Today we had an amazing experience on the island of São Miguel – the fourth and final island on this trip. The girls were not excited to have another tour day as they are very tired, but we made it to the van only 15 minutes late, and they were happy they came. Lauren said it was here favorite tour yet!
We were picked up by our darling tour guide, Chiara. Originally from Rome, she relocated here 2 years ago after falling in love with it when she came to visit. We found out that she had worked at the same place we had stayed in Rome, Villa Irlanda – what a small world! We were lucky to have her with us.
The main part of our day was to head to Sete Cidades, a volcanic crater located on the western side of the island. Our goal? To bike the crater floor and kayak the lakes located there as well. To get there, we climbed up the mountain which was pretty foggy, but we were lucky to see a little slice of the island while we drove.
I’m not sure what I was expecting a crater floor to look like, but what I saw on our decent was definitely not it! It was a beautiful, lush, green valley like we saw in Switzerland, with a small village at the bottom, also known as Sete Cidades – population 800, located on twin lakes, called Lagos das Sete Cidades. It was amazing!!! You can see a little bit of the village at the shore of the lake below the clouds.
Even though it was not sunny, we could still understand the beauty all around and we took advantage of what they had planned for us. We hopped on our bikes and made our way along the first lake, Lagoa Azul – Blue Lake.
There were not many people biking and we road along a dirt road lined with cute farm houses and more hydrangeas than I’ve seen before! Beautiful, all different colors – quite a site! While not native to Portugal, they have been here so long and cover the countryside so prevalently, that it is now the national flower of the Azores.
Cows grazed along beside us to the right and the lake to our left – they say cows on the Azores are the happiest cows and I can see why.
It was breathtaking to look up to the heights of the volcanic walls. Many times I had to remind myself that I was in a volcanic crater! The second lake, Lagoa Verde, is separated from the first by a narrow strait that is crossed by a bridge. Also, beautiful.
After a picnic lunch, we began the next part of our day – kayaking. Now, as I said, it wasn’t sunny, but we persevered, paddling against the wind, and experienced this crater from the middle. Wow!!
We ended our adventure in Sete CIdades walking to the quaint town with cobblestone streets and a darling church. We ordered an espresso and a small local cake only made on Sao Miguel – Queijada de Vila Franca do Campo. It is a traditional pastry refined by nuns in convents during the sixteen hundreds in the town of Vila Franca do Campo, island of S. Miguel. Delicious!
This is a beautiful island. Different than the rest as it is the largest and most populated, but today we did not see the people, just the lush farmlands on our way to and from Sete Cidades. One difference you will see here is that the pastures are not separated with rocks as they were in Pico and Terceira, but with hedges of hydrangeas. I can’t even begin to imagine what they look like when they re in full bloom. Even the roads were lined with blooming bushes that I wish I could have gotten a picture of, but I will just have to take that memory with me.