This is my last post (for now!) about the paradisiac island São Miguel, the most accessible one from the Azores archipelago. I have already written about its very special capital, and about the inland treasures. There is probably much more to write about, but I deliberately would like to leave the pictures taken in Sete Cidades (“Seven Cities” in English) and on the shores of the island to speak for themselves.Panoramic view over Sete Cidades and its Green and Blue Lake (Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul). The name of the town comes from the times of building a sustainable, democratic power in this part of the island, taking the votes of São Miguel’s seven cities representatives.
Sete Cidades is located in the westernmost part of the island, in the picturesque setting of the crater lakes. The difference in colours comes from the fact that one is more affected by the algae. However, the effect is indeed magic, and could probably be a great Portuguese candidate for the Seven Wonders of the World.
On the northernmost shores of São Miguel one can experience equally breathtaking views and try tea or pineapple from the local plantations. Actually, Azorean tea is the only one remaining old-fashioned producer in Europe. The delicate taste of Cha (eng. tea) Gorreana reminds me of this wonderful trip anytime I drink it back at home…To finish off this chapter, I would like to share my last moments on the Northern tip of the Island, where the peninsula is funnily shaped like a tartaruga (eng. turtle). I did not say ‘adeus‘, only ‘ate logo’. Next time I’ll visit Azores, I’ll try to sail or fly to the smaller, less accessible islands, I’m sure it’s worth to touch again this piece of paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
São Miguel is not an island for lazy bones. The island has its unique microclimate, varying from tropical, to moderate and windy at the coastline. While visiting the inland of São Miguel, make sure you go prepared for 7 seasons! But most importantly, prepare for breathtaking views and picturesque landscape, which is still not empoverished by the massive tourism presence and is ideal for a day-long hiking.
Given its volcanic origin, one can find various crater lakes which can be reached by winding roads from lovely and so unpretensciously named towns such as: Ponta Delgada (“Thin Tip”), Rabo de Peixe (“Fish Tail”), Ribeira Grande (“Great River”) or Furnas (“Heater”).
The truth is, it can get very warm and humid when you enter the green forests on the sleepery hills. When the rain caught me on the trail to Caldeira Velha (definitely my fave name “Old Boiler”), I did not think twice to jump in the hot spring.
Hot springs, full of iron and other minerals are a free retreat offered by Mother Nature on this heavenly island. Another interesting fact is that in Furnas, the typical dish called cozido (“Cooked Meal” – another brilliant and self-descriptive name!) is prepared… below the ground. It takes about 8 hours to prepare a dish consisting of various types of meat and vegetable stew buried in a huge metal pot.
Yes, exactly like this one. Inside, the geothermal temperature goes up to 90 degrees Celcius, offering fantastic conditions to cook a very delicious stew.
The inland hills and roads are also very mystical. Almost all the roads are naturally decorated by hortensia (eng. hydrangea). The reason for it is also pretty simple: once upon a time, man discovered that cattle somewhat hates the smell of it. By planting it by the road, he made himself sure that the cows won’t be passing it. By now, these beautiful flowers grow almost everywhere the roads of the island, making São Miguel a particularly picturesque place to wander around and never come back.