Random Rambling

S. Miguel – Azores – September 2016 – Mega Vacation Guide!

Hello there dear reader!

This blog post will be kind of different from the usual ones, since I’ll be telling you how were my adventures in the isle of S.Miguel during September of 2016.

From the 22nd to the 28th, me and my girlfriend (Marina) traveled to the isle of S.Miguel in the archipelago of Azores for some deserved vacations after such a troubled and exhaustive Summer. (https://throughfantasyandreality.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/a-lifeguards-sagadeath-ep-7-the-seas-embrace/)

We had our flight through Ryanair at around 16:00 GMT+0 in the Francisco Sá Carneiro airport. The flight went on without any problem but I still can’t handle the pressure very well as I got a huge headache through most of the flight.

We arrived around 17:30 local time (GMT-1), retrieved our baggage and proceeded to rent a car in the Ilha Verde company, a blue Nissan Micra, perfectly suited to the job since most of the roads and streets are well paved around the island.

Since it was so late already, we tracked our rented apartment through GPS and made our way there first. A lady was there waiting for us and showed us around the apartment and answered some of our questions, mostly related about where to shop for groceries and so on. We ate some snacks and then made our way to the hypermarket to buy food and snacks. Luckily for me, my girlfriend is a decent cook and we saved a lot of money while eating healthy as well. After shopping and eating, we planned what to see on the day after.

On day 2 we visited Ponta Delgada the capital of the archipelago. We wandered through its busy streets but also through the beautiful marginal area that is possesses.

We planned to see the Caldeira Velha (Old Boiler) and the Lagoa do Fogo (Lagoon of Fire) which are situated high in the mountain. The weather was cloudy but we didn’t think that it wouldn’t be so much mist once we reached a higher altitude. So, we decided to abandon the first objective of the day since we couldn’t see more than 10 meters ahead, and we went down the mountain again towards Lagoa. Unfortunately the weather there was not very famous as well and we’ve only seen a part of the town. In every town, the streets are so small that most of them only allow passage to one vehicle. The houses there are also placed together with one another, there is no terrain in between any of them, a thing that is most common in old areas of towns here in the mainland (Portugal) but at least in S.Miguel, most of the houses in the towns were like that, even in distant villages.

We then set out to Ribeira Grande and we witnessed its beauty as the day got brighter. We had a taste of its liquors and we walked around its beach made of volcanic sand.

Now on day 3, we spent our morning in Vila Franca do Campo, and we got to the Ermida Senhora da Paz (a place high in the mountain in honor to the lady of peace(?)).

Then we set out to Furnas to watch the portuguese steam being made at the natural volcanic boilers underground. We had lunch there and then we moved to the thermal waters of D. Beija.

And from there we visited the Terra Nostra botanic park, which also has thermal ferrous waters.

We ended the day with the view near Castelo Branco, a splendid point of view! (Not to be confounded with Castelo Branco the county in the mainland).

On day 4, we visited the Gorreana tea factory in the morning and then we set out to Nordeste, in the day that we traveled more of our vacations in S. Miguel.

We had lunch in Nordeste and then we went around the island, stopping by several points of view, until we reached Povoação, which was the first site of arrival of the first colonists.

We reached Povoação and we wandered around there for a while. Ate some ice cream, visited the Zoo and walked around the coastal area.

Then, on our way back, we stopped by Caldeiras (boilers) in the county of Furnas, to watch how awful they smell. It is like a combination of boiled, rotten eggs, a smell that is strong and can be detected within a kilometer away from the source. It is a good place to visit nevertheless. There are local craft shops around and we tried some of the liquors and the levedo cake.

 

And then, to finish the day, we visited the Lagoa do Congro (Lagoon of the Conger). Too bad that we didn’t bring our swimming gear with us, but it was already kind of late to take a dip in the lake.

Day 5, the weather seemed okay to a travel high up in the mountain to the famous Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Seven City Lagoon). As we moved up the mountain, we passed through some clouds but nothing compared to what we faced on the second day. We visited several lagoons and beautiful point of views and even a church with a cricket choir!

Then we descended the mountain to Ponta da Ferraria where we took a bath in the Atlantic Ocean, in a natural pool of warm water.

Our belies were already growling and as such, we moved to Mosteiros and had lunch there, a beautiful steak and a panoramic view that we will not forget. In the afternoon, we wandered around the coastal area and we swam around other natural pools in the county before going back to the apartment.

On the sixth day, we managed to see what we couldn’t before, and we enjoyed ourselves at the largest beach in S. Miguel! First we set out to Caldeira Velha (Old Boiler), we managed to find a parking spot this time, and the weather wasn’t misty like before. It is worth the visit, but that place isn’t meant to relax. There are floods of people coming and going, and the space isn’t big enough to accommodate such numbers.

So we departed to Ribeira Quente, a town in between the mountain and the sea. We parked our car right next to the beach, had lunch and enjoyed the sun and calm waves that abated in the shoreline for the rest of the afternoon. At night, we prepared our baggage to return home.

And on the next day, we woke up, had our breakfast, made our way to the gas station to fill the tank of the car, made our way to the airport to deliver it and got ourselves in a plane back to Portugal. To this day, these were the best vacations I’ve had and probably the best ones Marina had as well! 🙂

Here’s a list of the costs of what we spent there, perhaps if you’re considering a trip to the Azores archipelago or to the island of S. Miguel even, you’ll get an idea of how much it may cost you.

Ryanair Flight (2 adults) – 225€ (including 50€ of extra luggage)

T1 Apartment with 1 bed (6 nights) – 225€ (awesome space, close to everything and relatively in the middle of the island) (https://www.airbnb.pt/rooms/11989365)

Nissan Micra  (6 days) – 250€ (nice car to travel around the island, not even consumed a full tank during the time we were there) (http://rentacarilhaverde.pai.pt/ official site seems to be having a problem, so I chose this one to share the company that rented us the car)

You can see the short version and the long version videos of our vacations in YouTube as well!

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