Sao Miguel - Green Island
by Agnieszka Zając
Friday, April 7, 2017
About Sao Miguel
Sao Miguel (Portugal) – the biggest of the nine archipelago`s islands located in the middle of the Atlantic. The place, where a man can switch “slow motion” being inspired by surrounding nature. The Portuguese Azores are justifiably regarded as the greenest area in the world.
Merely 5% of the surface area is urbanized making the landscape natural and extremely wild. Due to the little beaches, charming towns, steep cliffs, mountains, and lakes many tourists come to breathe some fresh air, but mainly to escape from the external busy world.
The Azores are unpredictable and full of surprises. Weather on the island is constantly changing, offering a wide spectrum of meteorological conditions. While delighting the beautiful sunshine on the beach, no one would expect the light rain in a while finishing on the escape from the incoming heavy showers with the storm.Minimal temperatures amount to about 10 Celcius degrees, however, the maximum ones rarely exceed 25 degrees.
Our welcome with the Azores was quite unusual. When we landed in the Ponta Delgada in the evening and the plane`s door opened, the first smell reaching our nostrils was the smell of… cows! ” Hello nature,” I thought couldn`t wait for another day! After we rented a car we came to Rosa – informatics and photography teacher, who made her whole apartment available saying all the time to feel there as at own home.
Mosteiros and Lagoa das Sete Cidades
When the new day came, we started exploring! The first lap of our journey was the black beach in the Mosteiros. On the one side, the beach is surrounded by both high cliffs and on the other side by the rock formations being the inhabitants` one of the most favorite places to spend leisure time. In addition to the wide beach tracts of black sand, cliffs and rocks sculpted by the activity of ocean, one in Mosteiros can also take a bath in the natural pools, which are slightly away from the main beach. After a quick walk and struggling with the strong wind, we got to the car and went in the direction of the Lagoa das Sete Cidades to contemplate the most popular lakes on the Sao Miguel. The view of the Sete Cidades from the overlook of the Vista do Rei is the obligatory tour point for each tourist spending time on the Azores` island – Sao Miguel.
The next day we started from the beach Ribeira Grande which was located quite close to our apartment and then we visited the liqueur factory called Mulher de Capote, where you can see the factory from the inside and taste exotic drinks for free.We purchased some small colorful bottles of liqueur and after that, we traveled to the place which we expected to see from the beginning of our trip. It is the only one tea manufacturer in Europe. Have you ever heard about tea plantation in Europe? Many of you probably now are opening eyes in astonishment. Yes, tea plantations in Europe exist and are located in the northern part of Sao Miguel. They are allowed to be visited. Furthermore, you can wander between the tea bushes dually enjoying your eyes – firstly due to the juiciness of greenery and secondly because of the ocean views. Cha Gorreana offers to the visitors an opportunity to taste and buy local tea as well as to explore the whole process of its production.
Another issue strictly identified with the Azores are pineapples. However, the fruits definitely differ from those grown in other parts of the world – they are primarily smaller but very fragrant and juicy. Pineapples are grown in plantations and also in greenhouses all year round. They ripen for about 20 months and are more expensive than those, for example, from Brazil, but certainly worth their price. It is worthwhile to look into the kingdom of pineapples while discovering the flavors of the Azores. We truly recommend visiting the kingdom of pineapples while exploring the Azores` flavors.
The whole island looks like a big garden where you can discover unusual places at every turn. Surprisingly enough, we were surprised by the environment and the innumerable local gardeners who took care of even the most distant places of civilization. Not only once we were surprised by both the exaggerated attention of the environment and endless amount of the local gardeners taking care of, even the most distant from civilization, places.
Lighthouse Ponta do Arnel is one of the most beautiful places on the island which is also located near the Nordeste. Location on a scarp over the cliffs, on the side of the coast, where the biggest waves are crushed is definitely impressive. Although walking down and then going back upwards is totally exhausting, it is worth straining the calves to see waves which face the high cliffs.
The well-known starting point is Furnas, where just below the surface the ground is extremely active. In the town, we can find small geysers in the wet, bubbling areas, as well as a thermal pool with hot water, situated in the center of the climate complex of the park. In Furnas, there are thermal pools with water reaching the 39 degrees! Lying to the neck in hot water and staring at the stars, we were savoring the nature and rising scent of eggs.
The day before last of our journey my eyes flashed and heart started to beat faster! Thanks to Rosa, who is an enthusiast of paragliding, I had an opportunity to meet the rest of paragliders to explore the island from the bird’s eye. The sun was setting in the sky, the clouds were gone and I couldn`t wait for the photos and films which I supposed to make. When we arrived at the proper place, the spell broke… Despite the beautiful weather, the conditions didn`t allow to paraglide – complete lack of wind frustrated plans for an amazing adventure. Eventually, I am glad that I could meet a group of people, who have a passion and love to watch the world from the level of the sky.
Summing up, I readily can state that the Azores are the most beautiful place I have ever visited so far. Unusual landscapes, the variety of environment, kind inhabitants, cows on the streets, calm and peace make you forget about reality and enable to totally indulge in nature. I recommend!