Since February 23rd I am now stuck on Santa Maria and have made myself comfortable in my little holiday home in the countryside. Portugal ordered restrictions early to contain the COVID 19 pandemic. This also applies to the Azores, of course. Passenger traffic, even between the islands, has been suspended for weeks, only supply deliveries. Nevertheless, everything is running smoothly on this island, which has so far been COVID-19-free. The lock-down is rather a slow-down of the people living here quite contemplatively anyway. Nothing is missing and there are no hamster purchases. After more than a week of continuous rain and storm today is the first nice day I use for a hiking trip to the southeast coast of the island. Beside urgent errands, sports and walks alone are allowed. A mild spring day. The air is crystal clear. One has the feeling that every breath fills the lungs twice. The green is even stronger and more differentiated than before. The southeast coast seems to me more attractive, wilder and steeper than the other parts of the island I have seen so far. The lighthouse, Farol de Gonçalo Velho, forms a landmark with the fascination of morbid charm of past seafaring times, history and tradition. Maia is a picturesque community that offers, beside the lighthouse, beautiful houses in the typical Azorean style, also the waterfall Cascata do Aveiro that falls more than 100 metres from the coastal rocks into a small lake and feeds a small brook interrupted by cascades that after a few hundred metres flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s nice to go outside again.
Finally, there was time for a short detour to Farolim da Ponta do Norte in the north of the island. The scenery is stunning there as well.
I celebrate the evening with my Santa Maria Lockdown dinner of the day: Italian tagliatelle verde alio olio con peperoncino di pomodoro e prosciutto cotto parmigiano with a drop of Portuguese regional red wine 2015 O malhadinhas from Terras de cister. Bom apetite e à nossa saúde!