Thursday, July 19, 2012

Portugal Recap

Even though I referred to my destination as Portugal, more specifically it was the island of São Miguel which is a part of the Açores which is a group of islands off the coast of mainland Portugal. It is the largest and most populated island, the entire thing has only about 140,000 people (less than my city). Here are some places that I visited:

  • Sete Cidades 
It is a large crater about 3 miles across with two lakes at the bottom (referred to as the twin lakes) separated by a bridge. One is green and one is blue. The legend is that a blue eyed princess fell in love with a shepherd boy with beautiful green eyes. Their love was forbidden and they cried so much that their tears formed the two lakes. There is a little village down there which we went into. Its very small and you feel like you have stepped back in time, like way back.

  • Lagoa do Fogo (Lagoon of Fire)
This is another crater and it is considered a nature reserve. My 3 cousins and I hiked down into the bottom of it on a very unsteady trail which was a little bit scary. One wrong step and you're dead! You have to be very careful. It looks so daunting but it was only about 30 mins each way which wasn't too bad. At the bottom we walked around to a beach area and went into the water. It was freezing!!!

  • Jardim Jose do Canto
It is a large botanical garden with over 6000 species of plants. The construction began in 1845 and it includes a monument of the builder Jose do Canto, a manor house, a greenhouse and a chapel. It was really really beautiful and only 2.50€ entrance fee.

Rubber tree

  • Furnas
Furnas is a town on the island that is famous for it's hot springs and geysers. We went swimming in the hot pools which was a cool experience. The water has lots of sulphur in it so it turns your nails a little orange which was kind of gross but when you get out your skin is sooooo soft!! Further into the town there is an area where you cook food in the ground. Basically you fill a huge pot with whatever you want (meat, potatoes, corn, veggies etc) and you have to go at like 5am for the workers to bury your pot. Then around 1pm they dig it back up and it is ready to eat! It's pretty cool! You can also drink fresh mineral water. 
The pools

geysers of boiling water

mineral water

our pot of food 

I also visited a few churches, walked around the city a lot, went to lots of outdoor parties, swam in the ocean and did a lot of shopping. Check back for another post about the stuff I bought! 

1 comment:

The Asian Pear said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Lovely photos. I especially like the one with the tree.

Welcome back!