An Azorean Adventure: Part 4.
Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal.
On our penultimate day on Sao Miguel, Char and I ventured to the easternmost edge of the island. Sunny Nordeste was a dramatic break from the fog-capped center or rainy west coast to which we had grown accustomed. We took full advantage of the sunshine, pulling over every 10 minutes or so at one of the ubiquitous miradouros, or lookout points, each one more handsome than the last. The great impression this had on me was not necessarily the raw beauty of the vistas, but rather the infrastructure that existed to maximize the viewing. If travelers seek to worship at the altar of beauty, Sao Miguel has more than enough pews to accommodate. Picnic tables and barbecue grills hewn out of ancient volcanic rock, thoughtfully pruned public gardens, and abundant easy parking made clear the Azorean appreciation for aesthetics.
Just outside of the town of Nordeste, a road weaved around to a miradouro and then abruptly forked. One direction led down a steep and snaky trail to a carved out natural swimming pool which greeted the ocean, while the other made a precipitous declivity to a camp site. The modern camp grounds abutted what appeared to be an abandoned mill, charming in its rusticity and dilapidation. A tidy bridge connected the mill to the far side of the creek.
Back on the road, we continued our study of gorgeous Azorean miradouros. Perhaps it was the time of day, or maybe the season, but at each lookout we were totally alone, exploring what felt like secret gardens. Though it was evident that the gardens were thoughtfully maintained – the rose-covered tool sheds confirmed this – the plants seemed to possess a certain organic orderliness all their own. Take for instance the mossy steps at Miradouroda Ponta da Madrugada (below). What could be more natural than vermillion leaves kissing the mossy earth just so, like lipstick pecks on a big green toad.
Here is a yet-to-be stitched panoramic shot taken at Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego, looking east out to sea. What an amazing, end of the world sort of place. It’s a wonder destination wedding tourism hasn’t arrived here yet!
Check back soon for the final installment from our Azorean adventure! A glimpse at what’s on deck: impromptu jazz club drum circle, hitchhiking to a secluded islet, and really good hot dogs.