we woke up early to get the first boat to são jorge. due weather forecast we had to short our stay there for one day and cut some of the sightseeing we wanted to, otherwise, we could get blocked on the island some days. rosais and the unique azorean coffee plantation at fajã dos vimes were some of the spots we regretted not visiting.
amazing view arriving at the island – 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. (see the full post about this fajã here).
we were dazzled by the mixture of gross dark green nature and the calm of the lagoon followed by the infinite atlantic. the ecosystem is unique there, even with the presence of exquisite bivalves that no one really knows how they got there. the chapel of the holy lord christ, a constant in the fajã’s skyline, could be our home at the end of the world.
after a quick lunch at the local bar, unfortunately, it was full of tourists that day, we set sail for one of the most remote ends of the island. after passing the mysterious fog of the central massif, almost deserted, we arrived at the peaceful village of topo, resting by the sea in love with the peculiar islet-plain.
são jorge is well known for its curated cow cheese. we arrived a little after the cheese factory had closed, but the friendliness of one of the staff members allowed a small guided tour of its operations and method of manufacture. we finished the tour with a taste of cheeses cured at different times. it will not be easy to find but the 3-month cure is supremely good (maybe even better than the easily marketed 6 and 9-months).
we returned to velas, the largest village on the island, to catch the boat. we strolled a bit through the streets while we waited for the boat and took the opportunity to snack at the central cafe. finally, we bought the famous espécies and ate all of them! we do not know how, but we could not find photos of that late afternoon.
time goes fast and at sunset, we had a new boat to get and return to faial before weather turns. the storm was arriving even if the day was so beautiful and sunny. guess this was the perfect example of the unpredictable microclimate of azores.
the clams of the fajã of santo cristo are obligatory on a visit to São Jorge and can be found, with quality, in many local restaurants such as fornos de lava, o amílcar, o manezinho and o borges. this last one at the fajã do santo cristo, usually full of tourists in summer; leave you note on the wall or cartoon on the ceiling or while you wait for the meal entertain yourself reading the messages of other travelers. fish cataplans and limpets are also are specialties of the island. são jorge cow’s curated cheese is perfect for every meal as an entree or as a desert with jam, for example. try to find a 3-month cure; the 6 and 9-month are a bit of spicy for a newbie in this kind of cheese. a final highlight (again) for the espécies, this particular spice cakes of secular flavor that contain secrets in their preparation that leave anyone fascinated when tasted.
the youth hostel in calheta is always a safe option. alternatively, explore some local or new lodgings such casa dos moinhos, aldeia da encosta, the intact farm and são sorge spot.