Sunday, March 3, 2013

The blue Azores

I'm in the middle of the Atlantic on an island that I had been calling the European New Zealand even before landing here. I think I am right and also very, very wrong, because this is as European as it gets, yet despite all the greenery and picturesque mountains shrouded in clouds, one cannot make a mistake as of to where she is. Definitely not the Pacific!

The Azores are lovely - this is my sweeping generalization of the day. There are nine islands in the archipelago, and we are stationed on the largest one, Sao Miguel, and, naturally, the most administratively relevant, as it houses the biggest airport and the capital of the autonomous region, the town called Ponta Delgada. We are staying on one of the main streets of Ponta Delgada, two minutes away from the "Gates to the City" and the marina, and yet this central street is as narrow as Travessera de Gràcia, which I find hilarious, awesome and not relevant to our stay at all. It's great, really: everything is so close, and yet the island is big enough (or should I say long enough?) for us to explore. This is precisely what we are doing tomorrow! The weekend was all about the relaxing strolls about, but volcanoes, crater lakes and hot springs are waiting.

Locals speak superb English: anyone I uttered a word of English to responds in kind without skipping a beat. Breakfast, dinner, yielding a cycling path, asking for Internet - doesn't matter, they understand, and it's very refreshing. Now Spanish is a different story, of course :)

They grow pineapples here. And tea. Azore Islands have the only tea plantation in Europe. I'm done justifying, I'm in love.

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