Exploring the calderas of São Miguel, Azores


In the middle of the Atlantic lie the paradisaical islands of Azores, volcanic islands rising up from the sea. Over the Easter weekend we visited São Miguel, the largest of the nine islands, and spent some days driving around the island, exploring its beauty. I’ve already written about the lush botanical gardens and the fascinating fumaroles we visited in the first day and a half. On our second day, while we were visiting the fumaroles, I had a sore throat, and unfortunately it turned out I’d caught the norovirus (gastric flu) going around my work. As an expat living in Germany I am susceptible to every bug that goes around, as they’re all new to me, so it’s like being  a child again. So I had to spend one day in bed (Good Friday) feeling very ill, while a miserable J spent some time walking around the nearby town alone, coming back now and then to check on me and bring me medicines and drinks. At least he had the chance to watch the Good Friday parade. The only good thing about norovirus is that it is short-lived, and as Saturday dawned I felt well enough to face another day of sightseeing. The fresh sea air, beautiful views and warm sunshine lifted my spirits enough that I even had energy to do some hiking. We drove around the island to admire some of the magnificent coastal and hillside views and hike up the dormant volcanoes for amazing views of the calderas, large craters formed by the collapse of emptied magma chambers during volcanic eruptions, which had filled with rainwater to become crater lakes. Continue reading

Visiting Furnas: an Azorean village inside a volcano



Not wildfires, but fumaroles in Furnas

Before our Easter trip to São Miguel, Azores, I’d heard that the Azores islands were volcanic, but had assumed that all the volcanoes there were extinct and didn’t realize we’d see such fascinating volcanic activity. If you’re interested in volcanoes, it’s definitely worth a visit! I lost count of how many volcanoes are in the Azores islands since different websites say different things, but there are a lot, and it seems there are six volcanic zones on São Miguel. As a result the island has many calderas (craters formed by eruptions), each with its own character. Many of the villages are built in and around these volcanoes, and one of these is Furnas. Continue reading

São Miguel, Azores – The garden of José do Canto


You will learn an important word if you visit the Azores islands of Portugal in the Atlantic, and that is miradouro. It means viewpoint, but my mind now translates it as “beautiful view”, because that is what we saw whenever we stopped at a miradouro, labelled with a binoculars sign. Doesn’t the word miradouro also sound a bit like admire? Continue reading