Sunday, September 21, 2014

Trilho Da Levada - Faial

During our stay on the island of Faial we rented a quaint and lovely cottage - our hosts Roland and Iris are fabulous!  Roland, invited us to join him and the 3 dogs for a walk along the Trilho Da Levada.  What a lovely area! quite literally, we were walking in the clouds, through tunnels, in forest, in cow fields and along narrow bridges.  The change of landscape along the entire walk was amazing!
The tunnels are pitch black - Roland had a head lamp to guide us through... we literally walked through a mountain.  You can hear the relaxing sound of water all along the walk, see amazing flora and listen to the birds.  It was quite lovely, we only did a part of the trail, mind you that was 2 hours long... you can do much more.  We stopped when we reached the landslide area - after the 1998 earthquake part of the landscape gave way down the slopes - surprisingly, it is part of the trail.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Muhler de Capote - Liqueur Factory

What a wonderful highlight of the holiday.  Visiting the Liqueur factory in Ribeira Grande, on Sao Miguel.  It was founded in 1993 and uses all the natural resources of the Azores to create its liqueurs.

I was so thrilled to see how things were made and have a sampling of the natural fruit liqueurs and brandys.

The main products: “Ezekiel`s” Passion Fruit Liqueur (a milestone in the history and culinary traditions of the Azores and winner of six gold medals for its international quality), “Queen of the Islands” Cream Liqueur, a high quality Anisette Liqueur and variety of natural fruit liqueurs of the Azores Islands - the Passion Fruit Brandy is amazing!

 One minor downfall of "back packing" we didn't have room to bring back some of the larger sized items that are bottled in handmade ceramic bottles that represent the Azores :(   These were gorgeous! Don't worry though, we did bring back some smaller bottles to remind us of our tasting tour, they're just not in these amazing ceramic bottles.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lagoa do Fogo - Lagoon of Fire

Lagoa do Fogo - Lagoon of Fire,  is a crater lake within the Agua de Pau stratovolcano in the center of the island of São Miguel Island.  To reach the lake... you drive to the top,  park your car and then one must hike down the trail to the lake and then back up again.  The government does not allow any construction around this lake - Thank Goodness!! Truly amazing views from the top and the landscape is truly unspoilt.

Drive up - you can just make out the town of Logoa in the distance
the inner Caldera of Agua de Pau (stratovolcano),

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Poca Da Dona Beija: Perfect way to relax at the end of the day

 Poca Da Dona Beija, Furnas, Sao Miguel, Azores

I found the fountain of youth - so to speak!

The Poça da Dona Beija, also known as "Poça da Juventude" ("Youth Pools") is located in the valley of Furnas, in an area known as "Zona das Águas Quentes".

Poça da Dona Beija is part of a set of iron rich hot springs connected to the volcanic phenomena in the valley of Furnas.  Its formation comes from the  existing underground thermal aquifers and average temperatures can reach 39º C (102º F).

On site there is a natural hot spring within a cave, which supplies the water for the two pools,  part of the stream, which holds a removable floodgate, allows a mixture of hot and cold water.

It's perfect for relaxing at the end of the day.  We enjoyed an hour of relaxation after a full day of touring around.  The iron rich water, according to popular belief, is good for treating skin problems. I felt wonderful afterwards, I believe there is some sort of health benefit to the pools. 

The facilities there are amazing - but a warning - take an old bathing suit! The iron rich water turns your bathing suit orange and it will not wash out. 


Saturday, September 06, 2014

Ceramica Viera on Sao Miguel Island

We had an amazing private tour of the Ceramica Viera on Sao Miguel - I loved it - wish I could have packed up an entire crate and shipped it home!

Everything is hand made and hand painted.  Just beautiful!