Friday, July 14, 2006



The Portuguese discovered the Azores islands of Santa Maria and São Miguel in the beginning of the 15th century. Actually during the year of 1427 Gonçalo Velho Cabral, a navigator in the service of Prince Henry and a knight of the Order of Christ, brought cattle to Santa Maria and was later its captain-donee. Due to its strategic position, the archipelago (Santa Maria, São Miguel, Terceira, Pico, Faial, São Jorge, Graciosa, Flores and Corvo) was to become an important waypoint on the main routes between Europe, the Orient and America during 16th and 17th centuries. In São Miguel settlement seems to have started in 1444. The Islands are a real gem, and its beauty can be enjoyed at a very interesting site called «Beautiful Azores» with many and beautiful photos (hope the Author doesn't mind to be linked from here).



São Miguel - the Green Island - is the largest island in the archipelago of the Azores, with an area of 759.41 km2: 65 km length and a maximum width of 16 km. There are two volcanic massifs and three large craters (Sete Cidades, Fogo and Furnas), which have wonderful lakes of crystal-clear water. The island is situated at 250º30' West and 370º50' North.



"PONTA DELGADA is the largest city in all Azores. This hotel no longer exists, but its terrace had a nice view over the city, the bay and the port. However, it seems there are new hotels in the area also with very nice views. The white and black tower of the church is an interesting feature of the downtown area"

"MARGINAL - The «Marginal» road in Ponta Delgada is a very nice strolling spot. Hope they have imploded the awful tower seen on the left of the picture..."

"PORTAS DA CIDADE - The city gates are a must"

"ANTERO - Ponta Delgada is also a cultural centre. It honours here one of its most prominent citizens: the poet Antero de Quental"

"QUALITY OF LIFE - In São Miguel you'll be able to find some of the best pineapples in the world.
Quite close to Ponta Delgada downtown area we visited some friends and had the sweetest pineapple ever tasted (forget Dole and the Hawaii), directly cut from the plantation!"



"LAGOA DO FOGO is the most beautiful and the best preserved of the lagoons in São Miguel. It is also the one situated at the highest level on the island. Amazingly, on Blake and Mortimer's «Atlantis Mystery», São Miguel is one of the exits of Atlantis; it should be somewhere around the Lagoa do Fogo. You do not find Atlantis there, but very nice pictures of Lagoa do Fogo at the site Azoren"

"CALOURA - Village of Água de Pau, showing the famous Caloura Convent (the large building on the right hand side), where the image of the Saint Christ of the Miracles - given by the Pope to the people of São Miguel - was kept. Now, it seems they built a resort around the corner"



"LAGOA - Furnas is a stratovolcano and is made up of two caldeiras which date back to approximately 30,000 years ago. The lagoon has a grassy and sandy beach good for bird watching. The soil below the surface at the northern part of the lake is so hot, that you can cook your meal in small wells. The local delicacy of Furnas is Cozido, a beef stew. Some, probably less familiar with gourmet delicacies, may say it is a tourist trap; however, if you are not caught in the tourist circle, and find the right connections, you'll enjoy it"

"FUMEROLLES - The volcanoes in Furnas are very active. The first known eruption was in 1440; the second was in 1630 and caused 200 deaths. Furnas is also famous for its springs and geysers. In the village, the area around Furnas has thirty springs, each of which has a different temperature and chemical composition. There is also a hot river which flows through the village"

"PARQUE TERRA NOSTRA - In the middle of the old town there is an exotic botanical garden - the Park Terra Nostra. It may be a paradise for walkers, birdwatchers and flower lovers. The gardens are really worth the trip"

"POOL - The swimming pool at Furnas, in front of the Thomas Hickling's House the first American Consul in the Azores is huge. The water of the pool is warm and its depth is only about one and half meter. There are also installations of hydrotherapy in the park, which were built in the 19th century"



"SETE CIDADES ("Seven Cities") is one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world, with two lagoons in the centre of a volcanic crater. The lagoons are roughly 5 km in length and about 1 to 2 km in width. Looking from the edge of the crater - Vista do Rei (King's view, as it was the place where King Carlos from Portugal saw the lagoon), 500 meters high - one lagoon looks green (reflecting the ground - Lagoa Verde) and the other looks blue (reflecting the sky - Lagoa Azul). According to a legend, the lagoons were created by the tears shed by a princess and her lover, a young shepherd, when they had to say farewell to each other. The different colours of the lagoons match the colours of their eyes"

"SUN AND SHADE - Down the hill, getting to the water"




"FAREWELL - Mosteiros, a nice place to say goodbye to São Miguel"


Indrani said...

ok this is a volcanic crater. Nice pics, informative too.

Trotter said...

OK, Touché! I'll check the meteor craters...