Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday May 4, 2015

Today we visited the Azores, specifically Punta Delgado on the island of São Paulo. The Azores are an archipelago of 13 islands located 700 miles from the mainland of Portugal. 

The island of São Paulo is known as the "Green Island" and it truly is lush and well foliated (I think I just coined a word). We were very lucky with the weather as it rains here quite a bit but not today. Today it was mostly sunny with a high temperature in the upper sixties.

Used the selfie stick for this one!

We signed up for one of the tours offered by the cruise ship. Taking a tour with a cruise ship involves a whole procedure in and of itself. First there are the incessant infomercials on the ship's TV. Once you've signed up, you have to go to the theater where you will wait in line to get assigned a bus. Then you sit for what can be a long time but today wasn't too long for your bus number to be called. Then it's more waiting in line to get off the ship, the inevitable competition for the 'best' bus seats and the introduction by the local tour guide who may or may not speak English very well. Today's guide spoke English fairly well. Not great but not horrible either.

Waiting for our bus number to be called

Headed for the bus

First stop was a pineapple "plantation" which consisted of a group of maybe twenty greenhouses. 

The plants are grown under glass because the air temperature is inadequate for the pineapple plant's needs. The climate here is Mediterranean, that is it never gets colder than fifty nor much hotter than eighty. Pineapples in order to ripen need temperatures in the nineties.

Portuguese pineapple!

More driving through green fields, past volcanic rock walls and Friesan cows to our second stop -- Sete Cidades. This scenic lookout was quite crowded 

but featured a fine view of two lakes
as well as a village and forested hillsides all within a collapsed volcano.

Our final stop on the tour was a pleasant but not particularly well labeled or maintained botanical garden back in town. 
Portuguese slackers in botanical park

We returned to the boat for lunch (too much mediocre pizza) and went out again after lunch. We walked around the town, bought some stuff (any stuff! It hardly mattered after a week of cruise ship shopping!) and used some free wifi.

Portuguese fly (it was very big)

Impressions? Well, I would say that the Azores were nicer than I expected. 

It was good to get off the bus as I said. The birds, traffic, trees, flowers, sirens and airplanes-- you miss all sorts of things on the "high seas". I certainly did not expect the island to be so agricultural nor did I expect to see so many (that is any) cows. The island appeared more prosperous than I had thought it would also. 

Russell says he doesn't need to come back, not enough to do for him but as for me I am not so sure. I could come back and probably find enough to do here for a few days, perhaps a week.

Russell wanted to remove this Swiss gentleman's toupee but he managed to control himself!

1 comment:

  1. Great pix! I didn't know much about the Azores and loved reading your descriptions. That style of tile pavement is in Lisbon as well as in Rio de J.

    And I'm proud of Russell for not removing the rug...