Back with the same tour guides we had when we first got to Azores, we started off our tour at a ceramics factory. All of the pieces were hand made and I bought a few of them for my family members, knowing they would appreciate the craftsmanship. We then went to look at a breathtaking view of fire lake, and what was just as interesting as the lake, were the goats keeping their balance on the side of steep mountains. We visited the university shortly after and each of us presented a set of our pictures to be critiqued by one of their professors.
Following the critique, some of us met up with a couple of local girls who showed us around the island. They took us to a natural spring, a mini pool where you could soak your feet in hot water, then to a black sand beach. We had a great conversation with them and still stay in touch.
The day after, we took off from Ponta Delgada around 12pm and landed back in Boston around 5:30pm. The trip was over, but the memories will last forever.
Following our eventful night, things quieted down the next couple of days day but not without some Excitement involved. As we were walking on the tour, a little dog with an attitude ran up on us but we stood our ground. After the incident, we all met up at a natural pool in the ocean. The water was over 20 feet deep so there were no problems for us jumping in. We hung out for a few then drove through the main part of the city and grabbed some lunch and gelato. After Our Meal, we took a flight back to Ponta Delgada and walked around the different parts of town we hadn’t seen yet.
The next day was low key, I did some homework and reflected on all my experiences during this trip. I knew there wasn’t much time left and I thought about how I would make the most out of the next two days.
We went to a religious celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, it was a beautiful outdoor Catholic Mass, and although I didn’t understand what was being said, I felt the emotion and truly respected the deep faith that is instilled within the locals. Nearby, we met this lady named Marcia who was telling us about the whaling history in Graciosa. Although sad to hear, it was interesting to hear about whalers taking advantage of the ocean view on Graciosa’s mountains to spot whales in the distance. We then went to a The Museu Graciosa, visited an artist’s house which had several rare donkeys roaming in the backyard, and finally got to run with a baby bull after debating about doing the run of the bulls.
Following our stay in Graciosa, we took a flight back to Terceira on our sixth day. We went to the run of the bulls festival and it was amazing. We ran fast and took cover whenever need be. Thankfully, we all came back in one piece. After the event, we got invited to a party hosted but a dad and his daughter. Both of them were excellent musicians who sang songs not only at the party but also at a small venue later that night.
On the Third day we met up with the president at the town hall in Ponta Delgada and we had a good discussion about politics and tourism. He was very welcoming and what I thought was going to be a very serious meeting turned out to be a lighthearted conversation. At the end of our discussion he gifted all of us with shoulder bags that included in depth photo books covering the Architecture of Azores. Shortly after, we took a jump flight to Terceira to grab a delicious homemade lunch. The owner and staff showed us great hospitality and treated us like family. Although brief, this was truly memorable and I will always remember and appreciate their kindness.
After our meal, we took a flight to Graciosa and stayed for the next few days. The first thing I noticed about Graciosa was the change of pace and architecture. We all ate hearty meals, but noticed how the style of cooking was different from Terceira and Ponta Delgada. Full of good food, we had energy to tour the island for a few.
On the fourth day, we were up early and toured the town in Graciosa, the sun was beaming and the white paint on most of the houses seemed to reflect, making everything seem extremely bright. Later in the day, we went swimming in a bay followed by a dip in the hot springs, ate delicious fresh caught fish, and explored old landmarks.
Arriving into Ponta Delgada at 6am from Boston was tiring, but after a few espresso shots we were ready for the day. We started off with a lecture at The University of the Azores, the professors educated us on nature and the differences of native and non-native flora and plant species. I found it fascinating that many non-native plants grew better in Azores than in their home countries. After a brief lunch break which included a delicious chunk of honeycomb, we went to a Second lecture to discuss the Architecture of Ponta Delgada. What started as a conversation in the classroom turned into a tour of the city. What I appreciated most from our conversation was the concern of preserving Ponta Delgada’s original architecture as the demand from tourism increases.
The next day, we were up early and in the lecture room of the military base/museum. We were presented with a lecture on photography and given an activity which included choosing one picture from a group and going through an in depth process to give the photo a description. I enjoyed this activity a lot because it was thought provoking and made me look at the photo from many perspectives. From there, we checked out all the memorabilia and architecture within in the museum then took a bus to the thermal springs. I was truly amazed by the thermal springs and botanical gardens, to witness all the heat coming from the ground and warming the sand and water is truly astounding.