• Day1

    First day in Azores

    November 13, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    We had never considered visiting the Azores. In fact, Dean didn't even know where these islands were! But after doing some research to find a Covid-safe destinations, with high vaccination rates, and few restrictions, this seemed like a good option. On top of that, we learned that the Boston area has a fairly large Azorean and Portuguese population so finding direct, affordable flights to the islands is easy. What a great discovery! Fun fact: Portuguese-speakers (not only from Portugal, but Brazil as well) form the largest linguistic minority in the state of Massachusetts.

    In any case, we planned our trip and after only a few hours flight in a half empty plane, we landed in São Miguel Island, the largest and most populous in the archipelago. Of course, these islands are tiny, so "populous" here means less than 68,000 people.

    It was still dark when we landed, but our hotel room was already ready for us when we arrived in Ponta Delgada. And what a beautiful and charming hotel! Casa do Pateo offered a huge room with very high ceilings, lovely decor, an amazing breakfast in adorable dishes, very friendly staff, an unbeatable -and still quiet- location... and terrible internet connection. I didn't care that much, but Dean needed to get some work done and had to use his phone as a hotspot.

    After a short nap, we went to get breakfast at a place called Intz48. It may be because the reviews were incredible, but I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be. My omelet was good, but not extraordinary, and I was hoping to see more options in the menu.

    We walked to the botanical garden José do Canto, a lovely place with some interesting trees and a bunch of chickens running around. We even saw some eggs on the ground! The Moreton Bay Figs (Árvore-da-borracha-australiana) were probably the coolest, with their huge roots forming walls. The Prickly-leaved Paperback (Melaleuca), with its paper-like bark, was also fun.

    I was still exhausted after our night flight and I needed to take another nap at the hotel. Unfortunately, by the time we went back out it had started raining. We knew it would happen, but we didn't expect as much water as we got. We walked to the Forte de São Brás, a 1552 fortress that would have been very interesting if it weren't because by then the storm was huge and we had to get inside. The building hosts now a Military History Museum with a bung of weapons, vehicles and uniforms. I'm sure there are people out there who would love it, but it wasn't exactly my kind of thing, and there weren't enough explanations to learn much.

    Still, we had fun, but at some point we had to leave and get back under the rain. By then everything was wet, water was running down the streets and the houses drains were throwing water to the streets - and to us. By the time we got to the hotel even my underwear was wet, not to mention everything else.

    We had some snacks we had got at a store next door and waited for the rain to stop to look for a place for dinner. This is when we learned that makijg reservations is a good idea in Ponta Delgada. A couple of places turned us away, but we ended up getting a table at a restaurant next to the hotel called Adega do Mestre André. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but we had a good meal and the staff was very friendly.

    I slept SO good that night.
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