Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Natural Wonders of the Archipelago of the Azores
August 23, 2015

The Natural Wonders of the Archipelago of the Azores


    
Hi readers, hope you've all been having an exciting or at least warm summer! I've got some good news and some bad news. Good news first, I'm finally back to the UK for the rest of the summer! I've just returned from the Azores, an Archipelago of nine Portugeuse islands in the middle of the Atlantic, possibly the most beautiful adventure I've been on with two of my best friends. I managed to get loads of photos, gets loads of footage and had an amazing time.


The bad news is, I lost my gopro paddle boarding in the volcanic crater (photo above) and therefore lost all the photos and footage besides what was on my phone. Heart-wrenching right? I guess you're just gonna have to makedo with the snaps I took on my phone. Fortunately I didn't need an amazing camera as the scenery did all the work for me :).

 

Of the nine islands we saw four, which were decievingly larger than we thought. The holiday (more like a pilgrimage) began in São Miguel, the largest island, in the capital of the Archipelago called Ponta Delgada (takes quite a bit of practice to pronounce this one correctly). I actually found out after I had returned from the trip that my grandmother's grandfather was one of those responsible for building the port there. The night we arrived there was a festival going on across the town called the White Festival where the town was completely decorated and everyone was wearing just white. The atmosphere was rather beautiful but there was also lots of alchol involved, these islanders know how to party. We ended up seeing half the Island with Amazing Tours, we were really surprised with actually how amazing it was. The tour lasted nine hours and our guide was hilarious and chatty, you passion for his island was shining through. The other half of the island had just as much to do and gave my friends and I a good reason to come back.



After spending a few days in Sao Miguel we had to fly to some of the other islands, the boat trip would last an entire day and the seas were choppy! We arrived in Faial's main city, Horta to discover it was festival season. Everything was fully booked, we had arrived in the busiest season of the year and stupidly thought we'd improvise with accomodation, WHOOPS! We ended up partying late, suitcases in hand, and lying up a mountain that night till we shivered to sleep. If you go on holiday here, make sure to book in advance! This island was the smallest but also had the prettiest and most scenic port town, it also had an eruption in 1957 that covered a town which you can see on the opposite end of the island. Seeing as we couldn't find anywhere to stay, we left this island slightly earlier and came back later on. 


The other two islands were only a short ferry's ride away, and still absolutely stunning. Pico Island was the newest or the archipelago and was also home to the highest mountain Portugal (7,713 ft). We found a great place to stay with an amazing view on AirBnB for €40 a night. Throughtout our trip we used AirBnB for almost all of our accomodation as it was so much cheaper than hotels and even some hostels, I definitely reccomend it. The island was quite large and difficult to get around, so renting a car is very handy if you have the time. Unfortunately for us they were fully booked again and had to hitch hike and find taxis (which were scarce). Madalena on the island is perfect for sea lovers and has whale-watching trips and scuba-diving companies. We went on one whale-watching trips and had a whale of a time haha ;). We saw three different kinds of dolphins jumping out the water around the boat and five or six sperm whales, we even saw one breach out the water (and filmed it on the GoPro!). Just before we left the island we hiked the mountain during the pitch black night with our torches, and stargazed before seeing the sunrise. One of the most incredible sights I've seen to date, it was majestic and magical but no description will do it any justice. Make sure to get a tour guide if you aren't experienced as going up the hike was extremely dangerous.




Lastly we saw Sao Jorge, a narrow but long island north of Pico. Probably quitest of the islands we were at but also the friendliest, everywhere was so green and Sao Jorge had my favourite views of our trip. All the islands were lovely but this island was probably the most picturesque. Hope you enjoyed the post, if you're a nature loving sort of person then definitely would reccomend checking out one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

Keepin' it Positive
Francis





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