The colors of Ponta Delgada - day 45
Ponta Delgada Travel Blog› entry 52 of 57 › view all entries
The Azores are part of Portugal but are about 1,000 miles out into the Atlantic from the mainland of Europe so they are almost autonomous. These nine islands were formed by volcanoes rising at the intersection of the European and Atlantic plates. They were discovered in 1427 and began to be settled in 1452 by the Portuguese. Now about 250,000 people live on these far-flung islands.
We visited Ponta Delgada today; it’s on Sao Miguel, the most populated (125,000 people) and probably the most visited of these remote islands. It and parts of New Zealand have very similar landscapes – volcanoes, lots of rain and lush isolation – so its not surprising that this is a very agricultural island.
There are three predominant colors here –lush greens in many shades for all the vegetation, black from the volcanic stone and whitewash. If you’ve been exposed to the Portuguese, then you know they love ornamentation and they love a neat, clean whitewashed appearance. They have had a lot of time to practice this approach to decoration since 1452.
We went to see two lakes on the west side of the island that are in a volcano’s caldera. Due to the minerals, one lake is supposed to be green and the other blue. That sounded spectacular and I took my camera, ignoring the rain forecasts because it was sort of sunny when I left the ship. Well, the lakes are much higher than the port and west of the port, so they are exposed to the prevailing winds off the ocean. That means humidity and rain. The bus windows began to fog up before we got halfway to the vantage point (King’s View) over the lakes. By the time we got off we were in such thick fog we couldn’t see anything and this fog cleared only when we went down to the lakes themselves and a little nearby town called Sete Ciades. I can’t begin to tell you how pretty it was, even through a little fog; you’ll just have to look at the photos.
Back in Ponta Delgada we did a little shopping, visited the town market, and of course had lunch. I had grilled wreckfish and I have no idea what it was but it may be the best fish I’ve ever had. It had a texture like eel but the bones were more fishlike. It was marvelous and I’ve now got another mission – finding wreckfish again.