Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why you should visit the Azores

Today I woke up to find that it is going to snow. Again. Today, tomorrow and Sunday. It has snowed over 96 inches in the last 22 days. Before that it had been the best winter. There had been no snow and the cold was tolerable. Now the lows are in the negatives and the snow won't stop falling. It is about enough that it could make a sane person crazy.

As I sat on the computer looking through my photos looking for the perfect picture to express what I was feeling I came across my photos from our honeymoon in the San Miguel, Azores. The Azores are a collection of islands belonging to Portugal which are situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores are often referred to as the Green Islands due to the tropical feel and lush pasteurizers all around. The views are breathtaking. The highways are lined with gardenias all along. There are mountains which offer incredible surrounded by picture perfect scenes. Many of the locals speak English, but Portuguese is the native language.

I have been to the Azores several times. I am in no means an expert when it comes to being a tour guide, but I did want to share some of our favorite things about the Azores.

 One thing I know for sure is that the Azorean people love to celebrate and enjoy life. Every week you will be sure to find a feast which is a week long celebration hosted by the church in one of the towns. These feasts have live music, auctions, carnival rides, karaoke nights, parades and amazing food. One custom is to line up the streets with decorative fresh flower pedals which the parade walks on. Each home is responsible to set up the floors in front of their home. You can not even imagine how wonderful it smells during the parades.

 I am a firm believer that if you have never eaten Portuguese food you have not eaten great food yet. The foods are sweet and savory and so fresh. One of the specialties is codfish which is made in several different ways. You can have it fried or boiled, in a casserole or even in a soup. My favorite is fried with a lemony garlic sauce smothered over it.
 The capital city of San Miguel is Ponta Delgada. It is a busy city filled with little shops and restaurants. The roads and sidewalks are all paved with such beautiful stones and designs. Be sure to grab your (big) camera to takes lots of photos.
The pier is also a great area to grab some food. The service at all the restaurants is five stars. I will warn you that the way of life in the Azores is much different from here in the States. Expect to wait a while for your food to arrive and dinner doesn't usually start until 10 pm. Also, no one waits for the weekend to stay up late. It is normal to sing karaoke until 4 am on a Wednesday night. Now that is my kind of lifestyle.

We stayed at two great hotels during our trip. The first was located in the city of Ponta Delgada which was called the Hotel Talisman. It is a very modern hotel with staff that is very helpful and accommodating. We told them that we were on our honeymoon during my online booking and we were upgraded to the suite for no extra charge. It was so beautiful. There is a great restaurant on site which was good and the hotel is centrally located to all the sites. 
The second hotel was called Terra Rostra which is located on the other side of the island in a town called Furnas. It is not a very modern hotel, but what it lacks in the hotel it gains in other areas. It is located in the middle of beautiful lush garden which is so peaceful and calm and just so lovely. It also has a iron water pool which is said to have anti aging and other healthy agents. I will warn you the water looks murky. As in you can't see what is down below, but it is a must try. 

 While at the Furnas you must eat a boiled dinner that is cooked right in the earth. The Azores sit on some volcanic plates which causes it to have hot water geysers. In the Furnas it is their specialty to cook in the hot water springs.

 I hope you enjoyed this post about my favorite place to visit and you consider visiting the Azores soon!

1 comment:

  1. WOW what a stunning place, love all the pictures. So funny as your last picture smelling the flowers, the area adcross from my house is covered in them, we have such a beautiful outlook.