North America, Europe ·
18 Days ·
152 Moments ·
25 August 2018
Goodbye Ponta Delgada!!
At the airport now... what a whirlwind! Loved our trip but excited to come home now ☺️
We’re gonna have a tough time leaving to board the plane!!
Just trying to relax before we head home to the mad rush of Boston and back to school commencements....
Our last good morning to the Azores!
24 August 2018
The kids have passed out at a decent hour for once! Catching up on some postcards and calling it one last night in the Azores!
We strolled along the downtown strip of PDL to a cute café where we dined outside. Elle appears to have perked up some but has a lack of appetite. At least she’s in good spirits!
Looking forward to our super comfy beds and a good night rest for our long journey back home tomorrow.
We found our hotel, relief! We rented the family suite. Brayden was elated to find out he got his own key card! Both rooms are adjoining and have fantastic views of the city and harbor. We toured our rooms, laid down a few rules and then checked out the pool up on the top floor that had a bar with a live DJ. Wha?? This place is surreal... we’ll be hanging out by the poolside all day tomorrow for sure and we’ll be posting pictures of the top floor then. The perfect way to spend our last day here!
Ponta Delgada we meet once again! We’re staying put for our 24 hour layover in the Azor Hotel... well, for the most part anyway!
On our way to the hotel, we drove by a couple sites. The most interesting are the last two pictures. This is of their prison... which happens to be just a few blocks from our hotel. Hmmm...
Bye Terceira! We had about a 10 minute layover here. We literally had to get off the plane we were on, to turn around and check in and get back into the same plane. Silly Azoreans... tricks are for kids with more energy...
We got some more great aerial views though!
And thank goodness... Elle isn’t feeling great but no more incidents 😅
So, as we were boarding the plane, Joe was by the fence at the strip hollering and waving goodbye to us. He was truly a saint to help us on our way with our luggage, managing our car rental and a sick kid! We’ll be back to visit him soon, I hope!
As we took off, you can see some great views of Graciosa island and along the horizon, you can also see the silhouette of São Jorge.
Goodbye Graciosa! So bittersweet...
So, after we grabbed a bite, I promised the kids one last run to the park! They reminded me that Vavôs left them some euros so they begged me to take them to the store. The three of us made it into the store and were able to make a successful purchase without dad translating!
Afterwards, we’re heading back to the rental to meet Joe who is helping us with the rest of our luggage to bring it all to the airport since it won’t all fit in our tiny rental. And of course... pool little Miss Elle threw up all over herself on the way to the airport. Hope she gets it all out of her system before we take off!!!
Grabbing a quick bite to eat prior to leaving for the airport...
It’s time for us to pack up and leave Graciosa! Vavôs and uncle Brandon have already left this morning to head back to Boston, but we’re taking a later flight this afternoon to Ponta Delgada and staying there just one more night prior to us coming back home.
Ryan and I are pretty proud of ourselves. We were able to finish cleaning the mass majority of our laundry and pack without exceeding any limitations!! Woot, woot!
Good bye rental! Good bye goats!
23 August 2018
The restaurant we ate at Costa do Sol.
“Welcome, you finally came! Take a deep breath. Smile. Put your worries aside. Come in and feel at home!” Don’t mind if we do!
Looks small on the outside, quite big on the inside.
Small concert in the praça at night. Kids dancing to Inca flute music.
Salsiçor made quite the profit from us during our stay in the Azores as they’re the main manufacturer of sliced ham, packed sausage, bacon and other fine pork products. Stay strong Salsiçor!
The family as drawn by Ellie and Brayden’s drawing of a space shuttle.
Hanging out in the praça while awaiting the opening of the restaurant tonight. Ellie got a booboo. Brayden is like a cat, he’ll climb the tree but can’t get down.
More pictures of downtown praça
One of Ryan’s favorite drinks from his pastime. It’s quickly becoming one of ours too!
The city of Praia.
Windmills on the way to Praia to check out the supermarket there.
Cheese factory. Teimoso means stubborn. So the name is “Stubborn Cheese”. No tours here. Just go in and buy cheese. We left the kids locked in the car with snacks, it seemed to work out.
Met up with Vavôs at Garafolo in Santa Cruz. This place is for the locals as it’s sandwiches and drinks are very reasonably priced. This place stays open until 4 am or so. After this it was shopping time.
Ryan has figured out how to use this espresso machine... this moment just had to be documented. It was beautiful.
22 August 2018
More photos from Joe and Leonor’s place.
Joe and Leonor’s place. They are also cousins from Canada. They have a place here and spend 2-3months here out of the year. What a wonderful garden seemingly complimenting João and Clarinda’s garden. This one has lemons, bananas, tangerines, kale and oranges. Again having Canadian cousins in Graciosa is always a plus because we snacked, talked and drank our way out. Joe was nice enough to help us get our luggage to the airport on Friday cus our puny car can’t get it all there. We had a great time and so did the kids as there was no end to the cupcakes, chips and chocolate milk. Although we’re tired, it was a great way to end the day.
Next stop to visit Cecilia, let’s see if I can get this right: she is Helder’s maternal grandmother’s (vavó Isabel) sister’s daughter. When vavôs’ Felix came to the USA with tia Filomena and tia Maria José- Hélder stayed behind due to mandatory military conscription. In the six month period he was waiting to come to the US, he lived with Cecilia.
Ry, I think it’d be safe to call her your father’s second cousin. She was very sweet and it was great we got to meet her.
Tio and tia served us everything there was to possibly serve as we caught up a bit. Deborah, stopped by to say hi as well. Deborah is almost exactly a year younger than Ryan as her bday is today! She showed us a picture of her daughter Beatrice who just turned 21! We look forward to seeing them again soon.
We stopped by tio João and tia Clarinda’s house from Canada. They spend the summer here every year. Their house is a marvel of provision as their garden contains a bounty of limes, grapes, lettuce, figs and flor de Faial which smells nice and is used to make tea. They have four chickens who lay eggs. Brayden went in to snatch two freshly laid eggs and Elle and Brayden got to eat a few of them hard boiled. As usual, family style, we munched and drank a little even though we were stuffed from lunch in Praia.
Making our way back the path. Vavô found a blackberry bush and picked fresh berries for all of us. Let’s say adeus to the donkey. Goodbye burro, keep it real! Towards the end of the street, there’s grapes growing on the side of the road.
Vavô Helder’s childhood home. Covered in vines of thorns and blackberry bushes. The place needs a little work but it’s got a nice view. The vavôs are looking out to the sea and the view of Saint Jorge island, but are also looking over another plot of land that’s also stilled owned by Helder’s parents.
Making our way up the hill to vavô Helders childhood house. Oh look someone left a donkey here in the middle of the path! Uncle Brandon wanted him for his pet, and the donkey was bored because when we came back, he started following uncle Brandon down the hill a bit. This is also the first time we saw pigs pen that didn’t smell like one. I guess last nights downpour must have cleaned everything out.
Grandpa Felix’s land. Yes he still owns it!
Ponta da Restinha (hesh- teenga). The southeasternmost point of the island. From here you can see the city of Praia to the north east and the Carapacho to the south west. You also get a fantastic view of the islets off the coast of both of these towns. The light house here has a great view but unfortunately it was closed but we got a great view from the old whale watching station that’s beeen there for a while. Apparently this area, cliff, coast. Rocks and islets are all a nature preserve. Naturally this place is kind of scary because it’s atop a high cliff and there are no guard rails along the gravel path that leads to it. The sign had a series of distances to world famous cities from this point.
Leaving Praia heading south along the east coast towards the Carapacho.
The city of Praia is named after the beach upon which it was built. The word Praia means beach. So in this photo, we are on a Praia da Praia (the beach of the beach). And all the red you see is actually seaweed on the beach!
We stopped for lunch in Praia which is the second biggest town in Graciosa. The place where we ate had great food, the only downside is that we had to wait an hour and a half before our food was served. By the time we ate, we were already slowing down and a double-strength galão was needed. A galão is a light au lait coffee served in a tall glass. They’re not as strong as the typical Portuguese coffee which will give you either a heart attack or a panic attack.
Good portions, good food, crazy family.
View of the highest cliffs on Graciosa. For the island with the lowest average elevation, it sure has no shortage of deadly cliffs. There’s a little light point here, just enough to be seen by nearing ships.
Enjoyed admiring the local flora and its fruits.
The coast around Ribeirinha, on the west coast of the island.
Ponta da Barca. Lighthouse with a great view of the rocky coast of Graciosa. You can also see the Ilhéu da Baleia, the islet of whale because it looks like a half submerged whale. The waves here are very rough and you certainly wouldn’t want to be in a boat. Unfortunately the lighthouse was only open to the public from 2-4pm, so we’ll have to come back another time. We couldn’t take pics from the lighthouse so we settled on a group selfie instead.
Brayden and Ellie took us food shopping in Santa Cruz today as we started our tour of the island.
Off our balcony of our apartment rental, you could see the neighbors goats ramming each other’s heads. We noticed that they tie their legs so they can’t jump over the small stone fence and run off. I’d rather them fighting than my own kids!!
21 August 2018
After the streets cleared and everyone was done taking down the makeshift wooden barricades off their houses and fences, we headed to dinner at a nice restaurant down by the water pools. The meal was great and was the perfect end to the day.
We’ll have to come back again this week because Nicole and Brayden would like to do some more snorkeling.
Our visit to the Carapacho was planned as it hosts the celebration this week in its town including dance food parades and yes, a Torada. In Portuguese it can mean either a bull fight or a bull running. In the Azores it’s a bull running. They tie a rope around the bull and have him run around town while people(usually drunks and hooligans) taunt him and do funny things. The rope is about 100m long and acts like insurance. There are guys dressed in black hats and white shirts whose job it is to pull on the rope when the bull gets too mean or silly (like jumps a barricade or tries to horn someone). One guy can’t do much but 10 or so can. They lit off fireworks to signal the start and end of a bull run. They had 4 bulls and let each one run around for about half hour each. When done, they pull the rope and pull him back into the box. Nicole got great video of the bull having the horn caps put on and the bull jumping a makeshift wooden barrier. In between they sold drinks & food.
Day at the Carapacho (Kah-Rah-Posh)
Southeasternmost point of the island with an amazing view of the near and far islets Ilhéu Comprido and Ilhéu de Baixo. The black rock islet in the foreground is called Gaivota. The cliff on the left is called Restinha and has one of the lighthouses on it. I think it’s the highest lighthouse in elevation on the island. This is Vavô Helders stomping grounds as it has natural pools in the ocean where you can swim with the fishies. It also has a kids pool which is actually cut off from the pull of the waves and undertow but still fills and empties as the tide goes up and down. The kids enjoyed it there as it’s a neat place to hang out. There’s also a spa here called TERMAS. You can get a massage here or a scrub but it’s best known for its water which is heated by the volcanic activity and pumped into its storage tanks. The water is said to have healing properties due to the high concentration of minerals coming from the underground heated spring source.
20 August 2018
It’s 10:00 pm here and there’s many others at the park! It’s not surprising though, from 3:00pm-6:30 or 7pm, everything shuts down. Minimal stores are open. It’s also incredibly humid. You won’t see too many people running around town at that time. It’s so beautiful and cool out now, it’s a great time to take advantage.
After our walk, we stopped at a small café and grabbed drinks and sandwiches for the kids. Once they finished their dinner, we promised them we’d take them to the park...
We took a short walk along the coast of Santa Cruz.
This was the view when we were driving from Vavôs’s hotel down to the city for a walk around and a café stop.
After a little tour around the outside of the caldeira and lunch, we headed back to Vavôs’s hotel and practiced with the masks in the pool. Good practice for ocean snorkeling tomorrow. Here’s a view from up on the outside of the caldeira showing the Carapacho to the right and Praia to the left. This view is facing the southeast.
Brayden also wanted to stop and grab some fresh chupachupa that you suck the sweet nectar out of. I have a feeling these flowers will be greatly missed once we leave!
We stopped at the ONLY open restaurant and grabbed a bite to eat. The chef here was great. Well, he was our host, waiter, bartender and chef. It’s common for a lot of stores to shut down around this time but he opened and offered the food he had available. There was no beef available but he made due and offered a special menu that was delicious. We sat out front of the restaurant and watched a few people go by. We also got to witness him receive his fresh meat delivery. Nothing ever seems to be frozen here, it’s always fresh. Kudos to the host/waiter/bartender/chef for a great meal and service!
After the hike, Vavôs treated them to a drive to the park which they enjoyed greatly until Elle fell off the seesaw and landed on the ground, biting her tongue. Time to get some ice cream I guess!
Furna do Enxofre- Graciosa
For our first official whole day on the island of Graciosa, we visited the caldeira and went to the famous Furna do Enxofre. This is a cavern that goes deep into the base of the caldeira. After descending 180+ stairs to the cavern, there is an underground pond and you can hear little puddles of boiling mud off to the side by the stones. The cavern smells a little like rotten eggs from the sulphur pits. The water line of the pond has been receding for years. All those rocks in the picture were once covered. Unfortunately the CO2 levels were slightly elevated so we couldn’t stay long or else we’d go for a nice eternal sleep. Last time Ryan was here the water level was slightly higher and there were no deadly gas monitors but I guess that’s why it used to be free. Now you pay 5€ /adult. Kids are free. Ellie and Brayden probably had more fun going down the stairs than in the cavern itself. Brayden looked at the boiling mud and was like “I’m done.”
More views of the cavern.
More views of the Caldeira and cavern.
19 August 2018
In the Lajes airport awaiting our flight from Terceira to Graciosa. Ellie ate a whole large sandwich to herself. A picture of the island hopping jets used by SATA to get us where we need to go.
Countryside of Terceira island. Terceira is where they breed bulls specifically for bull runs that you’ll see later is Graciosa. These bulls are mean and tough. They send them all over the Azores, to Madeira and to mainland Portugal to have the bull fights and bull runs.
The city of Angra Do Heroísmo seen atop Monte Brazil from within the fortress walls. Angra has two forts to protect it.
18 August 2018
“Silence, let the guitars be heard.”
Fado restaurant. Fado is like Portuguese blues except it’s probably more proper to say blues is American Fado considering fado music is older than the USA.
Guitar, mandolin and a singer.
We ordered a platter called “the guitar” with a little of everything. A unique experience. This is one of the must dos when visiting any part of Portugal.
Our place in Terceira. We were here not even 24 hours. No where near the time to see enough of the island.
Our place in Faial. We called it home for a week.
17 August 2018
Cute little ticked away cove on Faial. The last evening on the island. We took some lava rocks and the sounds the water made when it pulled in the rocks was awesome.
Natural swimming pool in Capelinhos, at the foot of the volcano.
Lunch last day on Faial. You know you’re eating at a locals bar instead of a touristy café when you can order a hamburger with fries, two hotdog and fries plates, a sandwich, four drinks, two coffees and ice cream for 20€ and get change back.
The island we’ll be on after Terceira.
Terceira first night. Ate at a great restaurant and on the way there found this great fado bar. It opened later and what a treat! The waiters would serve us for an hour then they would stop serving and play guitar for all the local fado singers who were invited to perform. The place was small, had great food and amazing acoustics. This was a very cozy atmosphere. The kids were able to truck through to the second set but then we had to call it quits because it was late and the kids were out. Luckily it was only a five minute walk from our place in Angra( the capital of Terceira).
16 August 2018
We had a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Praya. It had the most amazing view of Pico that you see behind us and in the very first picture, way off to the left, you can faintly see the island of Graciosa. Graciosa is the island where my father-in-law is from. We’ll be heading there on Sunday.
Interesting factoid- the Portuguese alphabet does not have the letters Y, W, and K.
After breakfast at our place with the vavôs, we decided to have a chill day. Everyday so far has been a series of hurry-up-and-let’s-go; especially for the kids. So today we’re chillin by the pool.
Had a relaxing morning. We made breakfast and enjoyed a dip in the pool.
I portrayed a taxi driver today. I brought Vavôs to visit old friends and Uncle Brandon back to the volcão (volcano) where he hiked to the top (I’m hoping to get pictures)!
When I picked Brandon back up from the volcão, we decided to detour and took videos of the road and sites. It was beautiful! I just took a few pictures. I’m hoping to get more from Brandon!
15 August 2018
We ended our evening by retiring at our rental with a few beers and ordered pizza. What kind of pizza you ask? Why, Azorean pizza of course. We had mushroom pizza, linguiça pizza, and my personal favorite, tuna and onion pizza. Bizarre? Very. Delicious? Most certainly.
We ate pizza on our balcony and watched the sunset. Perfect end to a busy day.
Tomorrow, we’ll be chilling by the hillside and swimming at the private pool. Tomorrow night, however, we hope to enjoy some of the nightlife Horta has to offer while Vavôs watch the nuggets!
Cool place by the beach: wait! No! It’s not a beach! It’s a large black slab of rock that people sunbathe on down to the ocean. Great day for swimming! Humid. Nice view of the coast, Faial and the islets.
View of Faial.
Sit boy, sit! Who’s a good boy?
Brandy tasting by the lava rock. We made sure to visit the doggy. Named Arcos do Cachorro. Natural rock formation by lava. I forgot how much lava rock is on this island. There’s no shortage of it!8
Traditional houses down by the coast. All made with lava rock.
More pics of Pico. São Roque. Pico ocean water. As for the Islets - if you look closely, you can see that someone left the door open on the islet.
View of the island of Saint Jorge from Pico.
Whaling museum. Pico and Faial were huge places for whaling and when I say whaling, I don’t mean it in the sense of giving someone a beating, or a tragic hockey team, I mean dudes getting on a boat with a harpoon and life-stabbing the largest animals on earth. They have quite a lot of crazy stuff here from back in the day, including scrimshaw on whale bones, boatbuilding, and farm equipment: not bad for 2€! And why did humans mass murder these large, beautiful, majestic creatures? So we could get oil out of their heads! Why? So we could power pretty little lamps at night! Seems reasonable😀
Like most of the islands, there’s a road going around it and we went mainly along the coast visiting the towns along the way.!
They have deer on Pico. It’s cool cus I don’t think I’ve ever seen a buck until I came to this island. No, they don’t eat them! That’s mean! They just put them in a cage so we can admire them. There’s also a kid park there which the kids didn’t want to leave but heavens! There’s still so much more to see and the clock is ticking!
Igreija São Matheus. Home of the well known(to the Azoreans at least) saint Senhor Bom Jesus. And yes, if you translate that name it does indeed mean Mr. Good Jesus. Goody J wasn’t necessarily the real name of the saint; if he ever existed at all, but more along the lines of an idea: miracles. It’s typical for islanders to ask him for a miracle or a favor and leave him a little somethin’ somethin’. And when I say “him” I mean more “it” because it’s a wooden statue of JC. As we entered the courtyard, I noticed that there are yellow and white Vatican flags flying all around this cathedral to which I yelled to our ensemble “We are no longer on Portuguese territory- we’re in Popeland!” Judging by everyone’s silent meandering and photo taking, I could tell that everyone was thrilled. So long Vatican base Pico! Goody J sends his regards! The inside of the church was also pretty too, but the admiration was cut short because Elle decided to smash her head into, and knock over a candelabra.
Gee ... where to start? Pico is pretty damn big. It’s the second largest island: and we only had six hours to see it all. So I guess the natural start is to check out a vineyard. There are so many vineyards here it’s ridiculous. There are grapes grown everywhere. Because there’s so much black volcanic rock everywhere, the vineyard owners use it to build walls around small plots of grapes to keep them shielded from the salt water from the ocean. All you see for miles are these square plots filled with grape vines. I guess the wine industry exploded here over the past twenty years. We didn’t taste any wine but we did get a chance to get a good view from this restored windmill overlooking the vineyard. Welcome to Napa Valley of the Azores. Faial as viewed from Pico. I think Faial has the better view.
To our dismay, we found out we couldn’t take our car to Pico because the ferry was too small and there was also nothing posted about how to go about it. Nonetheless Nicole parked at the marina and we hopped on just in time to make the 10:45 trip to Pico. The ferry ride takes only 30 minutes as they’re the two closest islands. Photos show us looking back at Faial, the up close pass by of the ilheus(islets) and our arrival at Madalena, the biggest city on Pico. Look out for photobombing uncle Brandon -up to no good.
14 August 2018
We visited with Vavôs and collected our children. As we headed back to our rental, the clouds have finally parted and cleared so that we could see a perfect view of Pico - the island we’ll be setting sail for early tomorrow.
More pics of the Caldeira. Rows of hydrangeas stretching far down the slope. It seems like we’re standing there while fog is passing through but actually we’re hiking through a cloud: remember we’re well over 3000 feet up.
Highest point of the island Cabeço Gordo. This is where all the radio and cell antennas are located. Unfortunately due to constant clouds passing by and the other side of the crater, you can’t see all the way around the island, but you can see pretty far. This is over 1km (1000m) in altitude from sea level.
This afternoon we set out for a hike since there’s so much to see. However, this was no hike for the little ones. So, the Vavôs were loving enough to watch the nuggets for the day while Ryan, Brandon and I, hiked the entire rim of the Caldeira (crater). It doesn’t matter how many pictures you try to take: they don’t do the size and depth of the caldeira any justice.
We started our day today with breakfast on the balcony!
13 August 2018
Capelinhos volcano. Kids took a moment to play puzzles about volcano info. They put a new glass dome on the lighthouse but no, the lighthouse is not back in operation again! It’s now an observation point- it’s part of the museum pass which you will have to pay for. The memorial site is all underground and has a large waiting and eating area, a café, an auditorium, and a gift shop... oh yeah and the museum info center. They also excavated a couple meters of ash around the lighthouse exposing the entire second floor of the light house. The first floor is still buried but you can see the tops of the first floor window arches at the level of your feet. This is all fairly new because when Ryan was 12 and saw it, there was only a burnt lighthouse and a brown dead volcano. All you saw was just the lighthouse tower, the entire base of the lighthouse seen in the picture was under ash still.
From 1957 to 1958 the volcano of Capelinhos blasted Faial. The volcano erupted under water it sent lava flying thousands of yards and ash miles into the sky. Ash and black sand covered the entire island. It was so powerful that it’s flames could be seen from Graciosa. The lighthouse, which was amazingly well built was charred black from the heat but it still stands today. Now they’ve build a museum/memorial there underground out of concrete and have poured concrete inside the lighthouse walls to keep it stable. The volcano added about a couple square kilometers of land to the island that wasn’t there before making Faial the only island that has grown in the past few centuries. Everything is black and brown. There are no plants here.
Stopped by and ate a nice relaxing lunch on our island tour. When you eat out here,be ready to set aside at least 90 minutes to two hours. I think we were here for at least a couple hours but the food was delicious. This was leaving Capelo and heading towards Castelo Branco.
More of the Farol (lighthouse) of Ribeirinha.
The old lighthouse of Ribeirinha overlooks a high cliff. Destroyed and abandoned after the earthquake of ‘98, it once housed four families who would be the lighthouse keepers.
The chupachupa (shoopa-shoopa) plant. You pull out the little reeds from the flower, bite off the tip, spit, and suck out the nectar. Very sweet. This used to be the sugar fix back in the day. They look and smell pretty too. Left some in the trunk, the next day the car smelled like the forest- better than Glade.
As the caldeira is a hot spot for tourists we pulled up to the parking and walked through the tunnel to the inner rim view point. This is the lowest you can go inside the crater as people aren’t allowed in the caldeira because it’s dangerous. As you can see even at the lowest access point it’s still pretty high up. There used to be lakes at the bottom but you can see they’ve all dried up. This is the start of the crater rim hiking trail on Faial- one of many hiking trails on the island.
After meeting with the vavôs, we followed their taxi driver (who are also tour guides here) on an all day tour of Faial. We started off on the fraguesia (town/parish) of Flamengos where vavó Luz was born and raised. Unfortunately her house that she grew up in is gone along with many things that were destroyed in the earthquake of 1998. We may our way up the hillside higher in elevation to the caldeira.
12 August 2018
The Kincade girls would be so proud of me. I was able to capture a family picture while we sit outside Café Internacional. In the background, you can see the neighboring island, Pico, which has the tallest mountain in Portugal. Later this week, we’ll be planning on taking a ferry to visit that island.
Enjoying the last night of Semana do Mar!
The parade’s starting! And oh my, it is hot! Brayden begged us to buy him a fedora...
Grabbing a snack before the parade starts!
We just found out that Vôvos and Uncle Brandon are here on the island. As we walked to their hotel, we were able to watch the locals setup for the parade.
Walking around the city. Taking it all in. Waiting for the parade to start!
11 August 2018
We watched so many different musical bands from all over Europe. I’m not even sure where all of them were from. We saw many musical instruments we’ve never seen before either. We ended the night watching Romanian dancers and band followed by Lithuanian band with dancers. It was a lot of fun to see! It tuckered the little ones out nicely :)
It’s starting to sprinkle here in the Azores so Elle’s big brother offered her his shirt and hat. What a gentleman!
The boys left us stranded while they ventured to the bathroom during Semana do Mar (Sea Festival). There’s tons of music, dancing and food.... oh my gosh! And it’s all in front of a beautiful view.
Time to grab a drink! We pulled in to this fortress, Pestana, which is a Pousadas de Portugal. (Some sort of fortress I guess?). Whatever, it’s original and it’s gorgeous.
And because the moment was too perfect, Elle looked at me as we walked across the grass of this high end resort and told me she wanted “to pee on the grass.” As I told her to restrain herself and we’ll go to the bathroom, she proceeded to do so anyway... to mark her territory I guess...
10 August 2018
We’re finally in flight to the city of Horta on the island of Faial. You’ll also see the island of Pico as we fly over it. Apparently, this particular island has the tallest mountain in all of Portugal.
The flight is approximately 50 minutes long. We’re almost in Horta!
Apparently, we’re catching the end of Semana do Mar. it’s a “Sea Festival” that’s held in Horta that includes visiting ships from all over Europe, singers, artists, parades and fireworks. So much more to post!
Stuck at the airport due to a flight delay just because that’s what they do here.
That’s ok, making the best of it. We had a nice lunch here at PDL and Brayden and Elle made a new friend Max from Toulouse, France. Now Brayden’s brushing up on his French.
Brayden was saying, “Salut.” (Hi.)
And, “T’en veux?” (Do you want some?) Brayden was offering him chips whiling watching BFG on my Surface.
Unfortunately, we had to wish Max a “bon voyage” as they boarded their plane.
My mini European...
You can ride a trolley to tour downtown!
So weird... these people don’t have a McDonald’s on every corner. This is the first ad that I’ve seen. I’ve yet to actually find one. How do these people survive?!? Lol.
There was so much to see in Ponta Delgada (PDL). As we literally ran through the city, we just snapped several photos. The next few posts are all from the city. Enjoy!!
Some more pictures of Ponta Delgada. The sidewalks have designs made with white and black stone. The black stone is from the Azores (volcanic) and the white stone is from mainland Portugal. The designs vary through out the city. We also walked the fortress of São Bras built to defend the city. Brayden in his curiosity also asked about the monument built to commemorate the Portuguese soldiers who served in the First World War. Ellie ran around and dazzled us with her poses.
Before we leave the island of Saõ Miguel, we toured the city of Ponta Delgada. This is the capitol of the island. We didn’t spend much time here prior but we will visit once more at the end of our trip and stay here in the city.
For today, again, Ryan’s Azorean blood has been keeping us on track with the time here. The kids and I are still getting used to the time change... that, and I think I’m finally catching up on some sleep. It’s not too hot here, 70’s, but the humidity is around 80% so you always feel a little damp. That can make it tough to sleep as well. Our next apartment has A/C and a pool, woot! Woot!
Once Ryan got us up and out of the apartment, our taxi driver, Helder (not to be confused with Vô Helder), brought us to the city to tour around before jumping on another plane to the island of Faial.
We grabbed breakfast at a cute little café and did some walking around. Of course, Elle spotted Paw Patrol so we had to do some shopping!
9 August 2018
This was our last stop for the evening. We viewed this beach on the north side, Praia de Agua d’Alto. The waves aren’t nearly as big on this beach but it’s just as gorgeous.
Towards the end of our island tour we stopped up at the viewpoint overlooking the city of Vilha Franca do Campo. The islet off shore has a green lagoon accessible from the ocean and has become a hotspot for tourists looking for day trips for hiking and canoeing. The church sat behind us higher up and provided and even better view. Nicole and Brayden were willing to climb the stairs. Ellie was out like a light and just napped in the car.
When we left the springs, we saw these animals hanging out in the parking lot. We had our debates about what they may be. Can you guess?
Finally! The kids were excited to take a load off and thoroughly enjoy themselves in the Poça da Dona Beija (The nature pool of Madam Beija). They’re hot springs that are supposed to be both invigorating and therapeutic... and they were!
There were 5 baths of varying temperatures varying 28 degrees and up to 39 degrees Celsius. We truly had a blast here. It was a little difficult getting the kiddos out!!
We finally made it to Furnas. The town is located on a geothermal vent. We walked through clouds of sulphur smelling steam and geothermal boiling pools. Some were dry and others were just boiling mud. The yellow parts are sulphur, red and brown is iron: much of it staining all things the water touches. The giant black hole not only spews the occasional steam but allows you to hear the thumping and rumbling of super heated water deep under the ground. There are rocks with pipes cut into them with gaseous water pouring out. Most of this water tastes very metallic giving rust coloration to the run off, but we found one much lower down near the town’s hellish stream that tastes great. Mmmmm tonic water. Yes you can drink it and I did! The kids also enjoyed playing with bubbles in puddles which is oxygen being released from the soil. Rule of thumb: if there’s steam coming out of the water- don’t put your hand in it! Ever wonder what it’s like to walk a few meters above magma? This is it.
By now, we’ve worked up quite an appetite. We stopped at a newer restaurant and ordered something that I thought was stew but it ended up being just a smorgasbord of meat. Not what I had anticipated, but delicious nonetheless.
Elle, Brayden and I made new friends before our dinner was served.
“Júlio” is the white male to the left, and “Rocky” is the yellow looking male to the right. We’ll miss them.
More sights of the beautiful scenery surrounding the tea shop!
Time for tea!
This spot was a museum of how they made local tea. It’s one of the only two tea factories in Europe because the climate here is so similar to that of India and China. They actually hired Chinamen to aid them in how to properly cultivate the tea leaves.
Now they have two tea factories on this island. Once our tour was done, it brought you right to a little tea shop. Brayden tried his first cup of tea but Elle wasn’t feeling adventurous enough. I must say, it was delish!
More views of Santa Iris viewpoint.
We took a taxi tour all around the island today. Here we stopped at a midpoint on the north coast of São Miguel called Mirador(viewpoint) do Santa Íria. From here you can see the entire north coast of the island due to the high elevation. To the right you can see all the way to the highest point on the island in the municipality of Nordeste. To the west you can see Ribeira Grande and further.
We finally got our butts in gear this morning around 10:30. The time change seems to be hard to adjust too with the little ones! But we finally got our butts in gear and headed to one of the local beaches, Praia de Santa Bárbara.
There was a restaurant/bar right on the beach. Lots of people were hanging out, grabbing drinks and watching the water. This particular beach is known as a surfers’ beach because of its large waves.
The sand here is also black. It’s black from the volcanic ash and it does get quite hot! Each grain of sand almost feels bigger then the sand I’m used too from home. It also appears like it shines and sparkles. It also feels stickier... It’s gorgeous!
8 August 2018
While we drove back to our apartment located in Ribeira Grande, Elle, Brayden and I took a nap in the cab while we were driven to a restaurant for dinner.
It was the perfect meal to end a great day at the Botequim Açoriano! Saboroso (delicious)!
One of the best views of Sete Cidades is in Vista do Rei (King’s View). We visited an abandoned hotel where the views are spectacular.
The Chinese have actually taken ownership of this abandoned hotel and have plans to tear it down and rebuild a 5 star hotel. Plans for demolition are to start next month.
The hotel itself was blocked off to prevent people from climbing in. I was not wearing proper shoe gear and Ryan had no desire on climbing a cement wall. Brayden, of course, effortlessly hiked his way up over the 6 foot cement wall and was able to take a peek for himself. Now that I think of it, I should’ve just sent him up there with my phone and let him take pictures! Nonetheless, we still got some great views...
We toured the Túnel which is a tunnel that controls the water level of the lake you see here. We took a brief tour of the pitch black tunnel which is roughly 1 kilometer in length.
Afterwards, we hopped back in the taxi towards the city: Sete Cidades.
We climbed to one of the view points of Sete Cidades.
So, we were able to get out of bed around 2 today and get some sight seeing done. We drove around the Caldeira of Sete Cidades and then drove into the bottom of the crater to the city of Sete Cidades.
What a trip! We rushed out of the house to head down to the airport. Unfortunately, Brayden began experiencing a really bad headache while in the car that caused him to vomit.
A special thanks to Yaya and Pappou for bringing us to the airport and cleaning up Brayden’s mess in our car!!
While in the airport, Ryan checked us in while Brayden remained sick... in the airport... in the elevator... It worked out because not many people wanted to stand near us as our child was puking into ziploc bags throughout the airport and even on the plane.
So, kudos to Brayden for helping us all to achieve a little extra elbow room!
Once on ground, we’re all feeling tired. We grabbed a taxi and found our Airbnb rental. It’s time to nap and explore all Saõ Miguel has to offer!!