Thursday, May 21, 2009

Azorted selection of photos

It is done. I've gone through all the photos I took on São Miguel in the Azores. Most of them went in the bin, but those who made it through to the final can be found here.

As I visited only for a week, I am in no position to judge the Azores as a destination. Still, I have to say that I'd rather go back to Madeira for the third time than return to the Azores.

If you're planning on spending your vacation hiking, São Miguel can be a good choice. Early in the morning there are buses to every corner of the island from the main town, Ponta Delgada. Walk around there and return on the afternoon bus, or simply walk back to Ponta Delgada. The island is small enough that if you're a keen hiker, you can do that. Bring food for the whole day, as there are not many shops in the rural parts of the island.

Although São Miguel keep tempting you to walk around everywhere, you'll be better off staying on the country roads. There are few fences to see, but that's just because the Azoreans have perfected the art of planting thorny bushes to separate between the different meadows that the lucky local cows graze upon. I used all the band-aids I brought, to put it that way.

Apart from that, it was a nice trip! See photos for further comments. #8D)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Back from the A.Z.O.R

I spent a week on São Miguel, the largest island of the Azores, a Portuguese (yet sort of autonomous) archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. Nice enough, but I would probably go back to Madeira a few times before I would choose to return to the Azores.

Anyway, it was nice enough. Except I really found use for all the clothes I had brought. All of them simultaneously, in fact. It's a fairly cold place. Which was good, as it meant that returning to Norway was a pleasant experience, climate-wise. #8D)

I found a decent place to stay in the old town in the island's "capital". Ponta Delgada a typical colonial town, with streets not built for car traffic, yet accommodating a lot of it. The sidewalks are on average just 25 centimetres wide/narrow, so walking around there is a Darwinian game of "Survival of the slimmest". You can leave your iPod at home, as you really need to hear any vehicle that may sneak up on you from behind, or it's game over for you.

If you're thinking of spending your honeymoon there, rethink! If that doesn't help, you'll be interested to know there's a hotel on the island catering especially for you. "Plus four square metres of bed to remember together for a life time!", they offer. It may not sound like much, but the island is so small that having more than four square metres to enjoy yourselves on is quite a treat!

If you plan on leaving your bed and the room, be aware of the need to bring warm clothing. Or you may end up like a guy on a bus I got on. He was almost kicked off the bus for repeatedly pressing the "STOP" button overhead, in a vain and desperate (unsuccessful) attempt at stopping the air conditioning that was harassing him.

My days were spent walking the island from end to end. There's a lot of greenery to see, some volcanic rocks, charming villages and ferocious dogs guarding every little herd of cows. And there are MANY cows on this island.

I'll get back to you with photos eventually.