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Portugal Day 12: Food From a Volcão

semi-overcast 75 °F

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Today we set off on our tour around São Miguel. Our group separated into two vans, with younger people in one and older people in the other. Our driver, Paulo, was a police officer who leads tours in his free time. The other driver, Igor, lived in England for some time but was from the Azores.
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Our first stop was Cerâmica Viera, in Lagoa. Catherine loves the blue Portuguese tiles and pottery, so we had a great time touring the various rooms, including the painting and the sculpting areas. She decided to a purchase plate with a hydrangea on it, although we also thought about getting a piece of religious artwork out of tile like almost all of the houses here seem to have.
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More of the beautiful scenery as we drove around.
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Tobacco cultivation. They grow tobacco and make cigarettes with it on São Miguel. Smoking seems to be very popular.
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More scenery.
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We stopped at a little beach area, where there was a swimming pool filled by the ocean water.
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There were fishing boats coming in. Every boat seems to have a religiously themed name and a small image on the bow.
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More scenery.
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We went to Nossa Senhora da Paz chapel, where apparently some shepherd children saw an image of the Virgin Mary. We hadn’t really heard much about the miracle, but it was a beautiful church.
As you walk up the steps, every landing has a tile image of a different mystery of the rosary, starting with the joyful mysteries.
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The Annunciation.
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The Visitation.
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The Nativity.
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The Presentation in the Temple.
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The Finding in the Temple.
Then the Sorrowful Mysteries
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The Agony in the Garden
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The Flogging at the Pillar.
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The Crowning with Thorns.
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The Carrying of the Cross.
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The Crucifixion.
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Some pictures of the chapel and from the chapel. It was a beautiful place. The staircase appears to have been build in the 1960s, but the church is older. We did wonder where the Glorious Mysteries could be found, and then we found them behind the church.
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The Resurrection.
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The Ascension.
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The Descent of the Holy Spirit.
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The Assumption.
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The Crowning of Mary.
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After this, we went to Lagoa das Furnas, where there were beautiful gardens around the lake.
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The Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, apparently built after the owner of the property prayed for his wife to get better when she was sick. She lived, so he built the chapel.
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Around the lake. The Azores feel like Hawaii mixed with the Pacific Northwest.
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The geothermal cooking pots where they make cozido das Furnas.
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A beautiful picnic of volcano-cooked food for us. One of the ingredients, morcela (black pudding) was familiar to Anthony and his brothers from their childhoods.
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Next we stopped at some volcanic hot springs. There was a beautiful garden near the hot springs.
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Taro, or inhames as it is called here. It is a very common food, and was an ingredient in the cozido.
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More of the garden.
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The springs are very warm, and are a very different experience from most swimmimg. They are murky and sort of intimidating, but rather pleasant once you get in.
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Some refreshments and a picture of the gardens.
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We stopped at one last viewing place to take some pictures and see the beauty of the ocean and the island.
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Catherine’s cousin Nicole wanted Italian food, which sounded good to us too. We walked down to the marina area and found a restaurant with Italian, Japanese, and Azorean food. After we ate, we met up with Ryan, Michael, and a person named Dominic, who is the nephew of Anthony’s cousin Don Santos. We walked to a place called Doris Bar. We had a couple local beers (there’s an Azorean beer called Especial) and tremoços (lupin beans). Dominic talked about his adventures in Terceira last year, when he ran with the bulls during the festa (on the television screen at the bar there were “highlights” of bullfighting and bull running disasters). It was a very fun night and we had a great time, and feel so lucky to be here in these beautiful islands

Posted by danielcatherine 07:23 Archived in Portugal Tagged islands volcano beautiful beauty pottery bulls rosary tile cozido são_miguel tremoços taro inhames Comments (0)

Ireland Day 12: Moher To See

overcast 64 °F

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We started the day by driving to the city center and finding a parking garage. We went to the Claddagh Jewelry shop and got a Claddagh ring for Catherine. While Daniel had purchased other jewelry for Catherine when he was living here, for some reason he hadn't gotten her a Claddagh. We got one today.
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Then had a delicious lunch at Busker Brown's before heading to Co. Clare.
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On our way to Liscannor, where we were staying, we stopped at Dunguaire Castle, which is a restored castle that can be toured. It was built in the 16th Century and is a fascinating thing to be able to see. It is really more of a "tower house" than a castle, as it was not really intended as a strong fortress but more as a fortified home.
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Some pictures inside the castle. The different floors are arranged to show different eras: the 17th century is depicted by the banquet hall, and the 20th century (when an Englishwoman restored the castle as her home) is depicted in the top floor. The castle hosts a "medieval banquet" which the staff was preparing when we were there.
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The passages on top are very narrow and difficult to get through.
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But there are beautiful views from the top once you get out there.
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Us at the top of the castle.
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More views from the top.
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More pictures from outside.
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The burren, a barren landscape of limestone in Co. Clare. It is strikingly different from the landscape of the surrounding area, and seems to lend itself to the preservation of ancient sites, or at least make them more obviously visible.
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Yes, it seems like something you would see on a postcard from a rural area: "Co. Clare Traffic Jam" with a picture of cows walking down the road. And yet, it happened to us in real life. These were dairy cows being taken to be milked, it would seem. We only had to wait a little: the farmers moved the cows fairly quickly. Of course, it was a frightening experience for Catherine after her run-in with the calf the day before.
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Some pictures in Liscannor, where we stayed. Our hosts there also owned a pub, and they have a house across the street from it. We drove to the pub, and our host had us follower her to the house and checked us in. It was a wonderfully comfortable room, and our host recommended that we go to the Cliffs of Moher (which were right next to the house and pub) after 9PM so that we wouldn't have to pay to park. We decided to go to the village for dinner, then go to the cliff.
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Dinner in Liscannor before going to the cliffs.
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The O'Brien Monument in Liscannor, right near the pub. This was constructed to honor Cornelius O'Brien, who was a well-liked landowner in the area despite being part of the British power structure (the O'Brien family has an interesting history: they are descended from Brian Boru, and are thus native Gaelic nobility, but the senior heirs of the family embraced Anglicanism and fought for the English and against various rebellions by other Gaelic nobles like the O'Neills and O'Donnells). Cornelius, however, was known for building projects and other well-regarded projects in the area.
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St. Brigid's well is right next to the O'Brien monument. It is unlike any of the other holy wells we have visited on this trip: less "polished" than St. Catherine's in Killybegs, but far more trafficked than St. Dymphna's and the others. There were rocks that people had written "thank yous" to St. Brigid, and a statue in a glass box.
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The upper shrine. There is a graveyard hear, as well as some more small objects that seem to have been left by people frequenting the wells. There were also ribbons tied to the trees, which apparently are left by people who have prayed for something there.
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The really numinous part of it is the lower shrine, where there is a tunnel leading to the well. The inside has all manner of offerings: statues, cards with prayers written on them, funeral Mass cards, missing person reports, stuffed animals, candles, rosaries, scapulars, icons, photographs, etc. It was an amazing thing to see, and a testament to belief in another plane of existence beyond the world we see around us. Most striking were the "thank you" notes: letters detailing how St. Brigid helped a person. Really a small, easily-missed thing but one of the most intriguing places we saw on the trip.
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Then, it was time to see the cliffs. The parking lot was now closed, which meant that we could park for free and walk to the cliffs. Unfortunately, it meant that all of the visitors' center buildings were closed, including the tiny "meditation room" which Catherine pointed out should probably be unnecessary, considering that a person who wants to meditate about the cliffs should probably do that...at the cliffs, and not in a tiny windowless room sort of near the cliffs.
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There's not much to say about the cliffs. They are stunningly beautiful, and the pictures sort of speak for themselves. It was nice seeing them in the semi-darkness: no crowds, and the light seemed perfect. Since they are on the west coast it was a beautiful sunset and a great way to spend the evening.
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More views of the cliffs as night fell. It was an incredibly peaceful night: we were the last to leave the cliffs as far as we could tell.
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More of the cliffs after dark.
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The twinkling lights of the village.
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A drink at Considine's Bar, across from our AirBnB and owned by our hosts. It was a nice, small pub, not too packed but not empty. There is a house attached, but the Considines no longer live there, and apparently use it for storage, etc. The house where we are staying is rather new, having been built around six years ago. We loved our stay in Liscannor and would highly recommend it to other people staying in the area.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:37 Archived in Ireland Tagged cliffs village meditation pub beautiful castle farm cows burren clare moher the_cliffs_are_closed st._brigid o'briens considine traffic_jam dunguaire_castle Comments (0)

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