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Portugal Day 15: Insane

all seasons in one day 69 °F

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The first thing we did was drive up to the Caldeira do Faial, the giant volcanic caldera in the center of the island (the island is fairly round, or slightly pentagonal). There is a hike around the entire Caldeira, which most of the group did. Catherine and some others stayed at the vista point and walked a little bit onto the trail.
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At first, there was a great deal of fog. It was a very nice hike, but it was impossible to see anything particularly interesting besides the trail. Nonetheless, it was very pretty and the weather was pleasant.
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A sign showing the distances to the various places from here.
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Then, it cleared up beautifully. We could see all the way down to the Caldeira and all the way to the ocean, including a view of São Jorge.
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The hydrangeas are abundant around the Caldeira.
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To quote Fr. Michael “if I had to pick one phrase to describe this view, it would be ‘insane in the membrane.’”
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A small chapel at the end of the hike.
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Faial at its most tropical-looking.
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I don’t have many pictures of this, but we went to Varadouro, which is a beautiful swimming spot among volcanic rocks that seems to be pronounced the same as Barad-dûr , Sauron’s evil fortresss in Lord of the Rings. While the dark volcanic rocks and jagged crags do look a bit like Mordor, it was a very pleasant place to swim. There are large coves in the ocean equipped with ladders, diving boards, etc. Most of us jumped into the ocean, first from the ledge and then from the diving board. The waves make it a sort of wave pool, and the water is cold but rather pleasant in the heat. We had a great time swimming there.
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After this we went to the home of Jose Antonio, who is Catherine’s third cousin. His mother is Natalia, who’s mother was Maria. Catherine’s grandfather Tony visited Maria in the Azores shortly before Maria died. Maria’s mother was Ana, whose brother Francisco was Catherine’s great grandfather. There are more pictures from this dinner, but they were taken on other people’s cameras so we will post them later. We had a wonderful dinner, and enjoyed visiting with the family. Our lack of Portuguese skills was a bit of a problem, as they spoke limited English and the older generations did not seem to speak it at all (although we learned that videos of cows dancing are the universal language. Which, if we had to describe in one phrase...). Also, we must learn to make arroz doce.
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After this, we walked down to the waterfront. While Semana do Mar has not yet officially started, there are already many stands with food, concerts going on, and people out late. It was a lot of fun to walk around and look at everything.
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Usually in California, Portuguese festas are held at halls called “I.D.E.S. halls.” This stands for Irmandade do Divino Espírito Santo, or Brotherhood of the Divine Holy Spirit. It was interesting to see that they have the same society here in the Azores.

Posted by danielcatherine 07:08 Archived in Portugal Tagged shrines rice family faial insane_in_the_memebrane caldeira hydrangeas jose_antonio dancing_cows

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