Saturday, 17 May 2014

Port Day 1 - São Miguel Island, Azores

I was so tired last night I was in bed by 8:30, which of course, means I was awake by 5:30 this morning.  Although my friends K&J say there is no such thing as jet lag, I beg to differ.  I guess it means I have more time to catch up on posting and reading other blogs! :)

May 4, 2014
We had a wonderful day on  São Miguel Island, in the Azores Islands.  The Azores are a series of nine islands and a cluster of islets in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 1360 km. (850 mi.) west of Continental Portugal.  Our port was in Ponta Delgada, the largest city in the islands.

We arrived in port early in the morning.  It looked like it was going to a grey and gloomy day, but the weather did improve throughout the day.

The five of us were up early and ready to board the bus at 8 a.m. to visit the Furnas Crater Lake and Terra Nostra Gardens.

Along the route, we stopped in the small community of Ribeira Grande, a picturesque little town.

These are a few of the photos from our stopover.

Frankly, the cobblestone streets were in better condition than our local roads here at home!

The flowers were in bloom in the gardens, mostly pansies, azaleas, and these hydrangeas.

So pretty and so different from the continuing winter landscape at home (it snowed after I left!)

From Ribeira Grande, we travelled to the valley of Furnas. The skies were still overcast, but the views were so spectacular, it didn`t matter a bit!

The current village of Furnas below, was relocated after the latest volcanic eruption (1630 AD) which flooded the original village, killing the occupants, and creating the Furnas Crater lake.

Lagoa das Furnas (Lake Furnas) a volcanic crater lake 

The fields, (so green) were edged by stone.  The major agricultural activity is dairy used in the production of cheese and butter products.

From Furnas, we travelled to the nearby Terra Nostra gardens. I`ll simply let the photos speak for themselves.

This is a camellia, a flower I don`t believe I`ve ever seen before.

As the petals, they created a blanket of rose petals under the trees.  So beautiful!

Leaving Terra Nostra, we visited the nearby sulphur springs.  It smelled horrid but was very pretty. 

The weather steadily improved through the day and by the time we reached Ponta Delgada, the skies were clear and the sun was warm.  
We chose to be dropped off in the city, and did some walking through the nearby streets.  As it was Sunday (and Mother`s Day) most of the shops were closed.

It was a good thing the shops were closed, otherwise I suspect these shoes would have been going home with me!

Back at the ship, we had a lovely evening for sail away.  We were treated to a marching band playing on the docks below as the tug boat pulled us away.

What an incredibly beautiful place!  São Miguel Island is known locally as the Green Island and it certainly lived up to it.

Not only is it beautiful but the weather is temperate, with lows of only 11C (57F) and highs of 24C (75F). Given the opportunity, I`d return to see more the island and possibly visit some of the other islands.  It may never happen, but I`ll always have the memories of an incredible day.

Tomorrow - Southampton, England


Fuzzy Tales said...

Stunning. Absolutely. Stunning. Photos 8, 9, and 10...I just want to live there. LOL.

The shoes were great too, and I'm not a shoe person, but the landscape...Sigh. Wonderful!

Catherine said...

How beautiful! Oh you lucky girl. So many wonderful memories you will have.
xo Catherine

Bellen said...

I've always wanted to visit the Azores. The 'new' location of Furnas looks beautiful, a little green valley. And the Portuguese architecture in the town really shows you that you are in another country.