The Azores – Ponta Delgada in Sao Miguel
It was pouring with rain as we slid into harbour at six thirty! Pretty cold in shorts on top deck! But I reckon it’ll get warmer during the day.
The island looked interesting – lit up with street lights. The sky was an interesting pinky colour.
We delayed our going ashore until the rain stopped. It still looked pretty cloudy and we had some concerns regarding seeing the caldera and lakes but we intrepidly strode forth.
Beset by taxi drivers and excursion touters, six of us negotiated a fair price for a tour around the island – to see everything!
We headed for the far end of the island, up the volcano into the cloud and could see bugger all. We then drove down into the caldera to the lakes where the mist cleared a bit but visibility was still miserable. When it started raining, we headed for a church and then a café with coffee and pastel de nata (custard pies).
It stopped raining. The cloud lifted and the sun came out. I was glad I was in shorts as the temperature soared to 19 degrees. The lakes weren’t exactly green and blue, as promised, but they were impressive. It was beautiful.
We headed up out of the caldera, stopped for more views and another lake in another caldera and then hurtled down the road. Our driver Artur, was a bit crazy, screeching tyres around bends, driving on the wrong side of the road and with a habit of sorting his seatbelt out, which involved taking both hands off the steering wheel, when he had got up to speed.
Then, after a drive along the coast and through the countryside, it was back to the other end of the island for more picturesque calderas, lakes and volcanoes, all shrouded with photogenic mist.
Next stop was a geothermal hot spring with coloured waterfalls and fern trees (and hot croaking frogs).
Artur then took us to his village on the coast with an amazing 16th century church (in which he’d got married), fabulous civic square, with bell-tower and huge old trees, brightly painted houses and waves on the Atlantic the size of houses! The rollers were crashing in! He called it Surf City but it was too rough to surf!
Unfortunately you do not get an impression of how big those rollers really were!
We drove back to Ponta Delgada, had a walk round, stopped at a café for wine and pastel de nata and strolled back to the boat!
After our meal there was an announcement! Owing to a storm in the Bay of Biscay (with waves 11 metres high) we were being delayed. We have to divert to Spain and get an extra stop while the storm passes!!
We have an extra day!