Month: November 2016

Moon safari

i guess azores are unique in all the diversity of landscapes you can find there. capelinhos volcano is an example of this unique archipelago. imagine, for instances, that you are landing on a moon surface – the new world is yours. a volcanic eruption lasted for 13 months, from september 27, 1957 until october 24, 1958 changing faial’s landscapes and the life of many families with more than 1500 emigrating to the USA. now this area is one of the most visited places on the island and the lighthouse, once buried under the volcano ashes, is now an interpretation center that deserves our curiosity and respect. nature reinforces itself in how we are small. faial, azores | august 2016  

The Hideout​

away from the city, o esconderijo, as the name stands  – the hideout –  is an almost familiar restaurant that stunned us. vegetarian, rustic-kitsch decoration, personalized menu according to what there is the pantry or what they fell on us, friendly and welcoming staff.  booking is mandatory, it is important to call in before and ask to be received. an exceptional experience which is increasingly rare when we talk about restaurants these days…

Tea time

cozy tea house by horta’s hill, CASA. enjoy the surroundings and the city view (and, of course, the majestic pico) inside you have a great collection of tea perfect for a wintery day or a cloudy classic azorean day. one of the nights there, we had the opportunity to listen to a show by medeiros/lucas, a great portuguese pair with azorean roots. check on them, please.  

Estrela do Atlântico

estrela do atlântico is a cozy guest house run by the lovely ruth. the feeling of well-being and familiarity was immediate when we got there. ruth is a true hostess, making us feel as if we were at home. sounds like a cliché, but it was hard to get out of there. we could live in that house.

Peter’s Café Sport

peter’s café sport is the classic binding spot in faial! after anchoring the sailboat in horta’s marina, drink a sailor’s gin and brag about your latest feats at the great and unknown sea, still with the taste of salt on the lips and skin cracked by the cold atlantic. years of endless conversations, miles and stories on the walls …

Light your spirit, drink pico

pico winery landscape was in 2004 elevated to world heritage. it’s breathless when we are the bottom of the mountain with all that green limited by the natural vegetation and by the bold black basalt boundaries around the winery. we visited the interpretation center at lajido of santa luzia where we were very kindly received by the staff. the center is a recovered warehouse that has a permanent exhibition on pico’s wine history and traditions. by the end of the visit, a wine tasting (even if it was before 11am) proved why those are wines exported for all the world, and in times, were the czars’ best choice. not so far from there, enjoy the vineyards landscape at criação velha; at some spots the circulation is free and you can walk around and appreciate the mixture of scents from sea/earth/vineyards. it’s also mandatory to explore the museum of wine at madalena. the place is somehow magic by its localization and local history – an old carmelites property – the vineyards, the volcanic scent, the rough faial-pico channel, the endless atlantic and …

Home at the end of the world

from afar the island of são jorge looks like a long reptile resting in the ocean, hiding mysteries, and old prohibited lovers. arriving by boat, we can see that there are some strips of land that enter the sea at the base of the cliffs caused by ancient landslides. the so-called fajãs. one of them, fajã do santo cristo (holy lord christ), remains a sacred place. unrivaled in its distance for the world. there are some trails to get there and it will depend on how tired are you (but it will worth all the effort). the easiest (and perhaps least tiring) is the track that comes out of the neighboring fajã, the fajã dos cubres. from there we only rely on our strength. unfortunately, some motorcycles make the way which is clearly contributing to he pollution and decharacterization of the trail. on arrival, although there are more and more tourists, we were dazzled by that mixture of gross dark green nature and the calm of the lagoon followed by the infinite atlantic. the ecosystem …

Casa Âncora

in são roque do pico, we had a great gastronomic surprise. casa âncora, by the hand of the chef timur abuziarov, is a modern restaurant using fresh produce from local fishermen and farmers. amazing how the chef managed to seize the azorean flavor in a unique and creative way. a must to do on the island, with the restaurant and lounge just by the sea. perfect at sunset.

Up in the air

be amazed, there’s more beyond infinity… when we started this journey, none of us could imagine what to expect. we already had seen photos and read stories from other travelers going up the highest mountain in portugal – the pico island – but, we guess that there always a sense of unreality until we experience it. a fearless 4-hour expedition through a harsh and paradoxical beautiful trail until we got to the top of the mountain.  pico going small at our bottom and the faithful faial as a companion minimized our breathless and fatigued body. at the top of the mountain, a moon-like crater. but then, we look up and there’s more. a little summit – the real challenge, but it deserves the last effort. from there the view is unimaginable. surrounded by clouds, playing hide and seek with us, we stayed amazed with the never-ending atlantic and the rest of central groups islands by our foot. the incomprehensible feeling of fullness and abundance it’s not enough to describe what we felt. going down is worse …