SAO MIGUEL & TERICERA, AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL, September 7 – 9, 2015 – We boarded our Private Jet again to fly out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to the Azores Islands. An autonomous region of Portugal, the archipelago’s closest point to Portugal is 900 miles west across the ocean. Enjoying a wonderful lunch en route we continued further west to São Miguel for a stop on “The Green Island”, the largest of the islands.
As we explored the island we understood the source of its nickname as greenery was abundant; in the late 19th century a number of outstanding gardeners competed amongst themselves in collecting rare plant species from around the world.
The Valley of Furnas is actually a dormant crater with fertile volcanic soil, so even here the geyser areas are surrounded by lush plant life. This geyser area at Furnas Lake has traditionally served as a natural kitchen, where pots of food were buried in the hot earth for cooking. Hot springs are found throughout the town of Furnas as well.
Terra Nostra Park was created in the 18th century and is considered one of the most beautiful parks in Portugal with small lakes, streams, colorful and exotic flowers and century old trees. In addition to the exotic flowers we also spotted some hydrangeas, the symbol of the Azores and the most common flower in the islands. The park also features a large mineral pool that beckons to ease away life’s aches and pains.
We re-boarded our jet for a short flight to the nearby island of Terceira, our home for the next 3 nights. We transferred to our hotel, interestingly located within the walls of a fortress dating back to 1555 that was a main defense of the island. Our explorations of this island included the fortress surrounding our hotel and the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site for its great importance as a maritime port of call in the era of the galleon and European exploration across the Atlantic. Dinner on the terrace of our hotel was a special treat with the ocean as the backdrop, while we were entertained by a local folkloric group performing their traditional. Our flight crew was able to join us for a fun evening of merriment.
Our final day took us around the island to see more beautiful scenery, visiting the young city of Praia da Vitoria, nearby lava rimmed beaches as well as historic churches and buildings. Much of the island is still rural and agricultural, in fact, the cattle population is close to 1 to 1 with the human population; at one point a herd was practically sharing the road with our coach. We ended our visit with the Algar do Carvão Cave, an ancient lava tube located in the central part of the island that has been declared a geological nature reserve.
We have enjoyed our visit to these charming islands, where our guides shared their wonderful life stories as well as the history of the islands. All too soon it is time for our final flight on our private jet as we head to Paris for the finale of this wonderful journey!
Photos below from the Azores… Click any photo to enlarge.