Portugal’s Azores

After the 17 days at sea, our arrival in the Azores was a well-needed break. Islands of volcanic origins, the Azores tower up from sea-level offering a breathtaking view.

First view of Faial

Our first few days on the island of Faial were spent exploring the city of Horta. The place itself sits on the southern slope and slowly makes its way to the city’s harbour which takes up all the oceanfront. We were situated on the bay’s commercial dock which has views on this sight.

Horta

As a group, we made our way through the quiet streets, ate every Portuguese pastry, and tried the Portuguese equivalent of a latte— the galão. We devoured Italian gelato and relished in the local seafood.

Horta from above

We wandered around the beachside nature park and I hiked to various viewpoints. As the Azores are of volcanic origin, a few of the islands have volcanoes and caldeiras. We therefore hiked along Faial’s caldeira and walked down through the nearby misty forest.

Faial hosts wonderfully beautiful vistas and slow-paced living inviting all to linger in its quaint streets and to take in the sweeping green cliffs. As a crew, we loved the island’s vibe and enjoyed every second of fully-stocked-grocery runs and meeting the locals.

On our final full day, we took a ferry over to Pico to hike around its volcano. We wandered through fields filled with holes from them only having a base layer of hummus peaking through chunky volcanic rocks. As we made our way down the slope, we crossed paths with a welcome shadow-giving forest, sheltering us from the blistering heat. By the time we reached the sea, we were grateful for a break which we enjoyed in public pools and which had access to the cool ocean waters below. For our final stop for the day, we participated in a local liquor tasting of mint, blackberry and lemon flavours.

With a whole week in the Azores behind us, we rose our sails once again for a week-long passage to Gibraltar. Happy from our break in the big blue, we were ready to head back in to the gentle lull of the ocean.

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