As earlier said, my brother Steve and his wife Barbara were stationed in the Azores for a number of years. Well I think the number was three, but I could be wrong. In any case, I remember him saying that he loved it here.Well after checking it out, I have to say I have to agree. This island is amazing. Ponta Delgada. What a place!
We pulled in early just before sunrise. Once I got the boat tied up and… Oh never mind, it wasn’t me that was driving. I have a captain that drives this ship around for me. He’s a Carnival Captain. He seems to know what hes’s doing too. That’s good huh?
In any case, our tour guide was meeting us at 8:00 a.m. That’s early. We worked ourselves down to deck 0 and got off the ship. So far so good. There were 20 or 30, 40 passenger busses ready to load. We were looking for guy that had a 6 passenger car. Jackpot. There he was with a sign that said Patricia West. Now that was easy.
The day was a little dreary. Light rain, fog and coolish. We had our rain stuff so we were ready. Off we went. He took us through town and headed to the mountains. Just what Iva loves. Skinny roads and switchbacks, all the way to the top. She did pretty good too. Her head went down a couple of times and a few grunts and I think I may have heard a small fart, but then again, it could have been me.
The scenery was amazing. I have never seen anything like it before. Maybe in Hawaii, but I really don’t think it was anything like this. It was like exploring Jurassic Park. The cattle roamed free. No barns. In fact when they need milking, they bring the pumps to the herd. Then the milk is taken to a central place.
They “LIVE” the fact that what you put on the plants and earth will wash off and into the water supply and oceans. So when the water gets polluted, the moss grows on the top, which shades the bottom and things die and the eco system changes and then nature is off balance. Do you know what they figured out to do about that? They thought about it for about 10 minutes or so and decided to not put pesticides and junk on the plants and earth. Guess what? That works. They work with nature. They don’t change the way the water flows. They protect and nurture nature because with out nature, we are all doomed. Their land, fields and waters flourish. What a concept.
So what I learned is that we can fix our land, lakes and seas by doing nothing. Let nature do what she does and the only job we need to do is to not break the system of nature. It just seems easy to me.
We explored cliffs that dropped thousands of feet down. We saw panoramic views that can’t be captured on camera, just in our minds and hearts. We walked paths that went to the views that were sprinkled with cement tables and stools with a bbq pit near by each of them where people of the town can take their families and enjoy the day together cook a meal and bathe in the wilderness. They cherish life and nature.
We enjoyed a walk into the forest to finally come to a natural hot springs that is used by many. I only had to pick up one piece of paper on our walk. I do that all the time, but I wasn’t surprised to see it was a candy wrapper from the USA. I’m not saying an American dropped it, but it was kind of a poetic moment for me.
We visited a tea factory that has been in operation since 1884. Did you know that tea plants live for 90 years and they just keep trimming the leaves off of them to make tea? I asked my guide how long does a tea plant take to grow to the point of being able to be trimmed. He said, “That’s a good question. No one that he knows has ever had to plant a tea plant. They just keep trimming them.” Makes sense. It had to be someone’s great grandpa or earlier person that planted the fields. I’m the master of stupid questions.
It was getting to the point we needed food. We talked to the driver and he said he had so much more to show us, but if we wanted food, he would take us to a place where they cook local food. They specialize in a stew that is traditional to the island. All types of meats potatoes and veggies that are put in a pot in a hole in the floor with hot coals. It cooks for 6 or 8 hours then served.
I didn’t want all of that meat, so Pat and I went for the fish. Some had the beef and Iva, of course went for the stew. It was an amazing site to see. Not the stew we were expecting. No watery stew, it was all meat, potatoes and veggies. What a plate to see. Our fish was amazing. Rumor is that the beef was a little tough. No one went away hungary though. Also they grow pineapple here too. It was recommended that we have pineapple for desert. Well how different can a pineapple be. Holly Shit! It was the most amazing pineapple I’d ever put into my mouth. I love pineapple, plus it’s very good for you too, but this was nothing like I’ve never had before.
Time was running short. We needed to get back to the ship. Of course our guide has seven apartments that he rents out, so he wasn’t really worried to much about our departure time. But off to the ship we went. It was a day I will never forget. By the way, there are no snakes on the island. What a plus.
We have to sail away tomorrow. Dang. Pat and I are going to go back to that island one day. It has a direct flight, 4.5 hours from Boston. I think it has to be done. We need to spend a few weeks right here on Ponta Delgada, Azores.
Tomorrow, the beginning of four sea days to Bermuda. The low is settling down and we will be out of it very soon Smooth sailing ahead.