Wednesday, 2 May 2018

the azores: ponta delgada

 I honestly thought I had blogged about my trip to the Azores when it happened last May, but it turns out I haven't. So get ready for lots of Azores pictures and posts! My friend Camilla and I spent a few days on the São Miguel Island, which is the largest of the islands. And it was such an amazing time in such a gorgeous place.

 Before going to the Azores, I knew next to nothing about it. I just knew it was a part of Portugal and that it was meant to be really pretty. With flights from Lisbon only being around £20 at times it didn't make sense not to go. And I'm so glad I did - the time on the island was one of my favourite times I spent in Portugal. Although, I now know that the Azores are actually an autonomous region and is distinct from mainland Portugal. There's nine major islands and the Formigas Reef (and I'd love to start going there every summer to explore all of them, which isn't really a very realistic thing for me, but still). Since I recently mentioned how I love mottos, this is the one from the Azores: "Antes morrer livres que em paz sujeitos." ("Rather die as free men than be enslaved in peace.") I thought that was lovely. Even though I wasn't too familiar with the Azores I had thought the main industry would be tourism, but it turns out agriculture - mainly dairy farming - and fishing are still more prominent. There's a lot of cows and sheep and fields, as well as pineapple farms everywhere, which gives the place a charming, almost old-fashioned feel. It's a really stupid way of describing it, but I think what I told my mum was that to me it kind of felt like what life was like over here 20-30 years ago. In a very good way. The one thing I was completely right about is how pretty it all is as well. The temperatures are moderate all year round and since it's in the middle of the Atlantic it does rain a lot (so you can visit whenever, but summers are probably the warmest and driest) which results in it being so green. São Miguel is literally called "the Green Island".

These pictures are from Ponta Delgada, so you can't really see the natural beauty of São Miguel, but you get to see that even though it is a small capital (with a population of about 69000) there's a lot to see and do. There's plenty of churches and convents to visit, it has a few museums, gardens and, of course, the marinas. The Portas da Cidade are worth walking by and hard to miss if you are in the city anyway. We weren't staying quite in the centre of Ponta Delgada and therefore got to see a lot of lovely little colourful houses, pretty street art and other cute areas on our walks to the city. There's lots of places to eat along the main street and in the centre, but my favourite in Portugal in general as well as at the Azores was always trying to find places that the locals frequent at and that are perhaps a bit on the side alleys and off the beaten track. Then again, a lot of the food on the islands is quite naturally fish and seafood (which I don't like/eat), but you'll find other things, too. And trying the Azorean pineapple is a must - most places serve it on its own or as some kind of dessert!

Honestly, I could talk about the Azores and how much I loved it there all the time. So you can be sure to get more posts of me gushing about it this month!



Corinne said...

How could you forget to blog about such a lovely place?

Corinne x

Laura Jones said...

Corinne - i know, right! seems i have a sieve for a brain, hun, haha. xx

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