I just visited the island of Sao Miguel, as this is the island where my husband was born and brought up until the age of 5, and where his youngest brother and his maternal uncles still live.
It had been 8 years since I last visited and I could see the changes in the city, in the way of new construction and new roads that have enhanced the island.
Maybe because they aren´t very well known and still not invaded by the tourists, the islands of the Azores are still very much a natural paradise.
|(Note the Lagoons of Fire and Furnas in the centre of the island)|
|Portas do Mar - the marina in Ponta Delgada|
|Lagoa do Fogo (Fire lagoon - a former crater)|
|Miradouro de Santa Iria (lookout)|
|Lagoa - Pools, church and village|
|Ribeira Grande - river and garden|
The islands traditional dishes are based on the fresh fish caught on the day (try the Tuna steak), the tender meat of the cows that graze on the green slopes, the Conventual desserts and the flavoursome pineapples the island exports.
|Succulent Tuna Steak with boiled potatoes and Salad|
|The most tender and delicious steak I have eaten! It was only 1/2 dose but I couldn´t finish it.|
Try also the delicious Passionfruit liquor and visit the only tea plantation in Europe - Gorreana Tea Factory - that produces about 40 tonnes of tea leaves. The black teas they produce are: Orange Pekoe, Broken Leaf and Pekoe, and the only green tea is: Hysson.
If you visit "Furnas", a town and lake in the east side of the island, the volcanic nature of the island is quite apparent. The "caldeiras" (hot springs) have for centuries been used to cook the "cozido (stew) using the steam coming out of the earth around the lake. Try the various mineral waters that flow from various fountains scattered around the town centre, each with a different taste. Sample also the corn boiled in the steaming pools and taste the sweet flat bread called "Bolos Lêvedos". Visit the Terra Nostra Park, a very lush botanic garden with tropical exotic species, as well as plants from cold climates.
|The hot springs at Furnas - don´t touch the water, it is really boiling...|
|The lake at Furnas|
|Dona Beija Pools - you can see the ferrous water in the river|
|Dona Beija Pools - Furnas|
If you enjoy sailing, diving, surfing, fishing, golf or tennis, there are plenty of opportunities for you to practice your sport.
Visit the craft shops and have a look at their handiwork - miniatures made with fish scale or fig tree kernels, blue and white ceramics, hand loomed bedspreads, embroidered tablecloths and others in the traditional blue colours.
Visiting the Azores is to rediscover part of the original paradise. Where man and nature have joined hands to create eternal beauty.
|Miniature windmills made with fig tree kernels from: rotadashortencias.blogspot.pt|