Even though Madeira is not a big island, it does have a few different biomes due to it's height differences. Above the tree line, there are mostly bushes and rocks and sand that turns into clay as soon as it gets wet. There are forests with tall trees that Anna (our plant expert) guessed were eucalyptus trees (unfortunately we never got photos of those). And then there is Fanal Forest.
Fanal Forest is a swampy area just below the treeline with a lot of crookedly growing trees, giving them the perfect look for locations for fantasy movies. As the area is pretty high up and we are on Madeira, fog and/or clouds sometimes roll over this area adding to the eerie atmosphere.
The area is popular with tourists and especially photographers - rightly so, we'd like to say as photographing tourists. We ended up visiting the forest twice and had fog - or clouds? - coming and going constantly which gave the photos very different moods and colors. And there were cows!
Not a cow.
Still not a cow.
We also took out the drone and flew it carefully around to capture the beauty of this place. Luckily, the cows absolutely did not mind the drone as they're probably used to tourists stomping about.
Maybe we were lucky with the weather as we never had to wait long for clouds. It might also be more likely in winter. If it is raining, the whole area gets really wet and muddy, so that should be taken into account.