Monday April 25 – West End Sao Miguel

We woke up early to get Clare back over to Ponta Delgada for her 9 AM day hiking tour with Futurismo. I enjoyed a breakfast of delicious cheeses, breads, homemade jams, juice and Azorean green tea… while Clare only wanted yogurt. Due to one-way streets in the village and in Ponta as well, we didn’t go the shortest route, but did make it over the hills and to the pick-up location at the kiosk next to the harbor on time.

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Clare was off on a day hike to Lagos de Fugo. Unfortunately, it was extremely foggy and rainy, but she had a great time and befriended the young woman who was their hiking guide.

After dropping her off, I went back to the B&B for a nap (she’d gotten that long one the day before, but I was still disoriented). A couple of hours did a lot of good, and I wanted to have my own adventures – driving, not hiking.

With still a half day to myself (approximately 3 hours, anyway), I decided to explore the west end of the island (two of our tours were going to take us to the east). I turned left onto the highway through Fenais da Luz and headed west towards Capelas. With the exception of Ponta Delgada and Ribeira Grande, the villages seem unchanged through the centuries – houses built right up next to the street, red clay tile roofs, mostly some kind of building material that looked like adobe. The areas between settlements were small fields bounded by waist high rock walls, with cows or crops. The highway covering the west end was not at all a super-highway, but more of a paved road, with lots of curves.

I kept missing photo ops – like incredible views of villages or the ocean on my right side. A youth on a horse went galloping by on a horse, and I was so amazed I forgot to even try to get a photo on my smartphone. Finally, I did get a photo of a man leading a goat down the highway near Santa Barbara.

The day was partially overcast and cloudy – to have hillsides and fields that green of course means a lot of rainfall! But the sun was out periodically, and the outside temperature was delightful – in the mid 60s F.

I turned off the highway at the west end to check out Mosteiros, but otherwise stayed on the main highway on the hillside above the coast. The sun came out mid-afternoon as I passed through Candelaria, then Feteires. When I got near the airport at Relva, I recognized where I’d gotten off-track the day before and managed to get back to EN-1A along the harbor.

I wasn’t sure what time Clare would be back from her hiking tour, so arrived early, parking as close as I could to the kiosk so she’d see our rental care. I checked at the Futurismo kiosk, and they thought she wouldn’t be back for about an hour. I walked down the harbor side sidewalk, amazed to see three different cruise ships in port. The sidewalk cafes closest to the cruise ships were all full, and I decided not to wait to get a drink as I planned.

I wandered back to the main plaza, where a festival was going on and red carnations were being passed out. I heard what appeared to be a high school band, then more singers. Coming back towards the kiosk, I got in line for an ice cream at a shop next door when Clare showed up!

We decided to go back to the B&B, then try out the Agricola for dinner. The Agricola was on the north central side of the island near Rabo de Peixe, between the village of Fenais da Luz where we were staying and Ribiera Grande. We managed to find the Agricola with only a couple of wrong turns. We were pleased to be seated right away even without reservations, and our order was taken and delivered almost immediately. Unfortunately, the steak was a little overdone, and the restaurant got very busy and we got ignored. It took forever to get our bill, then nearly half an hour before we could pay it. Instead of driving back to the B&B by evening light, it was full dark when we tried to navigate the roads. We ended up going through Pico da Pedra instead of Calhetas along the coast. We finally made it back to Dos Hisbiscos, glad to find our way to our temporary home.

 

 

 

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