards we returned to the hotel and watched fireworks from the top floor!
I have to say, I REALLY wish I could speak more languages. It would be so awesome to be able to talk to these amazing demonstrators in their own languages! A lot of them speak English pretty well, but for those who don’t, I hope I was able to convey our love and appreciation for all that they are and all that they do to make Stampin’ Up! such an amazing company. Hugs to all of our European demonstrators . . . and we’ll see you in November!