Drive to Miradouro do Pico da Barrosa, and view of Lagoa de Fogo
So our second day here was just lovely. Luckily we both slept about 12 hours the night before and we were ready to start exploring this really amazing and beautiful island. We knew we had a scheduled tour at 2pm so we got out knowing that we were a little time limited. But its a small island and we kept our sights realistic. Breakfast and coffee are included in our hotel. So nice to be able to just sit and relax in the morning and drink my latte.
We drove up into the mountains not that far towards Lago De Fogo. Hard to describe the scenery but David has done a good job with pictures. The first thing we noticed is that Hydangeas grow everywhere along the road. Not native to his island they were brought here many years ago from Japan and have flourished like weeds. Although we are a little past season many are still in bloom. We understand that in May and June they are abundant. You can see some pictures here. They are also part of the hedges that separate the cow fields. Beef and dairy cows are a large part of the island. I wonder how the cows manage to stay upright when many times they are on steep places on the hillsides. Some of the landscape reminds me a bit of Ireland- there they had rock walls and sheep. Here it is hedges and cows. But the patchwork quilt look is the same and very beautiful.
We drove up to Lago De Fogo pictured below. Because the island is made from volcanos there are craters and lakes. This is one of the big ones and the first one we have gotten to. We hiked to the top of the overlook which you can see in the picture of us below. Our white Peugot is also below. We were supposed to have a Smart car which we were looking forward to driving but when we arrived they didn't have any. So we have this but it is a standard which is not as easy to drive. Roads are good here and most cars are small which is more typical of Europe, not America. No SUV's.
Caldeira Velha Hot Springs
After driving to the lake we continued onto these springs. You can see me in both the cooler one under the fall and the hotter one. I had already changed back when we went to the hot one. Since we were time limited we didn't stay long but there are several others springs we will be visiting later this week so I wasn't concerned. The picture in the middle is a spring of boiling water- and yes I did touch it to make sure. These are all natural springs coming from the lakes and heated by the volcanic temperatures. I think that they are also able to use Geo-thermal for power here as well.
We had been offered a free Walking tour of Ponta Delgado on our package so we had decided to do that. We are not usually one for tours but this was nice. We were the only ones on the tour with our very nice and friendly guide Bernardo pictured below with me. He took us on a 2 hour walk through the old city pointing our many of the sites- churches, old homes and such. We also went up a tower that showed the whole city pictured below. It was hot and he kept us moving the whole time. We ended up at the City Farmer' Market that has pretty much anything and then to the cheese shop where Bernardo knows the owner and arranged for cheese tasting. After our tour we left Bernardo and had a break at a cafe. We ate Grilled Limpets and Drank Kami- Kami is a passionfruit soda. Local and very refreshing. Limpets are similar to clams. They were grilled with tons of garlic and lemon. Yummy.
We came back to the hotel then and were happy to see that they were going to have a barbecue buffet that night. That was nice since we were tired and this meant we didn't have to go out. After a rest and a swim we had dinner and called it a night.
As I sit here writing this block the sound of the ocean waves is a constant soothing sound. As we are right at the beach this sound is always with us. It is meditative and I think must be lowering my blood pressure. Much better than any sound machine it is with us whenever we are here. Such a wonderful sound. Tomorrow off for more.