Azores & Madeira: Portugal's Unspoiled Archipelagos

Day 06 - Saturday, April 15, 2023 - North Island Discovery Tour – Island Landmarks

After our breakfast at the hotel, we met Henrique and Filipa at 9:00 for a hike to Monte Brasil. There were eight of us who joined this optional walk to the dormant volcano that overlooks the city.

We walked through the town, down to the sea, and then up the steep road to São João Baptista Fort built to protect the harbor in 1432. Hiking to about the midpoint of the park, we enjoyed the serene natural setting of native as well as imported trees, shrubs, and flowers.

The viewpoints from the path to the town of Angra below were spectacular. The trail was well maintained and an easy hike. We spent about 3 hours and then we went back to the city. Lunch was on our own but we had had a pretty big breakfast. We opted for ice cream at the harbor and we watched the boats bobbing in the wind.

At 2:00 we all met in the lobby again and Able took us to the ancient lava vent, Algar do Carvão, located in the central part of the island. The formation of this volcanic archipelago was millions of years ago, but scientists believe this volcano erupted 3,200 years ago with another eruption in the same area 2,000 years ago.

The chamber or vent was huge. We walked down several flights of stairs and then entered the underground cave system left behind after the eruption. There was a heavy cold fog when we entered the vent. By the time we had climbed down to the lower levels, there was condensation and actual rain inside of the chamber. It is not every day that one has an opportunity to descend into a volcano. This was an activity not to be missed.

Our next learning and discovery of the afternoon was to visit the wine region of the northern edge of the island in the parish of Biscoitos. The vineyards are very unusual as the vines are small and enclosed in corals made of black volcanic basalt. The basalt absorbs the heat from the sun and the rock walls protect the vines from the wind and salty air. Biscoitos Verdelho Wines are becoming more popular in Europe, especially in the Iberian Peninsula.

It was almost 6:00 when we reached the hotel. We had an hour to look at photos and work on the journal before going out to dinner with the group at 7:00. Our meal was at Tasca Das Tias, typical Azorean food. Vic and I shared a tomato salad and a plate of shrimp pasta. Both were excellent and by dividing the large portions, we were both more than satisfied.

Tomorrow is a travel day; we fly to São Miguel, the largest of the islands of the Azores Archipelago.

Accommodations: Hotel Azoris Angra Garden - - - Meal: B & D

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Azores & Madeira: Portugal's Unspoiled Archipelagos
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My favorite picture was the one of the two of you as cave dwellers! Looks like a fun trip!

Denise Gard   April 19, 2023 - 5:03am

Sounded like a very unusual and fun day. Wish I was there with you .Lovely country.

Sylvia Emmons   April 16, 2023 - 11:12pm

I am really enjoying learning about going into a volcano and your experience there. Great pics again!

Joyce Witte   April 16, 2023 - 4:16pm

Exciting volcano tour! How were the wines? The small corrals don't seem to have too many vines at the moment. Looking forward to seeing the next island.

Carol Larson   April 16, 2023 - 1:00am

It sounds like you had your own Journey to the Center of the Earth adventure!

Susan Phillips   April 15, 2023 - 11:14pm
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Monte Brasil

Monte Brasil

São João Baptista Fort

São João Baptista Fort

Algar do Carvão

Algar do Carvão

Cave Dwellers

Cave Dwellers

Biscoitos Verdelho Vineyards

Biscoitos Verdelho Vineyards

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Day 13: Azores & Madeira: Portugal's Unspoiled Archipelagos

Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.

The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.

Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...

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