Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 9 - leaving the Azores - the End


We had all morning to have a leisurely breakfast and pack. I can't remember whether it was 15 minutes before or after noon we were supposed to be in the lobby ready to go. Two buses took us to the airport. Check-in, security, all that. We found a snack in a restaurant. Still too much time. A gift shop. There was a selection of unusual nativities. Oh, I liked them. James encouraged me to buy one. Sigh, which one? Too bad I liked the most expensive the best.

Bye-bye, Terceira. We liked you!



SATA seats are very close together but we are lucky. Not quite the good seats we had coming (bulkhead) but it could be worse.

We even got lunch. Typical airline food but the wine was not bad.



I have been in a lot of planes in my life but it still amazes me how these metal things can stay in the sky.



Boston, here we are again. I hope it is a little less cold this time.



Immigration, customs, luggage, shuttle to the hotel. Nice room on the 11th floor in the Hyatt Boston Harbor. We go down for a little something in the snack bar. We are eager for something veggie. Beet salad for James, Caesar salad for me. No thank you, no meat on it.




Had to get up very early and caught the 5 am shuttle to our terminal. Everything worked like clockwork. We only had to wait a few minutes in the lobby. Time enough to admire this piece of textile art. It gave me an idea for something lacy. So many ideas. So little time.




In the plane almost taking off. Such a beautiful sky.



Wow, JetBlue breakfast. Ha-ha.



Hello, Richmond. It only has been a little more then one week but it feels like a long time because we have seen so much. We are so blessed.



Yes, very blessed. We are happy that we can see so much of the Lord's beautiful earth.

But it's good to be back home.


Day 8 - Azores - The hike

There are several hiking trails on this island and James got all the maps from the tourist info on the first day. He watched the weather forecast and decided that this would be the right day to do the Trail Serreta/Lagoinha.

James also got the schedule for bus # 1 which goes between Angra and Biscoitos along the west coast and would get us close to the trailhead in Serreta. The bus goes at irregular times. We stood at the stop across from our hotel at 10:30 and it was pretty punctual. The driver was very nice and promised to tell us when to get out. Each little village seems to have several stops and this was passed the center at the edge of the village.

Just a few farmhouses on this road. Observation: those were not cow bells but goat bells in the restaurant last night.

The trailhead. You could park here if you came by rented car (which is probably a good idea but about that later).

The trail markers were the same as on Monte Brasil and quite good. We each had our small backpacks, water and a sandwich.

I usually go first because James lets me give the speed. I called out several times "mind your head".

Nature changed many times which was fascinating. Looking at my photos I realize that they do not really show our wonderful experience. Can you "hear" the silence? Sometimes different birds sang. And the different smells. Sometimes the forest floor was like a very soft carpet. Unfortunately more often it was very steep and slippery. Often you had to step high. Without our hiking poles (which we had brought) we couldn't have done it.

Don't know what came first ... taking nature photos so I could have a moment of rest (ha-ha) or getting a little rest because ...
But aren't these beautiful? There were big plots of them.

Another example. Three different photos to show those beautiful cedar trees. The last one is a sideways panorama.

We saw the trail markers but still questioned the map. We were supposed to come to the lagoon. The last bit before coming out of this to the road were scary. I hoped we have not to go back this way. The trail is a circle which I love except for the bit to the lagoon and back.

We see lots of signs of hydrangeas. In a month or so this will be incredibly beautiful.

Finally! The sign to the lagoon which leaves the circle and you go there and come back. The sign says 230 meters. I feel jubilant ...

... until I take another step and see this climb! OMG!!!

My regret: I did bring my knock-off Go-Pro on this trip but didn't use it. Strapped to my forehead it might have given a better idea about this situation. It was so steep and slippery that we needed to use our hands and sometimes pull on trees and branches (hoping nothing would break off). The loose rocks and dirt made us both think of James' accident in spain.
It had been overcast all day and now we were in the cloud. Every time I had climbed a little, thought we should be at the top and the trail should turn flat, there was a bend and more uphill. We had no feeling how much of the 230 meter we had done. We decided that because we most likely can not see the lagoon and will have no view because of the cloud it was rediculous to risk getting injured. So we went down what we had gone up already.

It was time for lunch but no bench or anything else to sit on. Oh well ...

Since the trail map had suggested that it would take 2 1/2 hours to do the 7 km we thought most likely the rest will be on the above gravel road. Easy.
Mmhh, no! Open the gate and make sure you close it behind you. Walk across the field. No bulls? Good!

And another gate.

Totally different landscape again.

We are hiking on a narrow path between a deep river gorge and a slope with a barbed wire fence.


Hopping to the left and the right of these crevices which are several feet deep most of the time. Very fine loose slippery gravel. Lord have mercy. But it is so beautiful.

Carpets of these little flowers. Shoe to show size. I tried to take a picture because they were a perfect deep pink. No luck.

Passed the goat and all that back to the bus stop. Ups, we just missed it. Next one? About 2 1/2 hours. We thought this might happen but we thought we could take a taxi. Well, not here. There was a cafe right there and we had a beer and shared something savory baked.

Opposite ... this must be the end of the river gorge.

There wasn't much happening at that place so we decided that there was still plenty of time to walk to the next bus stop which would be at the church in Serreta. May be it would be a little more interesting there. And it was. People going in and coming out of that church. We talked with two policemen.

Finally the bus came and took us right to our hotel. We knew if we didn't recognize the stop when we came to it, we wouldn't have to walk far back. But it all worked out fine.
Summery: I worried sometimes because we weren't on the safest ground (concerning our bones) but it was an awesome experience. Awesome. I don't do "steep" particularly well but felt I did really well. Surprisingly I hardly had any muscle aches. Woohoo! I feel a celebration coming on.
Our last dinner here. We walked towards town and headed towards the restaurant with the "big fish in the window". We had heard others talk about it the day before. OMG what an experience!
We started by sharing an order of grilled limpets as an appetizer.

If you are wondering ... I copied a photo from the Internet. James told me that he and his siblings had tried to get those when the family was on holidays. But he doesn't remember that the ever had enough for a meal.

We sat with another couple at the table. The lady had ordered this which was very very good too. Fish and pepper kabobs.

We three had ordered these though: steak on a lava brick. OMG

The brick sizzled. The steak came raw but you cut slices and cooked them to your likikg right there. It was wonderfully seasoned and melted on your tongue. We usually don't eat much meat. We live mostly of salads and veggies at home. We made up this week for a whole year, my goodness.


After dinner (which had been early) back in the hotel James decided to clean his hiking shoes. We had plenty of time to pack tomorrow morning but it's good if they are dry. Finally he found a use for that thing, ha-ha.

Reminiscing about a super great day. Night night.


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I googled! This is what we missed: the Lagoon. And to think we could have done geocaching there!


Fitbit told me: 22,991steps / 188 floors