Ribeira do Carvalhal

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2 travelers at this place
  • Day18

    Ferry to Faial

    May 7, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Days don’t get much better than this. Carpe diem!

    We took an 8 am ferry over to the island of Faial, a short 30 minute hop, where the sun shone all day and the views back over our island with its big volcano were amazing.

    We spent the day at two volcano sites, one recent (1958) (we could see orange roof tiles popping up from the ashes, a small whaling village was destroyed), and the other one hundreds of years ago with a huge green crater. And then just driving around, the island’s perimeter is only 50 km so we could deviate from the main circular road a lot. We have learned that whenever a sign points you towards a “miradouro” (scenic lookout), take the turn!

    And now here we sit out on our balcony with a glass of Douro wine, a view of the ocean, and listening to the waves crashing. Clouds are rolling in with a vengeance, so tomorrow might not be quite as perfect as today.
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    Tina Colombo

    Sounds lovely! Can we come with you next time?

  • Day15

    On the island of Pico

    May 4, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    By 10:30 am, we were in our rental car and driving around the island of Pico. Volcano in the middle and lava flows everywhere. Our hotel is amazing, Aldeia da Fonte. Five old village houses turned into a hotel “complex”. Right on the water, lots of walking paths.

    Weather was a little bit of everything-cloudy, rainy, and then spectacularly sunny.
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    Tina Colombo

    Yay for sun! Sounds lovely!

  • Day20


    May 9, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Today we visited the north side of the island, just as beautiful as the south. We went to a second whaling museum, this one located in the old factory where the whale was turned into oil, vitamins, flour, and manure — all in one place. Post-industrial fabulous. The only parts of the whale that were not used were its heart and intestines. Those were rowed out to sea and dumped in the ocean, but they inevitably wound their way back to shore, bringing a huge stink with them.

    But the afternoon was for the real whales — we saw a bunch of sperm whales, whose tails flip up when they dive and it is beautiful. And the dolphins, must have been about 30 dolphins all leaping in unison. It was really something. And I now have an answer to the question — When was the last time you did something for the first time?

    I did not bother to try to catch fleeting glimpses of whales and porpoises with my phone camera. Much more enjoyable to just watch.
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    Tina Colombo

    Whale flour???

    Laurie Reynolds

    Flour ground up from the bones. It was used as fertilizer on the fields, and then ground up with whale meat as food for the animals. I don’t think anyone made bread out of it!

    Tina Colombo

    Ok I feel much better now!

  • Day19

    No whale-watching today!

    May 8, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    We woke up to rain and wind, and no surprise, our whale-watching trip was cancelled. They re-booked us for tomorrow afternoon, fingers crossed. Staying with the whaling theme, we went to the whaling museum and saw a fascinating documentary. Pico was the last place on the planet where they still went out in a small boat with about 8 men to harpoon whales. The movie was filmed in 1970 and shows it all, start to bloody finish. Pretty amazing feat of courage, no matter what you think of the practice itself. The year harpooning stopped, about 1987, a German man opened up Pico’s first whale-watching business, employing many of the men who would no longer be hunting whales.

    The rest of the day alternated between foggy/windy/rainy and occasional bursts of sun. We got out and walked whenever we could, lots of empty country lanes near the ocean. Nothing but grape vines, bright green fields, and cows. All in all, not a bad day, finished off with a trip to the pretty basic fitness center.
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  • Day17

    Loving Pico island

    May 6, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

    So far, not much rain, and even one whole day of sun! We have walked and walked, along the coast and up high near the volcano. Today we took a long guided walk through a “lava tube”, formed about 1500 years ago when the volcano erupted and some of the lava pushed out sideways. Very different from your average cave. Joe was almost the oldest person to have ever walked through, but last year an 82-year old did it. It was a very difficult rocky path, no lights, slippery, but he made it!

    The vineyards are a UNESCO world heritage site. The vines are all in very small handmade rock enclosures, built hundreds of years ago. The vines grow right on the lava. I have never seen anything like it.

    In a little chapel to Our Lady of Compassion I lit a bunch of (electric) candles on the theory that we could all use a little compassion. Very nice place for some reflection.
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Ribeira do Carvalhal