While I’m in Portugal, I have make some time to go to the Portuguese islands. The flight from Faro via Lisbon to Ponta Delgada on the Azores was affordable, only costing 97€. For one week, I first rented a room in Vila Franca do Campo, the first capital of the island São Miguel since the Portuguese colonization from 1427. After the destruction by an earthquake-related landslide in 1522, in which all 5000 inhabitants died, the capital was moved to Ponta Delgada.
This is a green weather kitchen. The weather changes not only three times a day, but every few kilometers. On my trip along the south coast today from Vila Franca do Campo to Povoação, partly on motorway-like roads, partly on alpine, steep mountain and valley serpentines, I came from the bright sunshine in the subtropical winter with 23°C air temperature into the rain, then fog, again sun with blue sky and later storm and rain, finally to a friendly evening sky with a holiday picture postcard at a pleasant 18°C and dry ground. Besides the predominant green in all shades, the blue of the sky and the Atlantic Ocean and the strong brown in the forests is unusually dominant.
I visited the Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Paz in Vila Franca do Campo. The origin of the chapel is surrounded by a legend of the hermitage from the 16th century. The blue tile paintings, typical of Portugal, decorate the meandering ascent to the chapel, from where, on a clear day, one can enjoy a view over the sea and the country that hardly lets go.
Where churches and other buildings are built of natural stone, the volcanic origin of the Azores is obvious. Black is the building material: basalt, pumice and tuff, even the sandy beaches are black. Huge blocks of lava with bubble surfaces adorn the landscape and are used on the coast to protect against the Atlantic winter storms.
Hot sulphur springs, bubbling, boiling mud pools, fumarole, hissing steam jets from the earth with sometimes foul odours and sulphur brine form a health attraction for spa guests in the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel in Caldeira das Furnas. If you are not deterred by the smell of rotten eggs, you can also drink the brine water. It is said to be especially beneficial for the digestion. The first day was very diversified.