Portugal
Castello de Bom Jesus (historical)

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    • Day 7

      Überfahrt mit der Fähre nach Pico

      May 5 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Heute klingelte der Wecker wieder beizeiten, die Überfahrt mit der Fähre von Horta auf Faial nach Madalena auf Pico stand an. Beim Frühstück konnten wir eine schöne Aussicht auf Pico geniessen. Danach ab ins Auto, tanken, Auto am Hafen abgeben und schauen, wo denn die Fähre abfährt. Der Deskman schaute erst unsere Tickets, dann uns und wieder unsere Tickets an und sagte, die Fähre fährt zu dem Zeitpunkt gar nicht 🤦‍♀️ ob wir nicht informiert wurde? Nein, wurden wir nicht....🙇‍♀️ trotz offiziellem Ticket standen wir num am Hafen. Netterweise konnten wir es auf die nächste Fähre umbuchen und warten nun eine weitere Stunde bis es los geht🤗Read more

    • Day 5

      Neptune in Horta

      March 13 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

      Apparently on February 15, 1986, on a Saturday between noon and 4 pm, the Azores suffered the greatest storm of the century, with winds reaching velocities of nearly 250 km/h.

      A local photographer, Jose Henrique Azevedo, took photographs before and after the storm. Waves reached heights of between 15 and 20 meters and when they broke, the spray went as high as 60 meters.

      Two years later when Jose wished to show proof of this event to visiting yachtsmen, he printed two of the photos. Having done so, he discovered that at the moment when he had photographed a particular breaking wave it had taken on human form – and thus became known as Neptune at Horta.

      Can you see the Neptune’s face?
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    • Day 4

      A Road Trip Around Faial Island

      March 12 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      We are staying in Horta that is in the very bottom right hand corner of the island. It was a gorgeous sunny day so we spent almost the whole day driving around the island clock-wise.

      First things first though. We went to the ferry terminal and bought our tickets for Thursday’s trip to the island of Pico. Actually the ferry workers are on strike so we didn’t have much choice about when we could go. We are just hoping that the weather is fine, especially when we come back, so we will be in time to catch our plane to Terceira next Monday.

      So, the road trip…

      The island is not very big 21km x 14 km. In the centre of the island, there is a large volcanic crater called Caldeira. You can drive to the rim of this crater (400 m deep) and walk around it (8 km) , but by the time we got to the turnoff to the crater, the clouds had rolled in.

      Anyways, we started in Horta, drove past the airport and down to a small fishing harbour called Porto de Castelo Branco. There was a cute picnic area where we took photos of a distinct white cliff, the remains of an old volcano.

      We drove further through some cute white villages and saw the turn off to that cliff, called Morro (castle) de Castelo Branco. We wanted to see it up closer as we had read that is it full of small caves that seabirds nest in. It is a protected area with some hiking trails with great views.

      We continued north to a place called Varadouro where people have summer holiday houses around a small spa with thermal springs. There were also natural rock pools. These pools were built onto the lava rock boulders and the sea water fills them up. We had fun taking the little paths through the lava rocks to hidden spots. An elderly man told us that he went into the water every day for his daily swim. Brrrr.

      Continuing up the main road, we turned left to go to the Volcao dos Capelinos. On the way, we saw more and more damaged houses, the result of devastating volcanic eruptions in 1957/58.. The volcano erupted approximately 68 years ago, creating a desolate, moonlike landscape. The entire region was leveled and only a lighthouse remained standing.

      We went into the ‘futuristic’ underground visitor center that is also a museum that had a great display about volcanoes and the eruption of the Capelinhos Volcano in particular.
      We climbed the narrow, circular staircase with 114 stairs up to the top of the lighthouse for views of the area.

      Continuing on, we passed even more ruined houses with the roofs of the houses barely peeking out from the high layer of volcanic ashes and cinder.

      We took a narrow side road to a little hamlet, Faja, to a sandy beach below steeply rising bluffs. I believe this area is known to be a good surfing spot.

      The whole trip at the top of the island had magnificent views with towering cliffs and deep gorges. We stopped for a late lunch in a cute restaurant/grocery store with a great view. Fresh catch of the day was on the menu. We got a seafood skewer with octopus, fish, shrimp and vegetables with French fries and a salad and enjoyed the goings on in this small town.

      The rest of the trip on the east side was more of the same but different great views.

      As we neared Horta, we saw the glorious Pico volcano. But then the clouds rolled in and hid her in a matter of minutes. We’ll see lots of her when we are on Pico Island!

      The last place where we stopped was at a statue high on the bluffs over Horta. We had a great view of the harbour below and could even see our little house.

      It was a perfect day trip.
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    • Day 9

      Traghetto per l'isola di Pico

      September 7, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      Imbarchiamo l'auto dopo averla ritirata in aereoporto alla volta dell'isola di Pico.

      L'isola di Pico è la seconda isola più grande dell'arcipelago delle Azzorre , nell'Atlantico settentrionale . Dista 8,3 chilometri dall'isola di Faial e 15 km dall'isola di São Jorge . Ha una superficie di 447 km²; una costa lunga 151,84 km, per un totale di 31 isolotti , grandi e piccoli. Ha una popolazione residente di 14.114 abitanti (nel 2011). Misura 42 km di lunghezza per 20 km di larghezza.

      Deve il suo nome a una maestosa montagna vulcanica, il Monte Pico , che culmina in una vetta pronunciata, Pico Pequeno o Piquinho . Questa è la montagna più alta del Portogallo e la terza montagna più alta che emerge dall'Atlantico, raggiungendo i 2.351 metri sul livello del mare .

      Amministrativamente l'isola è composta da tre comuni : Lajes do Pico e Madalena , entrambi con sei parrocchie , e São Roque do Pico , con cinque parrocchie.

      Dispone, tra le parrocchie di Santa Luzia e Bandeiras , di un moderno aeroporto regionale con collegamenti aerei diretti con Lisbona ( SATA Internacional), Terceira (Lajes) e Ponta Delgada (SATA Air Açores). Ha collegamenti marittimi giornalieri (Atlanticoline) con la città di Horta e le città di Velas e Calheta . Durante i mesi estivi gode di collegamenti marittimi con le restanti isole dell'arcipelago.
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    • Day 15

      Eine Seefahrt, die ist lustig…

      September 25, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Heute mal wieder die Insel gewechselt und mit der Fähre auf die Insel Fajal in den Hauptort Horta geschippert, hoher Wellengang 🌊 inklusive… Aber die Überfahrt dauert ja zum Glück nur 30 Minuten 🛳️ Nach der Ankunft noch ne kurze Runde am Hafen lang spaziert. Hier in Horta treffen sich Segler aus der ganzen Welt im Peter Café Sport und hinterlassen ihre „Signatur“ am Jachthafen.Read more

    • Day 4

      Faial Island

      March 12 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      The Azores islands are one of two independent regions of Portugal (the other being Madeira), located roughly 22600 km or 1000 miles from mainland Portugal. It is a 9-island archipelago that are split into three groups: Eastern (São Miguel, Santa Maria), Central (Terceira, Pico, Faial, São Jorge, Graciosa), and Western (Corvo, Flores). Our focus on this trip was to see three, and maybe four, of the Central islands. My brother and his friends hiked in this area several years ago and enjoyed the experience. Because of his stories, we were extra motivated to see these islands.

      The Azores were discovered in the 14th century and were named ‘açor’, meaning Goshawk, which was a common bird known in that time. The people here can travel either by plane or by ferry to other islands depending on the weather. We knew that we would love visiting these islands as they are full of nature and there is always a bit of an adventure.

      We think that the population of Faial is around 15,038+ in an area of 173.06 square kilometres (66.82 sq mi). The city of Horta itself has a population of about 7,000. The island is 21 km long and 14 km wide, not very big , a little more than half the size of New York City.

      The drive into the town of Horta was quick, 10 minutes, on a windy, well-paved and maintained road. There were hardly any cars and it was an easy drive to the house we rented.

      My first impressions of the area we were in was odd. I kind had a feeling of being disoriented or in an alien culture. Funny thing to say. It was like going into a bit of a time warp back to the 50s? The narrow street that our house was on was full of very old buildings, some renovated and others in ruins. We wondered what it would be like inside.

      Once we entered the two bedroom house, we were pleasantly surprised. It was long and narrow and had modern facilities, including a washing machine and good bathroom. We could have never guessed what it was like inside.

      We walked to a nearby mini mart that had the basics we wanted and friendly staff but it still felt a little eery to me. Madrid to Tercira to Horta. Big difference!

      Across from our street is the ferry terminal and across a strait we could see the giant volcano, Pico, on Pico Island.

      By now we were hungry so went to Peter’s Cafe Sport that has been a Faial island staple for over a century. Sailors passing through the Azores often stop in her to get information, as well as have a rest and a nice meal. We ordered dinner and I sampled some of the cafe’s homemade passion fruit-flavoured gin liqueur produced in the Azores called Gin do Mar, with tonic and lemon slices. So good.
      Peter's restaurant has been mentioned in over thirty novels ... it has a lot of history
      .
      All in all, a day with a good beginning and good ending and a fuzzy middle. Lol.
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    • Day 5

      Sailors’ Paintings on the Harbour’s Wall

      March 13 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

      Horta is the largest city on the island of Faial, which is one of the five central islands of the Azores, and home to half of the island’s residents. It is situated on the eastern side of Faial and faces the island of Pico. In fact, you can get an amazing view of the Pico volcano from most points in Horta.

      The town was ‘started’ by a Flemish nobleman named Josse Van Huerter in 1467 who came through Faial on an expedition, landing at Horta Bay. From there, he built a small chapel which served as the focal point of the community. The name ‘Horta’ is thought to come from his surname. Nonetheless, ‘Horta’ also means ‘orchard’ in Portuguese, which could also be the origin of the town’s name.

      We drove to the old fortress that was built in the 16th Century. Right now a hotel has been built inside it but the old walls are still in good shape.

      We heard a story about hundreds of paintings that decorated the harbours walls. Nobody knows how the painting of the harbor walls first began. But one day, many years ago, the crew of a sailing vessel anchored in the harbor wanted to leave a souvenir of their visit to the island in the docks.

      This first painting was followed by others, gradually occupying the whole sea wall, which has been transformed into a brightly-colored mosaic of drawings recalling the many yachts that have stopped off in the marina.

      A superstition began circulating among residents that vessels which, for one reason or another, failed to leave a record of their presence, would suffer a serious accident.

      So as not to tempt fate, every sailor now uses his brush and paint to sketch a drawing and some words that refer to his vessel or voyage, and a giant mosaic of vivid murals has thus been created over the decades by countless crews.

      We spent at least an hour looking at these paintings and trying to find the ones were from Canada.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Castello de Bom Jesus (historical), Forte do Bom Jesus

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