Sunday, 15 November 2015

Travel Diary Azores: Day 2

The first of our booked tours was for an area of the Island called Furnas! We booked our tour with Greenzone Jeep Tours as it was the company our hotel recommended! Our tour guide Ricardo picked us up at the hotel at 9am and after a couple other pick-ups we were on our way.

The first stop of the day was to an old Fort, it was mainly just a quick photo-op, but I found it to be quite beautiful. The fort is mainly gone now with only a little bit of the structure still remaining. But an added highlight is the pillar-like structures that were a gift to the Azores from Japan!

Our next stop was another lookout, but this time the view was more of a costal cliff-line view. It was another beautiful pit stop on the way to our first main destination of the day.

Next up was time for Tea! There's no place better to have a cuppa than on the location of an actual tea plantation. We watched a quick film, had a guided factory tour and finished with a free cup of tea. My favourite part of the tour was actually a pair of trees that Ricardo showed us. He called it the "true love" tree. A branch from two separate trees has completely grown into each other, pretty amazing.

After tea we started heading upwards, to the top of a volcano. From the top you get a beautiful view of the crater lake, caused by eruptions thousands of years ago. Furnas is still an active volcano, and although there has been no recent eruptions (since 1630) you will see and smell the signs that this volcano is still very much alive.
Our next stop was back down to a lower elevation. It was time to see where our lunch was being cooked. Furnas is famous for cooking their food in the ground using the geo-thermal heat from the Volcano. The area is really interesting and had it not been pouring rain I would have loved to spend more time checking everything out. But on the bright side it was time for lunch!

After lunch we visited a small village with hot springs, geysers and boiling mud pits (that seems like a technical name?).  The smell of the sulfur is quite strong here, especially if you walk through a cloud of steam from the geysers. One lady was rubbing the steam into her face like she was getting a free facial from the steam!

The tour company saves the best for last, the hot springs! This was my first experience with hot springs and I gotta be completely honest.... I'm now addicted. These things are amazing, I came out of the water a whole new person. Every inch of my body was relaxed, my skin even felt softer. My one recommendation is to just make sure you put your hair up! The water has a high iron content and the ends of my moms hair look like she dipped them in copper! It is probably strong enough to also stain bathing suits if you don't rinse them off immediately after. But enough with the negativity because this place is AMAZING!! If you have a Gopro or waterproof phone case this is a good place to bring it. I had my Lifeproof Phone Case on and I'm glad I did!

After that it was time to head back to the hotel, just in time for dinner. Each stop on the tour was expertly chosen. We had extraordinary views, saw human nature and mother nature working together to cook food, and got to swim and relax in natures Hot Tub! After this day I couldn't wait to see more of the Azores. But up next was a brief journey to the mainland of Portugal, to the capital city Lisbon. For a one day, one night adventure of sightseeing, shopping and delicious treats!

More Azores Blogs coming soon!!!

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