How I started thinking about the Azores?

It all started from an article I read not too long ago. Since then this destination was added to my bucketlist and I wouldn't calm down until I reach it. The question was which islands will I visit since the Azores are actually a group of 9 islands, each has its own color "nickname". This is when I started searching the web, blogs and forums to get some idea. Eventually I picked the main island, the big one, the green San Miguel. In this post and the ones which follow you'll understand why its called green …

So, in May 2015 I landed in Ponta Delgada, San Miguel, The Azores. A group of 9 islands in the Atlantic which belong to Portugal. They are located on the junction of 3 tectonic plates (the Eurasian, the African and the American), which explains their volcanic nature.

Azores Tectonic platesI bought a local SIM card and picked up the rented car, for which they charged me 800 euro deposit which later turned out to be quite a pain in the ass 🙁 .

What should have been a short ride to the city wasn't so short due my great navigation skills… After a while I turned on google maps and heard this American female voice trying to read out 5 word street names ! It's like “head south to Rua Jose do Jacome Correa and then make a left to Rua Santa Maria de Anton” – by the time she completes this “speech” you're already past this junction and now it recalculates…

Eventually I got to my hotel, Casa do Jardim, which was inside a botanic garden! So the setting was very nice. The room was very spacious and had this old tiny 14 inch TV, but what was more problematic was the smell… There was this bad odor, like the room didn't have any air in it. I went for a short walk in town but (I guess) because it was Sunday everything was very quiet. I did however get to see the city's trademark.
Botanic garden

Ponta Delgada's trademark

Sete Cidades

I checked the weather forecast and saw that the next day was going to be a nice day unlike the following days. It meant that this was the day in which I must (!!) see a lot… Woke up the next morning just to have a lousy breakfast (a piece of bread and ham) and reviewed a couple of the hiking trails I printed back home. There were 2 I was debating about for the area of “Sete cidades” (7 cities). They both seemed nice, from the pictures I've seen but what made me choose eventually was the name… One of them was called “vista do rei” (king's view), so I assumed if its for the king, it gotta be nice 🙂 .

I wanted to understand how long is the ride up there so asked the lady in the hotel. She didn't speak any English or Spanish and I don't speak Portuguese so at some point it was like she's just reading the names from the map, I said “thank you” and left. After 30-40 minutes I reached the start of the trail which is also an amazing viewpoint on the lakes. There are 2 lakes, “blue” and “green”. The urban legend is that there was a princess who fell in love with someone and their tears created the lakes…

Anywho… It was around 9AM and the parking lot was empty. I started the trail which takes you on this ridge where on one side you see these amazing lakes and on the other side you see the sea (ocean)! You can see the lakes are in an area which was once a volcano because of the walls surrounding it. There are also smaller crater like shapes with vegetation which are very nice. The only downside of this hike was that it was linear which meant I had to go back the same way, but that was good in a way since in the morning it was a bit cloudy and after a while the sun came out, so the lakes were much prettier…

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Vista do Rei

By the time I got back, after about 3 hours, the parking lot was full with tourist buses!
I circled the west part of the island and got back to the lakes, but this time instead of seeing them from the distance, I was actually “touching” them. From this point you can picture the surrounding walls. I had lunch in the small town of Sete Cidades when a cute dog joined me 🙂 .

Sete Cidades

I planned on seeing some more lakes but couldn't find how to reach them (on the map they are just dots with no roads), so I drove in their direction hoping for good… The road was climbing and once in a while there are these “binoculars” signs which you stop to get a nice view of something. I stopped and I saw this jaw-dropping green lake!!! I was lucky not to miss it… I went on another 2 hour trail which supposedly had to pass by a few lakes, but I saw only 1 so it was quite disappointing.

I started heading back to the hotel. I went down to the city to see what whales were seen today (they have this little sign of the views from each day) but the results weren't that interesting. I took some rest in the hotel and then wanted to grab dinner. The thing is that every time you leave the room, you need to walk 5 minutes in the gardens on uneven floor and then on a really narrow walkway.

I entered this restaurant, the service was slow, I was tired and started to fall asleep and then! when I wanted to pay, my credit card didn't pass through arggg! Remember the thing with the rented car? Luckily I had another credit card …

The next day I drove to Furnas on the eastern side of the island.

Lunch companion
The Azores

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