I think I forgot to say that we are on Teceira, one of the 9 Azores (Portugese islands) way out in the middle of the Atlantic. The town is Angra do Heroísmo. Hotel do Caracol.
After a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (included) we are on our way to explore Monte Brasil with a hiking map in James' pocket.
When you look at the photo and see the two humps it doesn't really give the whole picture. Those are part of the rim of the vulcano with a huge caldera (crater) in the middle.
First we had to walk along the road from the hotel and between the houses like yesterday to the Fort. We didn't realize that there were still soldiers inside the Fort and some areas had signs not to trespass. But when we smiled at the soldier guarding the gate he even saluted us.
I didn't take pictures at the beginning because I thought I can do that when coming back but of course we came back a different way. But when I look at my pictures I realize it is difficult to capture what a glorious day we had today.
The weather was perfect. Soon we could take some layers off.
While James was doing that I looked into the woods. Happen to see a wild Cala Lily. See it in the middle of the photo?
And then I was excited to see wild Easterlilies.
I didn't know when I took the above photos that further on we would see whole fields of them. The smell in the air was very nice.
Then we came to a Chapel. James took these picture of me ...
... while I took the picture of the inside. A real candle was burning.
... and I took the photo of James taking my photo.
Along this stretch of the way we're recently planted azaleas every 3 feet. Some were blooming. James took the next photo.
He had bent down but I was too late. Just caught him getting up.
The scent in the air kept changing. There was an incredible abundance of these trees blooming. Very fragrant. And some had seeds. Later in the hotel we were told the name is Faia (got to look it up when I have Internet. Whenever that might be. Sigh).
Suddenly we came to a dead end. The most beautiful one ever.
James thought it was time for him to take photos of me.
We had seen a path going off but there had been no sign. We only had to go back just a little and it had been so worth it.
That path was very steep up though and I had to do some huffing and puffing even though I did not want to blow down a house.
After it had leveled again we saw I sign to turn left going up something like steps made with pieces of branches laid across.
Finally we had come to the furthest edge of the peninsula (forgot to take a photo from the lookout) but turned around after a few yards onto the path to the summit.
This must be the highest point. We can see all around. This is a signal station. What looks like a cross is more like a flagpole.
We can see the memorial cross on "the other hump" way in the distance. More hiking to do.
We came back to a point where we had been before and we're sure we didn't need to go back the same way at this point but couldn't find where to go. We found several signs which meant "no" not to go there. Finally we asked some other people who also didn't know. We decided "strength is in numbers" and we went a "no" way which happened to be right.
Time for everybody to take photos with other people's cameras.
There were lots of picnic areas and even a little zoo.
And not far ... the Cross we had been looking for.
It was an absolutely perfect day. Perfect for hiking. Perfect to enjoy the view.
We walked around a little on top.
Then we looked for the way down and it was different than the way up. Very steep. Doesn't really look like that in this picture.
Almost down we come to the walls of the fort again.
The view from the wall down to that incredible playground and fitness place.
At the walls these flowers.
They were so tiny that I thought a comparison is needed.
Since this is a UNESCO World Heritage site there are these nice markers everywhere.
Love the narrow streets.
Quite often surprise buildings around the corners.
It's really time for lunch. They do have Wi-Fi but my attempt to upload photos didn't work.
At least my battered fish was good, even if it was a bit soggy.
We still had some energy left in us so we went to the cathedral to see whether we may take a look. Yes, we find a side entrance where we can buy a ticket. It is only a small fee and we know how costly the upkeep of buildings like this is.
I was too interested in what I was seeing when I was entering that I didn't see the step down and stumbled. I could catch myself and did not fall but it gave a great jolt to my neck and back which was not so fun the rest of the day. I was so thankful though that I did not find myself on that stone floor or my head against something equally hard.
The cathedral was very interesting.
On the way home we turned into a little street just before our hotel just to see what's at the end (besides the ocean). There is a little beach with steps down and we watch the tide and discuss whether it's coming in or going out. So peaceful.
Back in the hotel we have a little salad in the bar. Really all we need and want (besides some white Port).
No trouble falling asleep for me as on the day before. FitBit tells me that I did 20,523 steps and 96 floors. I am a bit upset with myself that I didn't take care of the additional 4 floors. James was happy to get to 100 (just for the fun of it).
I might just be able to get this blog posted today (2 days later and it's after 10 pm). It's not because I am not trying. Every possible minute I tried to sync my photos from my iPhone to my iPad which usually just happens in the background or in seconds just doesn't seem possible here. At one point a miracle happened and half of them appeared. Sigh. All Americans are frustrated, ha-ha. The thing is that travel adventure comes first and writing about it comes second. But it is odd to check so often. I do want to write down my adventure so that I can later read it and remember. The photos help!