Azores – The Take Off

Oh was I happy to see once more the grey landscape of Belgium disappearing beneath us, as we took off and headed for the islands of Azores. Waffle, the sweet fool that he is, had again gotten tickets to there for my birthday. This year I was looking especially forward to this trip, since we would be visiting allegedly the most beautiful island of them all- Ilha das Flores!

The flight plan to get there and back was a little bit maddening. Even more maddening at the point where we started receiving announcements of re-bookings and timetable changes. In total we would be hanging in the air 9 times, hopping from Brussels to Lisbon to Ponta Delgada to Horta and finally reaching Flores. Once Flores would be fully enjoyed we would go back to Horta to Ponta Delgada to Pico and from there back to the continent. Quite a list of flying.

We were dragging along our newest toy too. Before we used to shoot our photos with an oldish Nikon D90, but it was time for that to retire, because enough clicks is enough. Now we have a Fujifilm X-T2 to capture the wonders we see. Exciting! (I do apologize for sometimes oddly lighted pictures, the camera took some learning!)

We had an over night stop in Ponta Delgada. I just could not hold my smile as we stepped out of the plane and the insanely moist ocean wind met our skin. Felt like returning home! So there I was smiling like a half witted idiot the whole way down to our Airbnb accommodation. Waffle must have been ashamed.

We had the afternoon of time to explore the city of Ponta Delgada. We strolled out to the streets to get to the mood of the Portuguese island life. I do admit it is a pretty town, but our memories from the Angra do Heroismo in Terceira still stay our favorites.

The visit in Ponta Delgada was fairly absent minded, since we were looking forward to getting onto Flores. The next morning couldn’t have come soon enough, as we climbed to a small plane that would hop on to the island of Faial before reaching the westernmost island of the Azores.

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The moment we emerged from the cloud cover and saw the green blob of land in the ocean, I knew it would be a beautiful holiday ahead of us. The plane swooshed by the side of the cliffs on the eastern coast and already then we saw the first white waterfall plummeting down to the Atlantic. There was a warm buzz waking up inside me.

The tiny airport didn’t hold us back for long, as we hit the road accompanied by the friendly advice from the rental car clerk. She showed us her favorite spots for camping and sea staring and loads of other useful tips. The helpfulness of these people is amazing!

We knew the west coast of the small island to be the most beautiful, so on our initial island drive-around we left it for the last, and went to admire the magnificence of the east and north. The island is very small, no more than 20 km from north to south, so getting across it does not require much time. Surprisingly, that small space packs a lot of beautiful sights, from coastal cliffs to the green and rugged hillsides and several view spots to the neighboring Corvo -island.

The weather wasn’t great and we spent quite some time searching for places where the gusty western wind would not find us. That search eventually brought us to the beauty of the western side, where we found the perfect base camp for our exploration to the island. But more on that in the next post!

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