São Miguel is the biggest island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago. It’s well known for its volcanic scenery, flora and rich marine life. We had the enormous pleasure of spending four days there and almost from our arrival, I knew I would want to return.
We arrived around noon on Tuesday and spent the afternoon exploring the town of Ponta Delgada, which is the capital of the entire Azores. The climate is considered sub-tropical, and if that’s so, I can’t imagine being in tropical!!!
We had this wonderful three bedroom, two bathroom fisherman’s cottage as our base. It was perfect.
Of course we all had to have our moment!!!
Obviously we caught Pat and Gary off guard, which makes for a lovely authentic shot of happy smiles.
This is the fruit or flower of a very low to the ground cactus. Quite lovely
The azaleas are in bloom all over the island, providing vibrant colour everywhere.
I spotted this gorgeous tile on the wall inside a tiny courtyard.
The hibiscus trees/hedges/bushes are laden with colour and blooms.
A creative wall on the end of a large building
The architecture is quite different from mainland Portugal. There isn’t really and evidence of Moors or Arabs. That said,attention to detail is still important.
Love this wonderful wall drawing.
Lovely colour and balconies. The base of the balcony is solid volcanic rock.
I loved the juxtaposition of the lush green and the reflection of the marvelous tilework
Another angle of the last building.
Patricia enjoyed this delicious tuna.
Gary, Marc and myself enjoyed black cod.
The front of one of the churches…..again, volcanic rock is everywhere in most of the building projects on the island. It’s every evident on the older buildings.
A detail inside the church.
I thought this particular statue was beautiful and peaceful.
I love that they paint these grand mosaics on the sides of buildings.
The clock tower next to the gates of the old city.
The gates, which were not always here. They were moved here many years ago.
A blooming magnolia.
Azaleas in all their splendor.
A bed of poinsettia!!
And, the boys, playing cards, I think!! I love it.
Loved the colours and textures in this old wood.
Marc returning home with our groceries. This is at the end of a long day of travel and walking.
This little critter was stalking a small dog! She eventually jumped over the sleeping mutt, who didn’t blink an eye. Obviously a game they play often!
On our second day we were picked up at 9h00 and returned at 17h00. Had a private tour and it was worth every penny we spent. I had done research and after reading many reviews and articles, I opted to book us with http://www.azoresprivatetours.com/en Our guide, and owner of the business was Rui Medeiros and what a wonderful find. We couldn’t have been in better hands.
It was an overcast day and so flexibility was the word of the moment. Rui made a few suggestions, we all said yes, and off we headed for a day of exploration.
My mind is blurred with the names of the towns we explored. I wanted to show the lush countryside and the buildings.
This had been a convent at one point.
Marc enjoying a moment of sunshine in our otherwise damp day.
The main church at the high point in the village.
I quite like this building
And look what showed up for us….a lovely rainbow
Gary and Marc coming from confession……Pat and I had to wait hours for them!!!!!!!!
This detail was quite eye catching.
Doesn’t it look as if Marc is about to push them both over???
Rui took this one for us.
I couldn’t help myself!!!
Again, I made them pose for me.
A misty day but you get to enjoy some of the scenery.
More misty scenery
A tea plantation. We had a private tour, enjoyed a hot cup of tea and wandered about.
I took this through a window from the second floor of the building. This tiny robin was enjoying a moments reprieve from the rain and hopping all along this tea bush.
Here is the ring leader……coming to check Pat out!
The volcan and hot-springs really creates a lush environment.
This is not mist…..the crater of Furnas with its bubbling pools and cooking holes
Here they are getting ready to uncover the cooking pot…This dish is prepared by lowering the pot in a hot spring heated by volcanic steam. The food cooks slowly – for about 5 hours – and the only liquid used are the juices from the ingredients. The hot springs work magic to the meat and vegetable stew boiled underground. The a pots are full of layers of Pork, Beef, Cabbage, Kale, Potatoes, Tarot, Carrots, Chicken, Chouriço and Blood Sausage.
More of uncovering the pot
Rui and Pat discussing the process.
And here they are carrying the pot off to the local restaurant.
Parr, Marc,Rui and Gary. We are hiding under a large tree from a sudden downpouring.
Four local cheeses for our starter.
Pat and I both enjoyed chicken
Marc and Gary enjoyed a local steak served with a traditional hot roasted red pepper and an egg
One of our many treats along the road……this was quite lovely and apparently houses a fish farm.
Saw this sign and of course, couldn’t resist.
A view of the tiny village nestled in the volcanic hills.
The chapel of Nossa Senhora da Paz. Marc and I climbed to the top…note the raindrops on the photo
A view from the top at the chapel
A great photo of a very happy Patricia.
Marc living dangerously on the pier.
Pat and Rui enjoying the sea air and a reprieve from the rain.
A great shot of Patricia and Rui
Me enjoying it all.
As we drove by we saw this group of men digging, by hand, potatoes…..you can see them laying on the ground. What back breaking work
Our last full day on the island was a day of wandering, visiting a couple of fantastic gardens, exploring Ponta Delgada in more detail and a bit more aimlessly now that we were comfortable with the directions etc.. It rained heavy in the morning but we were tired and happy to hang out at home enjoying a lazy time and breakfast. By the time we were ready to go, it had cleared nicely.
I’m a lover of looking at things like this and imaging what was. This, I think, was lovely.
Mister Pooch was not at all happy we stopped to take a photo.
At the entrance to one of the wonderful gardens we visited. Jardim Antonio Borges
The colour of this “fruit/flower” on the palm tree was beautiful
Loved this flowering plant. Long feather type blooms.
Look at the size of this tree!!!! Gary is dwarfed by the roots.
You can appreciate how tropical it looks. Imagine in a few more weeks when many of the plants are in bloom.
Mon mari climbing the walls!!!
A delicate camilla. This area is considered to be the most prolific on the island.
Azaleas in magnificent bloom
We must be here, and this must be a ?????
How would you like a bamboo fishing pole made from one of these?
Patricia enjoying the garden explorations.
Again, look at these roots and how Marc disappears in them.
A close-up of Marc standing in the roots of the tree
So wonderful to see all the colour in the gardens.
I took this to show you the window and door frames, and the balcony floor, all from the volcanic rock.
This was carved into our dining table at lunch. Cute.
Pat and I both had borrego…lamb
Gary had bochechas de porco…pork cheeks
Marc had this local bread…Bolo lêvedo, sort of the texture of an english muffin with garlic
Marc’s Salada de Polvo…octopus salad.
Our dessert platter…….
This wall art captured my eye. I would love to know who they are and why they adorn a wall in Ponta Delgada
Two enormous wall hangings on the outside of an old building.
I love this depiction of Adam and Eve.
What a glorious door knob.
A large building that now houses an art gallery.
Two large wall sculptures in a park
I thought this was quite intriguing. I love that they only show us part of the face.
High on the wall in an old chapel we explored.
How whimsical and what fun.
I know I haven’t said much about the trip, I could go on and on but I decided to let the photos speak for themselves. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Azores, don’t hesitate. They are covered in wonderful walking/hiking trails, which is why I would like to return. And we will someday!!!