May 9th, 2017
Azorean Airlines flight to Porto
Goodbye Azores! I will miss you dearly. I’ve already put on my bucket list that I will visit all 9 islands one day. Only 5 more to go!
After Pico, we took a ferry for 90 minutes to Sao Jorge. The Azores are made up of 9 islands, with 2 on the far west, 2 on the far east, and 5 in the center grouping. There are ferries connecting all of the islands, but they don’t run until July. We decided to just visit the three easy to reach ones in the center. We also visited Sao Miguel for one day because we had a layover on our flight. Sao Miguel is much bigger with bigger cities, bigger airports, and several cruise ships. It was quite a change of pace after the small town feelings of the other islands. Anyway…
In Sao Jorge, we went camping! The busy summer season hasn’t started yet, so we were lucky to find a campground that was open. We ended up having it all to ourselves. No hot water, but I couldn’t ask for better ocean views.
There is a hike classified as one of the “Grand Routes of the Azores,” where you can hike half the length of the island. After our Faial coast to coast hiking success, we considered doing it. But the rain convinced us to just do day hikes and never get too far away from our car. We did a nice one where we walked on the coast, and it reminded me of our engagement trip on the Lost Coast Trail in California.
Sao Jorge is also famous for its cheese. There are cows everywhere! Stephen and I toured a cheese factory and got to taste fresh cheese. Then, they squish the cheese into the wheel for 2 days, then it sits on a shelf for a few months. The number on the outside denotes the day of the year that it was set on the shelf. So, the wheel we got to hold was from April 24th. We ate a lot of cheese while we were there!
We had hoped for better weather, but the wind was blowing from Pico, and the cold air coming off the snowy summit would turn into rain when it reached Sao Jorge. We got to see some big wave action though!
We visited a coffee plantation on the island, and Stephen and I got a cup. I usually get juice or chocolate milk or something, but I wanted to try coffee again. I still do not like it. They had a wall of money from visitors, so we added the only small bill we had on us. There was already a lot of US Dollars, so I think we are adding to the variety! And we did stop in the Mexico City airport at the beginning of this trip…and who knows if we’ll visit Mexico again on this journey.
On another rainy day, we wandered into a soccer stadium and watched a local game. We took a seat and learned that we were on the side of the red team. At the end of the first half, our team was down 0-3. Afterwards, our team came back to win 5-3! It ended up being a very exciting game. It’s amazing how much you can get emotionally connected to a team that you don’t even know the name of!
The Azores have felt like a vacation from our vacation. So, it is sad to leave a place that was so comfortable, delicious, and beautiful. We’re excited to get back on the road though. We’ll be in Porto for 4 days. Then, we’re off to Eastern Europe.