Monday, May 1, 2023

Ponta Delgada, Portugal

After four days at sea, we were super excited to get off of the ship in the Azores. Ponta Delgada is one of nine islands in the Azores and best known for their beautiful green countryside and mineral springs. Apparently their soil, although mostly volcanic, is extremely rich, and they claim to be able to grow just about anything planted.

As per usual, we left the ship and searched out a taxi, to see what we could see. To our good fortune, and travel angels, we found an amazing driver who took us on an amazing drive around Ponta Delgada.

The lush, green countryside was soooo beautiful! So many colors of green, with cows grazing on the hillsides, some for beef and some for milk. You did not see “cow yards” like we have at home, which is very refreshing.

We headed to the top of the island in hopes of seeing Fire Lake, but since it was a cloudy day, we were told that we may, or may not be able to actually see it, as our cab driver did not control the weather! Imagine that! He actually has had people get angry with him because they were unable to view the lake, due to the fog. 

On our drive, it didn’t matter where we looked, we saw beauty! Just stunning. We made many stops along the way, just to take in the scenery. Once we got to the top, there was a complete fog cover, so no Fire Lake there, he said we had two more opportunities, and we remained hopeful. Stop number two was another no-go, and stop number three didn’t appear too promising either, but while we stood gazing over the fog, the wind blew that fog right away and we were able to catch a glimpse of the lake, which was amazing.

Upon leaving the viewing area of the lake, we headed down the other side of the mountain and stopped at the mineral springs. Of course we did not go into the springs, but we were able to walk to them and enjoy the lush terrain, which reminded me of Hawaii. There were waterfalls and pools of water, where there were many people enjoying a nice soak. There was even an area where the water was literally boiling.

After a short walk, we continued our tour down the mountain, through our drivers village, which he called a “city”; it was a tiny, little town, to me!

He was so full of information, both about the island and their lifestyle, his family, his home, and his five large dogs! Lol As he dove down a small street, he said, “hey, do you want to meet my dogs?” Of course, these two, possibly foolish old ladies sad, “Yes!” So we stopped at his house, which was very interesting; it looked like an old historic home, much like a two-story row house. All of the houses were flat to the street, which was very narrow. 

He opened his garage door, and inside was a very modern home, and a very large yard, partly fenced with an orchard, with five different fruit trees, and a few of his beautiful dogs! Lol I found it fascinating how different the front looked, from what was behind the facade. He said in order to change the outside, he would incur great expense, because of all of the fees, and permits, so he just fixed up the inside.

After meeting the dogs, we continued down to his “city center” where he told a story of the history of two churches. As their history goes, there used to be a high wall surrounding the two churches. (The island is 98-ish percent Catholic, to this day.) Behind the wall, and between the churches, was a tunnel connecting the priests and the nuns. He told us that in those tunnels, many bad things happened; including the murdering of babies, born to nuns; these babies were said to be fathered by the priests. Disturbing, to say the least.

The church, like most churches in Europe, was ornate, and still functioned as a church, with a congregation.

We walked around the charming village, tasted some of the liquor made on the island, and hopped back in the taxi, to head over to the black, sandy beach, where world class surfing competitions take place. You could see how blue the water is, in the waves.

We were already at our two hour, pre-determined time, but he said “no worries” no extra charge, our pre-determined cost was 60 euros, or $80 american dollars, which is how we paid. Not bad for a personal tour of the island.

We continued our journey to the “old Town” area, where we parted ways, as we were able to walk to our ship.

We walked around their intricately laid cobblestone streets, and checked out the old buildings, churches, shops, (one with the most impressive sardine cans I have ever seen), doorways and knockers! Door knockers, that is!

Those tiny sips of liquor must’ve not been a great choice for me, because by the time we made it back to the ship, we were both exhausted! Which is ridiculous! I NEVER nap, yet could not keep my eyes open.

We were so tired, that we skipped dinner in the dining room and opted to go to the buffet, at 9 pm, despite not being hungry, because I still had to get my second dose of Bosulif down the hatch. The joys of traveling with leukemia! Lol

We also chose not to go to the show we had planned on seeing, and just went straight back to bed,  of course, neither one of us could fall asleep and were up until at least 3 am, which was actually 4 am ship time, as we were losing another hour!Thank goodness it is another sea day.

This “old grey mare, Ain’t what she used to be!”

Blessed to be traveling and enjoying life!

                                                 FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



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