On a Saturday morning we woke up with way too little sleep. The atmosphere was cranky and sour even though we had a holiday waiting for us. Waffle had bought me a birthday present: flights to Terceira, one of the islands of the Azores.
It was a brand new connection with Ryanair from Porto to Terceira, with which we were flying. A good 5 hours in total from Brussels. As we approached the final landing, we got to enjoy a veeery long sunset, the plane was flying more or less directly to west, following the sun.
We ended up landing in the darkness, our first image of the place was warm and moist air, with a constant pounding of the Atlantic waves. In the morning we woke up to a very similar surroundings; the warmth, moist and waves were still there. We had put our tent onto a free camping ground close to a view spot Miradouro do Raminho. As we crawled out the sun was hiding behind a grey cloud pack, but still the greenery of the nature surrounding us managed to be stunning.
We had again one of the Rother guidebooks with us, with 9 walks on the island of Terceira. one of those happened to start right from our doorstep. There was a fisherman’s trail taking us down from the cliffs right to the rocky waterline, to a beautiful spot, where the spray of salt water makes your face wet and camera lens dirty. That was, believe it or not, my first ever close encounter with an ocean. The power of that thing is amazing, the force with which it grinded the shores of the island somehow makes it feel impossible that the piece of land is still able to exist.
Finally we managed to tear ourselves away from the waves and started climbing towards the inner parts of the island, through country lanes and in between cow paddocks.
Plenty of those in Terceira, cows, paddocks and country lanes.
The book guided us soon through a very jungle-like forest with red earth, positively prehistoric looking fern trees and tall eucalyptuses! The smell in the air was so very fresh with the ethereal scent rising from the trees the untamed forest.
The forecast was promising heavy rain and storm winds for the coming night. We agreed on finding a sturdier alternative for a tent and ended up going to the other side of the island, to the city of Angra do Heroismo. On the go we stopped on another picnic spot in the midst of a forest of tall cedar trees that disappeared from sight into a thick pack of cloud. The island had turned into something different in comparison to the coastal areas. The greenery was still there but in different shades and much more misty.
We had our dinner up there (hiking food), before heading towards what is said to be the most beautiful city in the Azores. I have a strong feeling they were not lying about that.
The place, oh dear, it is pretty.
We woke up early in the morning to a wailing wind and the sound of heavy rain pounding the roof window of our hostel room. The rain wasn’t there to stay, and as it stopped the sun came out drying out the streets of the city together with warm wind. We wandered through the streets with our crumbling bellies in search of a breakfast and coffee.
Right next to a massive, cream colored church, apparently called Santíssimo Salvador da Sé, we found a small and cosy cafe, serving apparently home made pastries. We forgot the idea of a healthy breakfast and attacked quiches, muffins and cheesecake. We transported our bellies for a short stroll around the sunny town, peeking into churches and finding some surprising street art pieces. After that we felt like we would be able to commit to a real hike.
We drove again across the island, got stuck in a traffic jam of cows and finally reached the peninsulas close to the town of Quatro Ribeiras. In the book the walk didn’t look like much, but for the existing weather conditions it was a perfect choice.
Once again we met some cows as we descended to a small gorge, which took us further down to a bay where a bank of rocks was piled up by the raging ocean. We got stuck there too for a while, looking at the waves and the color of the ocean, disappearing into the white shine of the horizon.
There sat a stone house, that I would very much like to live in.
When we finally managed to get moving again, the trail climbed higher to the edges of the cliffs. No white cliffs here, it is all volcanic rock with dense vegetation covering it all in green. We sat there for a while, getting beaten by the wind, and splattered by the salty water of the Atlantic, looking at the emptiness, and the cliffs and peninsulas surrounding us.
It was time to find another home for the night. The place of the first night would not do, since the wind had turned, and would be beating the picnic side like a mad man, so we did some googling. That operation left Waffle swearing, finding info on practically anything out of the general touristy attractions and sites is practically quantum physics. Nothing is findable by google. Some time later we did manage to get our hands onto a document, that listed the camping sites on the island. One seemed to be on a covered spot, so off we went again in a hurry, in order to not be late for the setting sun.
The site we were looking for was said to be in between Porto Martins and Sao Sebastio, right at the shore, it was a site looked after by the people of the Porto Martins village and completely free for an occasional camper.
The picnic sites of the island are amazing!
Even though we had a relatively small area to look into, the place was surprisingly difficult to find, but after we did, we were happy to be there. The bay was calm, wind was teasing someone else and starlings, robins and sparrows were having a beautiful concert. We cooked a fresh mint tea, out of mint we had found on our walk, before calling it a night. the following day would take us up to our first volcano!
You’ll be hearing more of the Terceira’s highlands, volcanoes, craters and all, maybe some cities too. I hope you enjoyed this so far! A sneak peak on the photos you can get from here: Flickr.