Visiting another island right after Madeira would be tough for any island to live up to, especially when it is another autonomous island of Portugal and has similar roots, origins and location. I have been comparing this to visiting Guadeloupe after visiting fabulous Martinique as it just can’t compare where on its own it would be fine. To the credit of the Azores, in particular Sao Miguel Island and Ponta Delgada where I am staying, there are 9 islands in the Azores Archipelago and I am only seeing one, albeit the biggest and supposedly the best, and it is a very pleasant place to be. It’s just not Madeira although I hate to compare like that.
Sao Miguel Island is nicknamed the Green Island or Ilha Verde because it is very green and mostly covered with fields and rolling green hills. It is really a nice place and again, very pleasant-just boring. The island also contains several lagoons and lakes that I got a great view of on the plane ride in here this morning.
The city, if you want to call it that is OK to be honest. It’s really nothing special. It’s very quiet, there’s not too much to see and do and it almost seems as if they are trying too hard by not trying at all-if that makes sense. For instance, the streets aren’t really aligned in any sort of pattern and there is no real rhyme or reason for anything in the town. The buildings are not really charming and they don’t really reflect their Portuguese heritage at all. The harbor is crap to be honest, especially when compared to the gorgeous harbor in Madeira. People are laying out on cement on the main promenade with one of those pools that they make from the sea itself. It’s just not the most appealing place aesthetically.
However, it does of course have its virtues. I just had an exceptional steak at a little café on the promenade with the traditional fried egg and avaio sauce with garlic cloves which was killer. Second, there are some nice little churches and a nice square and the people seem very nice. Third, there is a marginally cool military fort and museum which features OK views but some pretty cool guns as you can see.
However, for some reason it is quite expensive here, especially for hotels and there are several top end hotels here which were charging exorbitant amounts for crappy rooms. I ended up staying at a little residencial which is OK. It is very musty smelling and has a very tempermental toilet but clean and the lady at the desk speaks good Spanish and has been very helpful to me. I am really glad I only have one night here to be honest because I think I would be pretty bored with more than that. The good news is that there appears to be a music and beer festival of sorts in the main square that they were setting up for. Saturday night in the Azores, can it get any wilder? Haha. I am flying to London tomorrow for two nights and a seriously busy Monday doing a million errands and taking care of several details before taking off for India. I am staying with my friend Mike and we are seeing a movie called “Hangover”, which is supposed to be really funny although I’ve never heard of it as I’ve been out of the country for seemingly forever!
Ehh on the Azores
June 13, 2009 by 19 Comments