Wednesday, May 11, 2016

caldera and cervejas....

Leslie here (I can't get my google account to sign in on this computer so I'm posting using Brad's accout).

After a great night's sleep, we got a pretty early start today (for me at least).  We woke up just after 7 and headed out to a nearby cafe for a quick breakfast of a croissant, ham and local cheese.  And a couple of coffees (of course).

We then called the cab driver we met at the airport and took a cab to the start of our 11 km hike to Sete Cidades on the Mata do Canario.  Brad was pretty glad not to be driving as we zipped up some winding switchbacks at breakneck pace.  Our cab driver pulled over a couple of times along the way to let us take photos and explained the scenery to us.

As we got closer to the start point of the hike, the weather got quite a bit more cloudy, and I started to worry a little bit about whether the weather would hold.

We had some reason to be concerned, as where we were dropped off, we found ourselves literally in the middle of a cloud.  Not to be deterred, we set off on the first portion of the hike (about 150m climb uphill) literally only being able to see about 50m around us.  We kept climbing until we reached the top of the mountain peak....and still nothing.  So we sat back and relaxed for about half an hour, hoping the weather would clear.  It didn't, so we trudged on ahead. 

It turns out, the main problem was that the clouds were really hanging around the peak of the mountain.  As soon as we descended a bit along the other side, we were able to see quite well - and looking back throughout the hike, we never were able to the very peak of the mountain.

And it was totally worth the wait.

We soon found ourselves in the midst of the most incredible scenery - we walked along the crest of a long dormant volcano caldera - we had the ocean on one side, and a sheer drop with a beautiful lake and picturesque small town on the other.  Gorgeous scenery, and a very peaceful hike.

The last km of the trail was a pretty steep descent into the small town of Sete Cidades.  We quickly located the town's only bar, where we had some well-earned pints of Especial, some grilled chorizo and a sandwich.  Fantastic experience.

We then cabbed back to Ponta Delgada, and our cab driver was kind enough to pull over once again for a quick photo op.  I snapped this pic on my phone, and it does a good job of showing the caldera we walked around.  What you can't see is that on the other side of the caldera, it's a pretty steep drop down to the ocean.  So gorgeous and I highly recommend it.

For dinner, we met up with my co-worker Eric and his friends (when Eric told me he was planning a trip to the Azores and it exactly coincided with our trip, we immediately made plans to meet up for a drink).  We had dinner and drinks tonight at a place called Taberna Acor and had a great time. Great company and good times had by all.  :)  With the requisite selfie, bien sur.

We're pretty pooched from all the walking today (25 000 steps, according to my phone) so we've made plans to go on a jeep tour of Furnas tomorrow.  :)

1 comment:

  1. That green is just simply unbelievable! I suspect only volcanic rock can produce such incredible shades!