On the 21st of May, the second day we were in the Azores, we had a lecture in the morning, went back to the hotel to pick up our bathing suits, then went out for a full day tour. After a little while we ended up in Furnas Valley where we experienced the hot springs and saw where Cozido das Furnas was cooked.
On May 25, we landed back in São Miguel during Festa do Santo Cristo. After taking a small break and eating I went out and explored the festivities. I was amazed at all the lights, colors, smells and sounds.
Inside the Caldeira Ilha, I found two dead animals, a pigeon and a rabbi. I had a strange fascination with their forms, so I photographed them. Perhaps it was the destructive energy of the past volcano that inspired me.
Loved the octopus! Got seconds and thirds! I have been raving about the octopus since the trip!
We visited the Caldeiras! I watched cigarette smoke have a chemical reaction with the hot sulfurous steaming from the ground and got chided for walking in hot zones. We later ate the food cooked in the ground. No one got a picture of the feast, but it was very good! I wonder, if you smoke cigarettes before or after eating the meal, will it effect you some how? I mean, there are already negative effects, but the chemical reaction was very interesting to see, made me reconsider my own habits!
Enjoyed the thermal springs at Terra Nostra. The sulphurous water was very relaxing, I felt the positive benefits right away! Went on a walk minutes before departure. Anna came looking for me, she knew exactly where to find me! On an elevated & alluring side-path. The gardens were so beautiful, I wish I had more time.
I broke one of the cameras on the 360 camera! This image became as a result. I think it is rather interesting.
The group went to visit the holy site of Our Lady of Peace Church. I stood before the immense stairs and considered walking up to pay my respects, but then to my left a tawny cat ran up into the brush!
I went after it, climbed a wall, and sat on the hill alongside the stairs. I thought of scaling the incline, there was a clear path, but I reconsidered. Thought it might be irreverent, when the stairs are right there.
I followed the path the cat crossed, found a maintenance vehicle around the bend. I went further and off path. Found an empty cat food bag, and a blanket.
Became enchanted by these flowers! I began to question their origins. Are they indigenous or imported?
Meanwhile, I hear a large animal grunting at me! I felt a deep fear, but continued to meditate on the flowers. Eventually, I hear someone calling my name! I start running back, but I stop to take a look at my friend in the other meadow!
Upon arriving in Ponta Delgada, I was in awe over the foliage. Everything looked tropical and luxurious! Nothing like New England.
We went to the university for a lecture, where we learned about the exotic plant gardens, and their contribution to the invasive plant species on the islands. I wondered if people still practice! When I asked, I got scoffed at and told “no.” I bet there is at least one person still smuggling plants for their garden! Is that blasphemous to say? I hope not!
The last full day tour, we are back with the same guides we had on São Miguel the first time. We started off by going to a ceramics factory. We were able to see the whole process from the piles of hard clay to the fired and glazed pieces in the store.
Next we went to the top of a mountain where we were once again in the clouds. There was an amazing view of a lagoon surrounded by never-ending greenery. One of the guides and Anna did handstands on a wall overlooking it all. It was a surreal experience.
After that we drove to another thermal spring. This one was less orange than the first one and it had an amazing waterfall. I hung out in a couple of the springs before getting dressed and wandering around the place to take photos. Once back outside the park, Joao, one of the guides, showed us some dogs that they breed to look like bears. Honestly they did kind of look like small bears!
We finished up the day with a critique of our photos with painter Andre Laranjinha. We presented the ideas for our photo books and were able to get some feedback. Then he showed us a film he made about the wine process on the island of Pico.
As it was our final night some of us walked around the city a little and saw a church completely lit up with small lights everywhere. It was an amazing image to end the trip with!
We had another jump flight that brought us from Graciosa to Terceira. Our first stop on this island was an Air BnB to be able to see the inside of an Azorean house. It was like a small cottage with cool rock walls partially painted white which cool objects on display all around.
After stopping at the house, we went to our hotel which was very different than any other I have ever stayed in. There was a physical key to unlock the rooms as opposed to a key card. It was actually really cool.
We all met up for pizza for lunch to get a little taste of home but still with an Azorean twist. It was absolutely delicious. After lunch I spent some time searching for souvenirs before getting ready to head to the running of the bulls.
As we were walking over to the running of the bulls we met an older lady who was asking for directions to the event. She ended up walking with us and we spoke about our families and her experience in the Azores and America. When we got to the street where the running was going to happen, a nice man immediately offered us a place to stand behind his wall. We gladly accepted and the women who had been walking with us joined us as well. She even bought me a bag of popcorn! The hospitality of the people of Terceira is unparalleled.
A good amount of the group ended up participating in the running of the bulls. It was really cool to experience the energy and pride the people had for this event even if I was on the sidelines!