Azores & Madeira: Portugal's Unspoiled Archipelagos

Day 09 - Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - Gorreana Tea Plantation; Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas

This morning as we were waking up, we saw two large cruise ships coming into the port. We could hear the ship’s horns and see the multitude of big busses lining up and ready to take the passengers on tours of the islands.

At 9:00 Sandro met us with the small bus to take us to the 6th generation, family owned Gorreana Tea Plantation, since 1883. Sara and Magdalena’s family are producing over 44 tons of tea annually on 32 acres of land.

Henrique knows the family well and acted as our guide. He explained that the flat-topped rectangular rows of tea bushes were harvested by a cutting machine, not handpicked leaves as we have seen in Asia.

We began the production tour with the steaming machine, then grinding, sorting, drying, and finally packaging. Our last stop was the tasting room and gift shop. Henrique bought us a special cookie made from tea called a Bogangas.

After another short drive, we hiked to the top of the Pico do Ferro overlook. We could see the Caldeiras da Lagoa das Furnas below. This crater boasted a beautiful lake, volcanic hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pools. The azaleas in this area are blossoming as the vibrant pink, red, and white colors make any of our photos a work of art.

The small town of Furnas brings many tourists to the eastern part of São Miguel Island. Our first stop was to the Caldeiras da Lagoa where we saw the thermal activity in the mud pots and bubbling thermal waters. There were boardwalks so we could walk around the area safely. It reminded us of a mini-Yellowstone.

When Henrique called us, we all went over to the cooking area where 6 hours earlier, a huge almost ten-gallon kettle had been placed into a hole in the hot earth. Jim from Cape Cod volunteered to work with the representative from Tony’s Restaurant to retrieve our lunch from under the ground.

With lunch being transported to the restaurant, we followed behind in the bus to the village of Furnas and we walked to Tony’s. We were served a delicious brea and then plates of our steaming cozido were brought to the table.

Almost like a boiled dinner, our cozido contained beef, chicken, pork, chorizo and blood sausage. The vegetables were cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, carrots and taro root. The stew was served with rice and then a slice of pineapple or a passion fruit pudding for dessert.

After lunch we walked to the Terra Nostra Park also in Furnas where we changed into our bathing suits for a soak in the mineral-enriched thermal pool. The mustard-colored waters were so rich in iron that the soak was guaranteed to take years off our lives. Although the warm 100 to 105 degrees waters were very relaxing, no one in our group seemed to have been rejuvenated when we got out.

We made another stop for a walk in a beautiful rain forest that brought back memories of our time in Australia and New Zealand. It was after 5:30 when we got back to the hotel and picked up our clean laundry.

The journal and all of the photos from our day beckoned. We also had to pack for our early morning flight. Bags have to be out at 6:30 and we will leave the island of São Miguel on a 8:40 am flight to Madeira.

Accommodations: Hotel Marina Atlantico - - - Meal: B & D

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Azores & Madeira: Portugal's Unspoiled Archipelagos
Henrique da Camara


Hi, you two. The "caldeira" adventure and the soak in mud--THAT is cool! Or hot, whatever... We are so happy you are travelilng again. OAT gives such wonderful experiences to its travelers. Who would have thought you would have partaken of a meal cooked underground? That's novel :-) Will graduates from J-D HS on May 28, Eero is close behind...and Esme..not so much :-) Love and Seattle thoughts, Susie and Bob

Susie Dersé   April 19, 2023 - 3:28pm

Great pics! I live your descriptions too. What a cool trip!

Denise Gard   April 19, 2023 - 5:01am

Your quick visit to this island was well worth it! Beautiful, historic, and interesting!

Carol Larson   April 19, 2023 - 3:41am

Great pictures and all so interesting. Thanks for the food picture. I don't think it was something I would have liked but one never knows. Was the water muddy in the springs? It looks brown. The plantation is so green. Thanks for your post. Love you.

Dee Sloan   April 19, 2023 - 1:21am

You are getting to have such a variety of experiences! I would have enjoyed seeing the tea plantation and eating the meal that was cooked underground.

Susan Phillips   April 18, 2023 - 9:26pm
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Gorreana Tea Plantation

Gorreana Tea Plantation

Pico do Ferro Overlook

Pico do Ferro Overlook

Jim Digging Up Lunch

Jim Digging Up Lunch

Cozido das Furnas

Cozido das Furnas

Terra Nostra Hot Pool

Terra Nostra Hot Pool

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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...

Continue Reading Day 13  

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