Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our time in Horta

So sorry to everyone about being so out of touch.  Internet access has been difficult.  It is everywhere and free but so jammed with users that you often have a great signal and still can't get online.

Mathias trying to skype  at an outdoor cafe, he had to move away from us so he could hear, the only reliable wifi is at a cafe, but not too much privacy.

One of the traditions in Horta is for boats to paint their boat name on the sea walls in the marina, for good luck.  There are some really amazing and intricate designs, its just cool to see all the boats that have come through the town and what you see represents only the past few years, as they erode pretty quickly.

Carol painted our boat name for us, using paint she found around the Marina, so happens she found green paint, like Dolphins' hull. Pretty sweet.  Thanks Carol!

On our second to last day we finally rented a car and got to see some of the island.  The climate here in the Azores is very changeable, you can wake to fog and overcast skies and then it moves to bright sunshine and back to cloud cover at the end of the day.  On our day out it was all of the above.  We drove around the exterior shoreline of the island and then went to the center to see the giant Caldera, which is the hollow bowl where a volcano erupted about 400 years ago, all the islands have these, as they are all volcanic, like the Hawaii of the Atlantic.  Unfortunately the cloud cover so so dense we couldn't see anything.  This is what is it looks like (taken from the internet):
It should have a lagoon at the bottom but when another volcano on the island erupted in 1957/8 it created fissures that leached the water out, so it is dry now most of the time.

The Caldera is in the center of the island and we were able to see the beautiful scenery and typical farms with a few cows and vegetables.

I loved all the cows, these two were particularly cute.

This old gal wouldn't get out of the road until we slowed way down and let her amble over to her farm gate.

The island is so fertile, it must be the volcanic infused soil, the wild flowers were really gorgeous and the roads and farms were lined with hedges of hydrangea.

Here are some pix of the volcano that erupted 60 odd years ago.  The call the volcanic rocks "black gold" and make everything from jewelry to flagstones to park benches out of the stuff.

Some volcanic swimming holes at the edge of the sea.


We could have stayed another 2 weeks at least, but we were excited to get to Sao Miguel (pix from here tomorrow).

Horta harbor from above.

Pico Mountain, on the neighboring island of Pico, its huge - 7,713 feet high and dominates the view from the harbor, its peak is often hidden in the clouds, but on our last day I was able to get a shot of peak uncloaked.

Our last meal in one of the many seaside cafes.

Mathias indulging in his 5th order of blood sausage - yuk!

Next stop LISBON!


abbot said...

what's that mug, 'bout a half gallon ?

gives a whole new meaning to the term "gigando" ....


Mathias and Jen Dubilier said...

Ha! Yes, the beer comes in half-litres. Love that metric system. And the wine only comes in bottles. So after I have my two beers, I have to help Jennifer with her wine.

And I thought the land was moving under my feet because of boat head. Hmm, maybe it's the metric system.

jeffy said...

Holy crap guys...looks just amazing so far.
....I need to get out of my apartment...