In this Issue
- More about Pico
- Some new pages
- Practical Information - Where to get maps of the Azores
More about Pico Azores
Back in the December issue, I told you a little bit about the wild cab ride in Pico and mom's "near death" experience at the distillery, this edition shares more of my experience in Pico. And some information that you won't find on the website at this time.
As I mentioned back in December, I was staying on the island of Faial and decided that I really should get over to Pico as well since the islands are so close and the ferry makes it very convenient. The ferry runs several times daily all year round from Horta, Faial, to Madelena, Pico. And it only takes about 20 minutes. So it really is easy to get back and forth between the two islands.
There are two things I should mention about the ferry service. First, getting on and off the ferry is the biggest challenge, the crew helps, but there was quite a step from the boat to the dock. Second, be sure to note when the ferry returns and make sure you have a ticket back. Otherwise you could end up staying overnight on the wrong island! Okay, on to Pico we go...
After having lunch in Madalena, it was time to explore the island. Our first stop was in Cachorro
Cachorro is an impressive spot to stop at in Pico. The lava flows made rock formations that are very interesting to observe. They have formed arches, grottos, tunnels and other interesting shapes. The ocean really crashes into the coast here. Standing on the rock formations, you can really feel the earth shake. It is a little unsettling feeling the earth shake, especially when the splash of the ocean flies up between the very rocks you are standing on. At various spots you can look down through the rocks and see a several story drop to where the ocean is crashing into the base of these rocks. And then there is the roar of the nearby power generator which works as the waves turn its turbines. I highly recommend a stop here, but I will leave it to your judgment if you want to venture out on the rocks.
I haven't put the next two pictures of Cachorro on the website, they might give you an idea of what the rocks are like:
Next came mom's near death experience at the Liquor distillery. We stopped in at St Luzia where there are several liquor distilleries. We saw the traditional way of making Portuguese Whiskey and had the opportunity to sample some "Fire Whiskey". Mom didn't do so well with it and I had to run down the street to the local cafe to buy her a bottle of water as a chaser. Thankfully she recovered quickly! This next picture is of me having my free sample in front of the distillery. Thankfully I did not require a rescue.
Sao Roque do Pico is the site of a whaling museum. Whaling was once a major industry in the Azores. Now it is a distant memory and whale watching has become an industry in place of the whale hunting that was once a part of the culture of the islands. There are whaling museums, like the one in Sao Roque, to show how whaling used to be done and what life was like back then. I did not tour the whaling museum. But I did enjoy the area, and took a moment to check out the monument up close.
Shortly after stopping at Sao Roque do Pico we were zipping up the mountain on a narrow secondary road. It was quite an experience thanks to Jose, our taxi driver. At the time I thought there was a good chance we'd crash and it was my last day on earth. I have to say that the terrain was quite interesting and the views were great. Take this view at Lagoa da Peixinha da Rosado, the islands of Sao Jorge and Terceira are visible in the background. Sao Jorge is quite close to Pico.
After several other stops, we ended up in Criacao Vehla. This is the area of the biggest vineyard in Pico. It is an amazing sight to see. The grapes are grown in between rock walls that keep them sheltered from the salty spray of the ocean and reflect the suns light onto them. I am told this makes excellent conditions for growing wine grapes in the Azores temperate climate.
I posted two great pictures on the website at: Pico Azores Vineyards
There are many great spots to visit in Pico. But don't overlook Cachorro and Criacao Vehla.
A couple of new pages
Fantastic pictures of Terceira: Terceira Azores Pictures. Don't miss them!
Updated: Graciosa Azores Map to include a map of the central group of Islands
Povoacao - a city in Sao Miguel Azores. I put a few pictures on the site.
Some Practical Information
Aside from the maps on the website (Azores Map) I have found an excellent source of Azores Maps:
Azores Road Map
Other than maps, you can also find information about the current weather conditions at: Sao Miguel Azores Weather
As always, you can expect to hear from me at the end of next month. See you in April!
All the best,
PS Don't be shy to share your Azores pictures or stories at: Your Azores Islands Magic