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Nr 83. The Azores

From Lisbon we went to the Azores. At the end of blog nr 81, you can read why we decided, quite spontaneously, to go there! It had to do with advice from other Dutch sailors :). The Azores are in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, but ‘only’ 1.300 km from Lisbon and 2.500 km from New York City. The Azores are 17 islands, 9 inhabited. The islands are over spread over a 500 km area!

We have visited 3 islands in 10 days: São Miguel, Pico and Faial. We were blown away by their beauty! Of every island we made a movie, mostly filmed with our drone, flying over craters, volcanoes and whales.

1. Island São Miguel

When we landed after the 2 hours flight from Lisbon on the Azores we were in a different world. It was an explosion of green colors! Palm trees, ferns, woods grew exuberantly on the fertile volcanic soil. Like nature went on steroids :). The Azores are also called the Hawaii of Europe. In our small hotel the atmosphere was very relaxed, friendly and even the gentleman from the car rental made jokes: ‘we have a new law on the island, if you don’t enjoy yourself, you have to buy us all coffee!’

Enjoy the island São Miguel in the video below:

– Lagoa Azul: a crater lake with bright blue water
– The typical churches in the villages of the Azores: white with black basalt blocks rimmed
– Black sand beaches to surf
– Parque Terra Nostra: a park close to Lake Furnas, with natural hot springs and steam clouds coming out of the ground (caldeiras)
– Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz: a white chapel with the blue Portuguese tiles and beautiful panoramic view over the sea
– Ilheu Vila Franca do Campo: island of Vila Franca do Campo is a 150 meter wide crater of a sunken volcano  

2. Island Pico

Since the other islands we wanted to visited were 300 km away (!), we took a small propellor plane (80 passengers) to fly in 30 minutes to the next island group with the island of Pico. Totally different island. Now we saw more blue colors of the flowers and Portuguese tiles. And this island is very rocky with lots of black rocks. We visited some great restaurants where the hospitality was amazing. We loved the sheep cheeses, fish stew (caldeirada de peixe) and linguiça (hot sausage).  

Enjoy the island of Pico in the video below:

– Mount Pico (2300 meters), the largest mountain of Portugal, to be seen from every place on this island
– The red mills, typical to be seen at many places
– Wine Tasting at the property of the youngest winemaker on the Azores: Lucas Lopes Amaral (https://www.adegalucasamaral.pt/nl/)
– The black coastline of this volcanic island
– The vineyards planted on lava soil of Pico are surrounded by walls of loose stones called “currais” or “curraletas”. The walls protect the vines from the sea breeze, but allow the sun to pass through, which is necessary for the ripening.

3. Island Faial

With the ferry we went to the last island we visited: island Faial. The harbor of Horta where the ferry stopped, is famous among sailors. This is were most sailors paint the flag of their country or their ship on the wall. And Gerrie and Rene of the boat Sparkling too who knew we would go the Azores asked us to take a picture of their painted flag, because it was ub 2003 and 2013 they were in the harbor of Horta. And yes, with their help we found their painting, literally among 2.000 other sailor paintings!!

Enjoy the island Faial in the video below:

– Peter’s Sport Café: over 70 years old, the center place for sailors to check their mail, sent messages to their family. Nowadays sailors hang their flags on the walls and ceilings of the café
– The cadeira of Faial: a spectacular crater, almost in a perfect round shape
– Our hotel was an old monastery with appartements
– Vulcão dos Capelinhos: the Azores still have volcanic activities, the last eruption was 70 years ago, this young volcano can be visited
– Whales and dolphins watching: we went on a 3 hour trip with marine biologists to see whales and dolphins. We were not disappointed, we have seen 13 whales swimming around us and lots of dolphins!

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