After one week on Madeira we went to Sao Miguel, one of the nine Azores Islands. We flew with Azores Airlines with a small prop airliner. The flight only takes two hours and starting from Madeira gave us a spectacular view over the island. This time we had already checked in online and therefore had nice window seats. Unfortunately we had to pay for our overweight luggage. Though the airplane has only been half full… We had to pay 24 Euros for 6 kilos.
The airport on Sao Miguel is as small as the one in Funchal on Madeira. Our luggage came quite fast and we got again our rental car quickly. The stuff member of the rental car company did a car inspection together with us. The car was full of scratches….
Funny enough we got a message right after arrival that friends were in Ponta Delgada with a cruise ship. So we directly drove to the harbour and met them. Cheers for messenger apps and our mobile web.
Our hotel Caloura was some kilometers away from the airport in a nice bay and we had a beautiful sunset while we had our dinner. For a starter we had to try a local delicacy: Bolo Levedo. A kind of a sweet yeast bread which also can be eaten together with salty things. Very yummy.
Right next day we did a tour around the island. We chose the west coast. But before we startet we went to the market hall and bought some local cheese there. Ten different varieties for tasting and a local bread together with the mentioned Bolo Levedo. Costs us 13 Euros.
We also stopped by the car rental as we realized the day before that one light wasn’t working. As there was no spare vehicle a staff member drove us to a garage where the bulb was changed. So we could go on with our sight seeing tour.
Always along the coast line. Everywhere you can see those signs saying: „Miradouro“. That means ‚view‘. But here everything is green. You will see all kinds of shades of green and in-between stone walls or hedges. There are cows everywhere. That’s where the cheese comes from. And you can see all kinds of plants and flowers. We stopped at every corner, took pictures end enjoyed the landscapes. On a nice picknick ground we tasted the cheese. One was better than the other. Great!
We went to the hot springs of Ferraria. But the waves have bee too high so that nobody could take a bath there. But also the pool has been empty. But the waves were very impressive.
We met two farmers with a horse carriage which cam from milking theirs cows. And we stopped again every couple of meters because we had seen something interesting. Whether ist was an old farm house or the light house or just a plant. We ate at the only vegetarian restaurant on the island. And it was very yummy. But you have to make a reservation!
On the next day we went along the east coast but before we had to recharge our prepaid SIM card. But then we went on. All along the small roads. Past by beautiful sandy beaches, nursery gardesn, nice pick nick places and lots of view points. For lunch we had the rest of the cheese from the day before. Still yummy!
We came to a sign warning us for 30 % decline. Seriously?? Then we have to go there!! At the end there was a hidden romantic beach. The hiking trail to it was unfortunately closed.
Finally we arrived a Furnes at the hot springs. Very impressive when everywhere from the ground steam arises and it bubbles and splashes. The steam feels very warm and it smells awkward. Here you can get you food cooked in the volcano heat. I’d rather bath in a hot whirlpool…
We had dinner at one of the traditional restaurants which was designed in a modern way. And the menu was an ipad where you could directly order. Very innovative. Food was very good. The desserts were a dream. The islands sweets seem to be considerably.
On the third day we went downtown for a stroll through the alley ways with the black and white houses. The side walks are quite narrow. But the streets are inviting and there are a lot of shops and snack bars.
After that we visited the pottery where until today the beautiful blue painted tiles are produce that you can see on the island everywhere as street signs or decoration. You will also find these tiles in churches. You can visit nearly all parts of the production. And again it was faczinating to watch all the different steps of hand work and to see how laborious it is. In a small shop you can by the ceramics goods for a reasonable price.
Finally we drove further on the island and discover more and more interesting things. A nice beach, beautiful landscapes and exotic plants. If necessary you sit in a nice snack bar have a coffee and watch people of waves. Both will never get boring.
We had dinner in an inconsiderable restaurant and ate the best fish of our lifes so far. We had steaks of fresh tuna which we could grill on a hot stone on our table. That was fantastic! Achim could visit the kitchen and take some photos as well. Even from the fish delivery…
For the fourth day we had guide who drove us around. But he also had to stop at every corner because of the view or the waves. Our aim was the tea plantation which is the only one in Europe.
It is so beautiful to see the hedges lining along the hill. We drove exceptionally with a tractor around the plantation to watch the harvesting. Today it is done with a machine but it is still interesting to watch. In the factory you can see the whole production process and can of course try the tea. The black tea was fine. Funny that you can visit a tea plantation in Europe. You can even walk or hike through the plantation. There are marked hiking trails. And it is worth a try!
For lunch we tried the food cooked on the volcano. It was served in the old casino with a big show for the tourist busses. I’d rather eat the food right at the lake site on this nice pick nick place and watch it come out of the ground. Culinarily it was not outstanding. But that was supposed to come afterwards…
We were allowed to visit the bakery that mades Bolo Levedo. There a couple of times a day the dough is prepared which has to rise for at least four hours. After that small balls are formed which have to rise for another hour.
During our waiting time we went to a bus shelter: A real bus stop where inside a snack bar is situated. So funny!
After an hour we went back and watched further. The balls were flattened and baked shortly on a hot iron plate. We could try them still warm and they are a dream! You have to try this! At the bakery there is a small coffee place.
For dinner sombody recommend the restaurant in Caloura. The restaurant. There is only one. The harbour is very small. What we did not know… There is no dining room. All tables are outside. Which is surely nice in the summer time but with 10 C temperature we were quite surprised. But the native eats there. Without heating. For the tourists there are blankets which we used and it was ok. The fish though was extremely good. Go to restaurants where the natives go to. You won’t be disappointed. So far it worked out fine for us.
The fifth day we spent on editing photos and texts. But around lunch time we were challenged to drive the smallest street on the island. So we went to Calpese. This is really narrow! Clever that Achim took his camera from the boot. You cannot open the door! There are only 2 or 3 cm left on each side. But the harbour is rustic and romantic and the steep coast is impressive. And you can also walk there …
Lunch and dinner we had at the hotel that day to save time.
On our very last day on the Azores we wanted at all costs to bath in the hot springs in this jungle. At the entrance we asked whether we could bath at all and the friendly employee told us the lower pool would have 30 C. Well! We walked through a kind of a jungle and after a couple of meters we already saw the first pool. Changing rooms and toilets are nearby. Your things you can put into a plastic bag. The water is adorable!!
After that we drove to the surfer beach for a snack. There were a lot surfers in the water and we could have watched for hours. We took the road back on the east coast and discovered the steepest road on the island with 35 % decline. And it is also narrow. We also saw the loo with the most beautiful view.
We had dinner again in the nice restaurant at the harbour and then we had to prepare everything for our flight back which started at 7 the next morning.