I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but the things we’ve seen on Azores often defied belief! This is our attempt at recording the breathtaking experiences from a small volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
After a 3-day bad weather spell which closed the airport (air strip), we had the luck of just flying in pretty bumpy (instead of being diverted back).
On our way there, we flew over many other islands from the archipelago, some of which we even saw occasionally through the low clouds. Here is the volcano on the Pico island. And when I say ‘volcano on the island’, I actually mean that the volcano is the whole island. It’s one of few vine-growing regions in Azores, so you can see vine growing all the way up the volcano.
Flores is… breathtaking. To put it mildly. We nicknamed it ‘the island of waterfalls’. Let’s start with the disappearing Poço Do Bacalhau waterfall, just above our house, where wind turns the crashing stream of water into drizzle over the village. And yes, it’s odd seeing a 300 meter waterfall just as you open your bedroom window in the morning.
Everything here is stunning, even ordinary things. Case in point, this little farm, sitting alone above the sea. And this is the road leading to that farm (photo below), which is a home to just a few cows. Covered in rose petals, it looks as if it’s waiting for some princess to pass through. We drove all the way down just to make sure a luxurious hotel wasn’t hiding there somewhere. It wasn’t. Just a few cows.
Starting upon this stone path, which reeked of Indiana Jones movies, we didn’t know what to expect. Probably a waterfall?
As we climbed, the forest turned into a clearing and we saw first peeks of what turned into and endless cascade of Riba do Ferreiro waterfalls pouring into Lagoa dos Patos. I started counting them and… quit after 20, when I realized many waterfalls split into smaller ones on their downhill race to the lake.
As we were leaving, we run into another disappearing waterfall… or in this case, circulating. The wind was blowing it sideways into a slanting rock which diverted it upward, creating a full circle of water.
Here’s a series dedicated to the might of Atlantic ocean. Shot in Fajã Grande, westernmost European settlement… with a few waterfalls to the side, of course. Because, why not?
And this volcanic pebble beach (below)… those pebbles are the size of basketballs! (Which makes the waves 3 meters high, yes.)
Next day, the wind and waves were just as unrelenting.
Each village has a viewpoint like this, this one overlooking Fajãzinha. The village sits on a river formed by all those majestic waterfalls seen hiding just beneath the clouds.
Higher parts of the island were always reliably under fog and clouds, without exception. We were told it should clear by July. Probably.
Another one of those village viewpoints, or miradouros. This one over Ponta Delgada. (not to be confused with other Ponta Delgadas on other islands)
Roads were beautiful, empty and pure joy to drive around. It’s a shame our car couldn’t keep up — the clutch was half burnt out from steep ascents all over the island and the engine wasn’t feeling too well either.
Time to leave Flores. After being closed for further two days, the airport opened just in time for us to fly off to the São Miguel island, part of the eastern group. After a bit of island-hopping (plane acts as a local bus on Azores), we arrived to Ponta Delgada. A different Ponta Delgada.
São Miguel is much more populated than Flores and also more mellow regarding climate and relief — but it still has relatively wild weather, high volcanic activity and steep cliffs by European standards. Below is one of the volcanic lakes, Lagoa das Furnas, which includes sulphur fumes and boiling springs. They can cook your dinner in them, or you can slowly simmer yourself, whichever you prefer. We tried the latter and left beautifully bronzed.
We stayed in the Capelas village, which had a beautifully dramatic coastline and charming streets. (And terrible restaurants, all three of them.)
Lagoa do Fogo, a lake we were lucky enough to see. They told us that most of the days in the year it’s too foggy here to see anything.
Ahhhh… Nothing like surfing at dusk on a black sand volcanic beach in Mosteiros, with whales and dolphins never far away…
We’ll end this part of the story with a few shots of the Atlantic ocean, and pick it up in Lisbon…
Back to Azores wedding photographer…