Azores of Portugal

I was unable to do internet yesterday and in the evening, the storm interfered with me posting.  So, I’m including a couple of days of comments.  Hopefully a couple of pictures??      
      On Wednesday, April 17th, we spent a full day in Ponta Delgada, Island of Sao Miguel, Azores of Portugal.  We had a tour with a company called AVA and our guide/driver was Lisa Ringelberg, one of the owners.  She has lived there 16 years, orginally from Ontario, Canada.  Her husband is a Vet who specializes in cattle and improving the genetics.  She has 3 daughters, they were 5, 7, and 9 when they moved here and had total immersion education in Portugese in schools.  Of course, she spoke perfect English, although she would falter on some translations from Portugues, to find the right word.  That’s typical when you have switched to thinking in the other language.  She filled us in on history, culture, agriculture and commerce and biology of the island.  Very enjoyable and the scenery was fantastic.
      There are 9 islands in the Azores, 8 are volcanic including this one.  140,000 people and 100,000 cattle live here.  They have 13 cruise ship days at PD; in spring and fall during repositioning times.  Weather is better in summer, but no ships then.  They can handle 4 ships at once.  Sao Miguel is called the “green island.”  Much rain and high humidity.  It is very green!  It reminded of us of the UK, especially since they have so many drystack stone walls separating the pastures.  We saw many flowering plants:  azaleas, camelias, and bird of paradise, but there are more in June.  Two months ago there was a lot of rain with mudslides and wind.  Some of the roads that the tour usually includes were impassable, still.
        We were taken to see several of the crater lakes.  The National park (and a small town) are named Sete Cidades (translates to 7 cities but refers to 7 craters).  The small village had a really pretty old church and was our rest stop for refreshment and BA.  Two lakes were called Lagoas dos Empanadas.  Another swampy one was Lagoa do Canario.  We went to a high point overlooking crater lakes called Lagoa Raza.  One stop was in the National Park and very crowded with buses, vans and tourists.  It overlooked the twin lakes, one is called blue and the other green, but not much difference in appearance, now.  The green one is more shallow and has algae.  
      We also saw the Lagoa do Fogo (fire lake).  There is no longer any obvious reason for the name of fire.  Next we went to Caldeira Velha, a reserve park with a hotspring and warm waterfall.  The rocks behind the waterfall appear to be a copper color from the sulfur in the water.  Only 3 of us made it up the steps to the top (Cheryl was one) and Jim was unable to evwn hike to the hotspring.  (We had done a lot of walking and his foot/ankle starts hurting, especially on uneven surfaces or steps.)  It was lush and beautiful with huge fern leaves; like a rain forest.
      The last part of the tour was lunch at a hobby farm (quinta) owned by John and Redi (friends of Lisa’s).  It was near a very poor fishing village, Rabo de Peixe (tail of the fish).  It was after 2 pm, so we were really hungry and thirtsy.  They served bread (very good and one was a cornbread, but not like ours), sausages (chorizo and blood), cheese, cheese spread (used instead of butter) and wine, immediately.  There was a white, Green wine from the mainland of Portugal (with a little carbination) and a red from the Island of Pico.  This was the best part to most of us. We were full and did not care for the cold breaded/fried mackeral and some of the other dishes.  
     The tour was great, but it lasted a little too long; we barely made the ship and had no time for any shopping.  We had planned to go to a pharmacy and liquor shop.  Oh, well. We think that the island of Sao Miguel is a great place to visit, but if you’re not on a cruise ship, it would be expensive to get to.  There is an airport, but flights only from Portugal.  Also, a day or 2 would be sufficient.  Glad we were able to be there and on a beautiful day!
On board ship, I am unable to post more pictures, will try when in port, Malaga, tomorrow.


One response to “Azores of Portugal

  1. Many years ago we spent our holiday in Ponta Delgada. Great place to explore.

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