Our time in the Azores was far too short and alas, our time there has come and gone. Sad face. I was docked in a town called Praia da Vitoria on the island of Terceira. The beauty of going to smaller less industrial locations is that you're literally in town. Most people don't want tankers marring their view so they establish tanker terminals and tank farms 'away from the action'. A five minute walk took us straight into the heart of town after leaving the gate. Lovely!
The best way I can describe the overall feel is: Hawaii + The Atlantic = Azores. It had a distinctly European feel but was definitely tropical. There was a lot of land dedicated to agriculture as well as a definite 'beach culture'.
I was very impressed by the Azores - I had envisioned a struggling economy, a rustic main drag and townspeople ambivalent to tourists - it was none of these things.
The town was immaculate and obvious care had gone into keeping things looking good. There were flower beds everywhere. A lot of work had gone into creating intricate designs in the cobbled roads and sidewalks.
Almost all the islanders spoke perfect English. I mean perfect. Given that their native tongue is Portuguese this is quite impressive. They were happy to help and were clearly proud of their home town. Seeing how much they loved the place made me love it all the more.
The town was bustling - which means that people are supporting their local economy. It was heartening. I always try to get a good meal when I hit a new town. I was very lucky and found a restaurant that featured all locally grown produce, locally raised beef, and locally caught seafood. It was sooo tasty! I had fresh swordfish which was grilled and served with mashed sweet potatoes that were gingery the fish drizzled with a passion fruit sauce. Being from Hawaii, the meal wasn't exactly an experiment with new foods but it was oh so ono (delicious)! My dining partner had squid and shrimp in a tomato-y stew...also totally tasty. The restaurant was packed with locals! This sweet little town supported their own! Sustainability in action - it was great!
On top of all those other great things...there were Hydrangeas everywhere. I love Hydrangeas so it was like a little bonus everywhere I looked!
I'm going to post photo's in a similar fashion to the way I did in Athens. I'm going to organize them into groups and post a few at a time. Today's are going to be the ones that didn't quite fit into other groups. In other words....the randoms.