If someone asked me 2 months ago, where the island of Sao Miguel lies, there is a certain dose of probability that I would point correctly. There is also such that I would be wrong for a few or several thousand kilometers. It might as well lie somewhere off the coast of Africa as well as South America. The town of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the island, has been in my head somewhere in the past, but why - I have no idea. Because, contrary to what you have tried to convey to you from geography, any knowledge about this island is not somehow useful in life ... at least until the day when you start looking for a destination for a holiday trip.
Well, Sao Miguel is one of the 9 islands that together form the Azores. With Madeira or the Canary Islands it has so much in common that it is surrounded by the same ocean, because it is about 1000 and 1400 km away from them, respectively. Half the area larger than Warsaw, population - several times smaller. In short: cows, pineapples, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lots of birds, mounds, hills. A quick preview of what to expect in this gallerywhich was the preview of this entry.
Why Sao Miguel?
Cycling is easy: in the winter you go to the Canary Islands, early spring to Calpe, a little later in the spring Garda / Croatia / Tuscany, then summer comes and you can go wild in the Alps and the Dolomites, then spring set again, a set of nierowerowy with family in some Greece or Italy and again we return to being doomed to the Canaries. It's so in a nutshell, but I think it covers about 80% of the Facebook accounts. In total, it is not surprising, these are certain directions, both weather and landscape. On the other hand, it's a bit boring, because before we got to Bormio or Tenerife, we knew them perfectly well. Just type in google "place cycling "and we get a ready recipe: routes, logistics, what to expect, etc.
This year we decided to experiment at least once and it turns out that it is not easy. Places that are not particularly popular, and at the same time there is Booking and Airbnb in them, thanks to which you do not have to sleep in the shepherd's booths in the sleeping bag, it wanes in the blink of an eye. And so, one beautiful day, watching the show TabooPonta Delgada was mentioned. A visit to Wikipedia, a visit to Google Street View, a visit to low cost airlines and everything is clear - we're going to the Azores!
Is it worth it?
I will start from the end, because I know that not everyone will read the whole. Worse - some will probably only see photos and think they must go to Sao Miguel. It will be a mistake and someone will hurt me for it afterwards. If a random statistical man asks me if it is worth it - I will answer: NO, I WILL NOT GO THING. Shock, no? But seriously, there are places where an ordinary citizen will play on vacation much better. If you take your child to the Azores, he will hate you (unless you take the Playstation too).
It's raining on the island, and you know what you can do there like it's raining? Nothing. But really. However rudely and primitive it sounds: the island is just nature.
If you are a cyclist who does planned workouts, he likes to sit with other riders on kofibrejku and talk about defeated passages - nope, you will not meet anyone. If you want to take your child to the beach, you have to choose a cold ocean, the waves that the child will sink, the rocks to be broken and the sand made of pebbles that can not be formed as a grandmother. If you are a runner, you will appreciate 30 centimeters wide pavements.
We liked it, however, and we experienced an unforgettable holiday. Vertical climbs, multi-kilometer highs, zero traffic and lack of people are something we've been looking for. So if you are not deterred by such a vision, I invite you to read:
How much is it?
Gentlemen do not talk about money, so that you do not have to ask unnecessary questions, I provide answers to this, probably the most intriguing question. While the upper limit, as usual, has no end, the bottom limit can be moved obscenely low.
At Sao Miguel, you can only get by plane (taking into account only these sensible means of transport). The flights are from London, Frankfurt and from mainland Portugal. As we are flying with bicycles, we do not see much change, which will take a thousand for the bikes themselves.
So we decide to go to Frankfurt by car. Not surprisingly, as usual, the fact that Ryanair flies from Frankfurt airport but a little bit different - the one that is closer to Luxembourg than Frankfurt. Expense? Ma we pay about 175 euros for a return trip per person + 120 eur for a bike - it can be cheaper. With luck, tickets should close in 500 PLN + 500 PLN for a bike + transport to Frankfurt. Let us, therefore, receive an honestly PLN 1,500.
Here is the first surprise. I go to the booking, I am looking for accommodation for a month and exclamation marks show that 6% of free facilities remain. Two hostels with shared rooms and several expensive hotels (from 6000 PLN for 14 days for two people). The most important rule: if you want to go in June-September (and it does not make sense in others), book a MINIMUM overnight before. Seriously, if you're not of these high budget, it will take a moment to search. Especially that the season is very short. The cheapest sensible accommodation on airbnb is about 3000 PLN / 14 days. The plus is that for this price we can find something for 2 people, as well as for 5 people. We pay PLN 2,500 for a large, two-room flat with an additional, closed parking lot in the center of the island's capital (here's the link, for 4 people it is suddenly PLN 500 more). It was a very good offer. Previously, we had reserved similar for several people, a few kilometers away, but the group did not meet. So if you have friends, accommodation is available for PLN 500 / 14days / person. If you do not have - more. Information for hardkorów: nights are warm here, and outside the cities are full of abandoned houses. The fact that some of them do not have doors or windows, but for those who want nothing difficult.
Transportation on the island.
Transport is hard here. A taxi from the airport to the center of Ponta Delgada is 8-10 euros if we take on the spot or over 15 euros if we book online. Traveling to the furthest parts of the island is about 80-100eur. Although these prices vary - it depends on whether you are traveling with or without luggage, etc. There are no taximeters - there are theoretically fixed rates for this: regardless of which part of the city you want to get to the airport, if you have booked online - you pay the same amount. It could have been 5km and it could have been 10km. Buses run, but how, where and when is a bit of a puzzle. The site of the local MZK does not work a bit, and a little is done in flash. From what I was able to determine, a city ticket is about 35 cents, extra-urban ticket, bought from the driver is max 5eur, if we go as far as possible. City buses remind us of the transport of people between cities, those running further, they look like our big ones - sightseeing trips. Schedules are searched at stops. Stops are where people are.
Interestingly, suburban buses run everywhere - they commute to every important tourist place, even if it was the top of the mountain. Stops are spread out in the most absurd locations, but there is a good chance that if you ask to be planted in the field, the driver will also agree. It's a bit like Bormio driving a city bus to the top of Stelvio and coming back through Mortirolo. On the way, you get off at stops, near the tablets, take a picture and move on.
Most tourists, just like in the Canaries, decide to rent a car. On islands it's usually a cheap solution, and gasoline costs a little more than with us and a little less than with the Germans. We use Go Rent-a-Caris a sensible measure between international rental companies, which are expensive and very local, which sometimes offer cars that do not necessarily work on the local hills. Well, it's on Rua do Contador! Behind last year's Clio we pay 40 euros per night (10 less + 1500eur bail if you opt for a version with incomplete insurance). The longer - the cheaper. Two people and two bikes can be packed into Clio with almost no damage to the equipment, so that's quite enough for us.
When it comes to bike rentals, there are a few. We are, however, interested in the store, which is located opposite the market in the center of Ponta Delgada, at Rua do Mercado 17-19. This is a Specialized salon and you can buy everything you need. The rental price list looks like this:
In addition, we rent bikes in the Azores Car and in a suspiciously looking sanctuary, which we were afraid to enter (here's the link to Guglie)
Shops and food.
Prices in supermarkets are more or less the same as in our stores in expensive Alma stores, maybe slightly higher. If someone wants, he can eat cheaply. Onion pancakes, bananas, dinners by weight - a lot, cheap, tasty enough. You can add a breath of luxury in the form of a local ham for 2.50-4eur / 100gr or grilled chicken by weight, which the lady in the meat department will cut with scissors.
The restaurants are decent. Of course, the more at the collapse of the world and further away from the capital, the cheaper and more. At Ponta Delgada the steak is 8-18 euro for a portion, pizza about 10 euro, lasagne 10 euro, soup 3 euro, salad 6 euros, a dozen from the sea. I do not recommend specific places because we get both good and bad, and the comparison is rather too small to be authoritative.
The most beautiful news that welcomes us at the airport is the fact that there is Decathlon, McDonalds, Burger King and a shopping center in which we will get everything and, most importantly, we will shop even on Sunday evening. We are saved and our suitcases have been stuffed unnecessarily.
Beef tongues for 14 euros in the very nice restaurant Forneria São Dinis, in a street where nobody would have expected it, they look like this. They taste much better than they look:
From calculations, it comes out to us you can go for two weeks for 2000-2500 PLN per person. As the calculations are good, but only after the fact, the trip comes out of us, of course, a lot more expensive.
The most important information is this. The weather is stable in the Azores. In winter, the temperature practically does not drop below 14 degrees, in summer it does not rise above 25. In fact, in September we have a similar temperature almost 24 hours a day. Apart from exposure to the sun, as well as stays in higher mountains and downpours, thermometers show us between 24 and 24 hours - ideally.
As I mentioned, the weather is stable. This means that every day one thing is certain: it is not known what will happen. If the forecast says that there will be rain - it will rain, if it says that partial cloudiness - it will only rain on half of the island, if it says that the lamp - it will only rain a little. And it is not that you look at the blue sky and think you will be dry. For the first time in my life I saw rain falling from the blue sky, for the first time in my life I saw rain that pours for 3 minutes, then there is a 10 minute break and it pours again. Sometimes it rains for a moment, sometimes for a week and the regularity is gone. Plus, it's almost always warm. It is also worth noting that once it starts to rain more seriously, any driving for the views loses meaning, because the clouds hang at a height of 300-400 meters and cover everything. As if that was not enough, it is stuffy and humid - we are busy yawning on most trips. Now I understand our host when he said that he liked Warsaw, because he is still wet.
Plus, if the weather is so variable on the island, there is always a good chance that it is actually nice somewhere. Here he comes to help this pagethat broadcast live camera images on the island. You can look where the blue sky is and go there, hoping that before we get there, nothing will change.
Here a comparison of images stolen from http://www.holiday-weather.com/
Precipitation in Warsaw:
Precipitation in Ponta Delgada:
Such weather implies two things - there is no reason to come here with a bicycle (and without it in principle too) in the off-season and:
How much and what?
Two weeks of vacation in one place sounds like some terrible slaughter. 10 days from the budget of 26, which are due to the ordinary, average corporal is a lot. I have never traveled so far. Especially in a place that many of your friends are able to run diagonally, and the rest can cycle around during the day. In my opinion, visiting the most important points of the island for a normal tourist with a car is 3-4 days, for a cyclist 4-5 days of riding. 5 days of riding down the hill is a bit of a hard work but it can be done.
Tenerife probably went in 5, Gran Canaria in a week. Only in the case of Sao Miguel is a bit senseless. Because if you hit 3 or 5 rainy days a week you are in the chapel - And this is more than possible. So we choose two weeks and we are reconciled with the fact that a few days will fall out. It was a good choice. On some days there is no reason to leave the house. Sad information appears here.
We are coming here with two CANYON INFLITE CF SLX 9.0 PRO RACE. Bicycles, which price is proportional to the length of the name. You can discuss for a long time what the sense they have, but I will prove to you that they are the best choice here. People interested in the equipment are invited to view the specifications of these rockets HERE.
What to do when its raining?
Well, when it rains, nothing can be done. You can go to a large shopping gallery in Ponta Delgada and watch exhibitions, or eat in restaurants. The main advantage of the island is nature and it comes here for her. How it is pouring, or walking is not pleasant, or nothing can be seen. Rain often accompanies the wind, which takes away any hopes.
There are no aqua parks, amusement parks, great beaches, swimming pools - it is like in the hypothetically won by Mr. Kononowicz of Bialystok: there is nothing. Most of the time there are not even views, because the clouds are obscuring. You can go for a walk, but the same can go in the Bieszczady.
Only what the locals do is to work: sit in pubs and watch matches over beer.
The maps on Garmina with coverage of all 9 islands in the Azores occupy 5MB. For comparison, the map of the nearest Warsaw area (i.e., the area where I drive during an afternoon drive) would have 30-40MB.
But it is not so bad: the roads are on the island. And what!
It even turns out that there are definitely more of them than we thought. They are perfectly asphalt, they are gutters, they are practically vertical (over 20%, and there are also over 30%) concretes, terrain roads, which are followed by MTB races, are passable mountain trails and are stony.
Sao Miguel is one of the few places I have visited in my life, which I can say: the best is to cross the road with a possibly thin off-road tire (possibly a road with 30mm) and Tire disc brakes. And of course, gears - the bigger the cassette, the better!
The main roads are very good, the smaller ones are usually at least good, the smallest ones often break off for a moment and change into terrain - on the maps it is not well defined.
Car traffic can be troublesome only at rush hour in Ponta Delgada, everywhere else is basically negligible. In the capital, the biggest confusion brought us light - it seems that someone decided to create collision-free crosses. No green arrows, green light can ignite pedestrians on all sides in parallel, cars often stand and wait a few minutes until each side passes. The number of lights in the capital several times exceeds the sum of lights throughout the rest of the island.
On roads outside of cities, traffic is basically negligible. On the main, located in the mountains, one vehicle usually passes us every few minutes - tourists in a rented car are going to visit another mirador (viewpoint). This is a classic stay here, like an ant you are traveling by car between successive viewpoints and walking routes. Routes that usually have a maximum of a few kilometers and where you can park directly. On the roads that do not lead to the main attractions of the island, the traffic is zero. From time to time, we can meet a cow trip or a tractor, but as well, we may not meet anyone for an hour or two.
When it comes to overtaking, it happens differently. Local people are not used to riders, and tourists who often make up the majority of traffic come from different places. Some of them follow us for a minute or two without being able to overtake, some avoid speeding up with 20cm, without seeing anything wrong with it. However, we do not have a single nervous or dangerous situation. It is much easier to die here by clashing with a group of cows who are just walking across the width of the street. We've been nagged at us twice, but that's because we did not move immediately after the green ones went on. It's logical considering what I wrote about the lights earlier. Besides, people like to honk there.
The people on the island are nice and smiling. This is a category of people who are not in a hurry anywhere. No wonder, most of the villages are planted during the day. They sit on walls, in cafes, on benches and talk. Cows are exposed to the meadow, so they have all day off. Even a lady who cancels shopping in a hypermarket seems exceptionally relaxed, when she meets a friend who was standing in front of you, you can count an additional 5 minutes of standing.
Apart from them, there are still some young people in the capital, because they have a university there and some tourists - mainly from the UK, Germany, the USA and Canada. If you read a bit of Wikipedia, it turns out that the Azores with Canada have a lot in common - almost half a million Canadians admit to family ties with Portugal - but this is a topic for another blog.
Some people speak English very well. Almost everyone means that, for example, a gentleman in a cafe somewhere at the end of the world communicates smoothly with a great accent, and a gentleman who serves a taxi hotline or waitress has a problem.
It is also worth mentioning that when we travel by bike, we are supported by almost everyone. They cry, smile, ask, admire. It's nice, but it can also scare you when someone starts playing trumpets in you, and you want to show off your habits with habit.
Here is a long list of famous people who were born on Sao Miguel (or at least those I could hear about):
Pedro Miguel Carreiro Resendes (known as Pauleta) - a Portuguese football player who was known before Ronaldo became more known.
End of the list.
What to see, where to go
The first thing that greets us at the airport in Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel is the characteristic smell of fudge. And our Pope - a Pole. Two meters, waving us - his name is the local airport.
This fragrance accompanies us for the next two weeks. Cows are here everywhere - especially on the hills. I do not know if this is a special change, but the cows in the area like the hills. They behave like not-so-healing chamois. If there is a mound, and quite a lot has grown up here, you can be sure that a herd of cows will be standing at the top, as well as on its slope. You know the game from sandstone: chocolate or poo? - if not, maybe it's better. Let me just say that by navigating the local smaller roads, you can have fun in mud or cow's pile? And usually it is not mud. Unfortunately. However, if you do not look at it, the local cows are probably the happiest cows in the world.
On the other side of the barricade there are dogs guarding them. Most of them are attached to a two-meter chain and left for a long time. I think that inadvertently getting close to one of them causes an immediate loss of the limb. They are also smaller, friendly - more likely to catch rabbits and such wild, undernourished ones. I do not know if it's the ones who chose freedom instead of the chain, but we do not laugh a few times and after seeing them on the horizon, we change the route. Because if we talk about routes, let's get to the most important - what to see:
It crushes - if I had to prepare a list of the 10 best things I've ever seen in my life, Sete Cidades has a guaranteed place on them. An additional flavor is the height - while driving is a bit like on the shaft at the Vistula in Warsaw, only instead of the river on one side is Ocean, and on the other this great crater with lakes and instead of a few meters above them, we are several hundred. It is not often that you go around the ocean along roads located some 600-700 meters higher.
As the Azores are known for saying one day - the 4th season, you need to have some luck with the weather ... or wait. Wait sometimes 15 minutes and sometimes 3 days, but even in the fog or clouds that fill the crater the view is unearthly. You can safely assume that it is worth being here, at any time of the day and in any weather.
The small paths leading here from the north of the island are a massacre. They drop more than 20% off the bicycle. From the south it is much simpler - the main roads, perfectly equal, which tourists are guided by. The choice is yours, but I propose, of course, both variants. Especially that the steep road heading straight to the sea makes an electrifying impression.
Miradouro da Vista to Rei it's one of those roads. In the upper part of the party there are several excellent viewpoints, where people are not there, because there is no roadside to park the car. We stop easily and pass the bikes over the railing. A little lower is one of the main observation points. It is also a place with probably the largest accumulation of people and cars per square meter. This is where they go for a walk along the famous gravel road and to visit the biggest curiosity on Sao Miguel:
Ponta da Costa this is a place that will appeal to cycling perverts. Similarly as Farol to Arnel described below. This is a place for people who like to suffer, whose idol is Spiderman, who, when going on vacation, are looking for the biggest slopes, and being over Garda they are eating more infernal Punta Veleno than a lake. It's us! If the answer because it was steep to the question why did you go there? You are not surprised, I recommend seeing this place. Because what's at the end? Nothing. What's on the way? In one fear, in another pain.
A few serpentines, no people, a great view of the ocean - we do not need much to be happy
How many percent of the slope is a lot? It's just that you're not just pushing a bike, you're still tearing your shoes and climbing. It's like nothing, just like going down to the water level, but what! I will not help you with numbers, but it turns out that the hill in Harrachov is not so bad.
Lagoa do Fogo - probably the largest driveway of the island. From the north it is difficult, from the south it is also difficult, although a bit shorter, because it is only steep at the beginning. On both sides, however, you reach the main roads, so hardkores are not there. Much nicer is going from the south, from the capital, because not only that the better views (exposed) and cars a bit me, because the upper thread is also used to get to the park with the waterfall: Caldeira Velha.
Lagoa do Fogo is the first place that our host recommends to us. It also adds one key piece of information: it is only worth going there if you do not see clouds above it. Seems cool, because the top can be seen from around 60% of the island, but ... we could see a peak without clouds in 30 minutes during these two weeks. This, of course, does not make sense, because even if there are no clouds before we enter - they will be. Not only that, you can not see them from the bottom, but by the lake surrounded by mountains and so are. It is worth to drive and check. And there is something to go, because the top is at around 950m, and we are moving from level 0.
If you have the right bike, you can try to screw it a bit further - footpaths are passable for the experienced cyclist, and the unprotected should not have a problem to move with them with the equipment on the shoulder.
The lake is also worth discovering by setting off from the north or south - walking routes. They are not fully passable, but a bit of walking can make a man lean out properly, and the walk along the water is quite pleasant.
We set out from the town of Aqua de Pau in accordance with the signs to the lake. There are two roads and links near the lake - I suggest you defeat them as we did (which we did accidentally): counter-clockwise. The driveway is very heavy but probably feasible on the MTB. At 3 kilometers, the average slope is above 15%, for most of the time exceeding 20%. Panda does QOM there, going with an average of 2.8km / h for over an hour.
Lake fogo is next to Sete Cidades the most important place on the island that you have to see. As for the volcano itself, in the center of which it is located, wikipedia mentions its last explosion about 500 years ago and its formation expressed in millions of years, so I will not go deeper into it.
Ponta da Ferraria it's probably our favorite nierowerowe place, although of course we get there on bikes - right on the beach. People's eyes when on
beach stones we try to set bikes between towels - priceless.
There are several places to take a bath in. Beaches are not particularly beautiful - black sand, rocks, waves, blue or dark navy blue sea and usually a road for cars on the other side of the wall. The longest ones are probably 300 meters, the most popular one - Mosteiros. The most popular means that with a little luck you can only be you and a lifeguard. It is different from Ponta de Ferraira, there are a lot of people, despite the lack of sand and an extremely uncomfortable descent into the water (sharp stones and then a handrail with steps) because it is not a classic beach - it is a natural pool carved in rocks in the middle of which the ropes are stretched We discover their use when the first wave comes in. If it was not there, few would leave alive.
What is so unusual about this place? Well, warm water coming out from under the ground. You go to the ocean, and there the temperature as in a cold jacuzzi - the closer you move the beach, the warmer and vice versa, until the water gets cold. The water currents cause that the hot water mixes with cold in some places. It's such a nice feeling, similar to peeing in the pool - you feel cold and suddenly warm for a moment.
Our skeptical approach to the crowds on the beach and the crowds in the water is quickly averted. The place is really cool, and the salt in the throat feels even before a good two days. Several large waves effectively remind us of the force of nature and delete all ideas about possible bathing in places that are unfit.
Farol to Arnel this is the place that accomplishes the impossible. Makes me Ponta da Costa she flatters herself. From the outside, quite inconspicuous, although the sign about the lighthouse hangs by the road. Only the roadblock on the road, talking about a slope of the order of 35% and suggesting the abandonment of the car, suggests that something is wrong here. Naturally, this does not bother you, and your adult jeeps go down to the lighthouse as well as the buildings at the end of the exit.
Nothing interesting from the description: a concrete straight road, then a few serpentines, a lantern open to visitors, fishing houses and a concrete and stony beach. This is one of the few places where we begin to wonder if it can be pulled down. Brakes are not a problem, our shields act like a razor - the problem here is to stop in such a way that it does not pass through the steering wheel. However, we come to the conclusion that stopping will not be necessary ... we insist on this assumption, until we reach steep and narrow serpentines, behind which a large car emerges. I did not remember much from the views, both at the downhill and the driveway, I saw mainly my wheel.
Is it worth it? As much as possible, even without a bicycle. The entrance to the lighthouse will reward the hardships of climbing. Besides, this is the main purpose of the trip when we are going to uncharted areas, namely:
When I ask our host about Nordeste, he can not tell me much. He recalls that he drove a bus there some years ago, he does not know now (of course, they go everywhere). This is probably the equivalent of our Podlasie. Everyone knows that he is somewhere in the east, but what is there and why go there - it is not known.
The area to the east of Furnas is really one big mountain (the highest peak of the island - 1050m.npm), the road around it and a few small, not very tourist towns. You can get to the top only from the shoe, and it's only after registering somewhere (free), but it does not make sense, almost never see it. It's like Anaga Park in Tenerifeno matter what the weather is like anywhere else, it's probably ugly there. It compensates us with the savagery of nature and the feeling that it is the end of the world.
The south is a murderous driveway and, from time to time, a little pub where we eat a grilled chicken for 5euro (eg in a Faialense), then go north to see a waterfall that has no names yet.
West is mostly a freshly renovated road in the forest, along the mountain. It looks like I imagine Japan: perfect asphalt, numerous turns, fairly narrow road, hills, intense greenness overcome with pink hydrangea. It is great, but off-road, the only curiosity are the coastal miradors, located a few hundred meters above the water, with which you can see the coastline beautifully ... if of course we have exceptional happiness and any visibility. Although, of course, even in the fog, the place has its magical atmosphere.
The north does not differ somehow from other roads in the north. Maybe the villages are a little smaller and people are even less. Generally, the north is, in our opinion, much prettier, but about it, on the occasion of the description of the village.
Furnas this is probably the third, most popular place on the island. Mainly because there are quite a lot of walking routes close to civilization. We find there hot springs for bathing, hot springs for cooking dinners (restaurants put in dug pits of food and heat for a few hours) and hot springs to no-lick-a-bo-hot-but-look-like-fizzes. To this Terra Nostra park and a real wilderness outside the city.
Going from Miradouro to Pico do Ferro to the lake with the same name as the town, we choose a shortcut to avoid repeating asphalt. We are landing in the jungle. It's such a funny feeling when you walk in such a bush and you have the impression that it is a park prepared for a walk, and then you realize that you are on the island somewhere in the middle of nothing and everything is natural. Well, I do not recommend going there with a bike, but we have no choice. This vegetation is worth it. Huge trees growing in all directions, rocks and moss - everything is green as straight from Photoshop and enveloped in mysterious fog. And this ubiquitous smell of sulfur from the lake ...
We go there once and never even think about going back to this lake - we all agree that this is the least interesting place on this island. Both these hot springs, as well as roads and views. However, I can believe that for a tourist who has a car, it is a good destination for a one-day trip.
The center of the island, the area between Ponta Delgada and Ribeira Grande and between Sete Cidades, and Fogo is the only place where there are no mountains. This is probably why most crops grow here. The mass of roads, both asphalt and gravel roads (marked exactly the same on the maps), cows and tractors ... it might seem like that. However, there is something that makes the landscape extraordinary. Mounds - something Google Maps does not show. The highest of them, like Serra Gorda, reach well over 400 meters!
There are many such mounds, and on a slightly undulating terrain they look a bit cosmic, like alien crop circles made by aliens. Each of them is pointed, green and filled with cows standing on the slopes. Most of them also have a road that wriggling around them will lead us to the top. There, we will only have to look around the surrounding panorama, which ends the ocean from two sides.
Cows are anxious. It is not even about the fact that standing on a slope look rather funny to us, accustomed to the usual, lowland varieties. It's about their looks. Every day, they stand there alone, not disturbed by anything. The cyclist is an unusual sight. By passing them you feel the eyes of dozens of animals. Animals that are standing still and only slowly move your head and eyes behind you and your magical speed of several kilometers per hour. The only thing you want to do is shout at them What are you looking at?! It took me a bit, but it is ....
Kopczyki is also a perfect place for a short trip from the shoe. It would take us a week to visit everyone, even if compressed in a relatively small area.
Ponta Delgada, the capital of the island and also the largest city on it is the obvious destination of the trip. And this is a mistake. Until we care about visiting the Parque Atlântico (local shopping gallery), port, Burger King and Decathlon, I would rather visit her as: we arrived, we passed, we went. Not that it is ugly - it is not. Just other places have much more charm.
In the city it is loud in the morning, around 9 o'clock and in the afternoon - around 18. As for the local conditions, the traffic is large, more or less like in our cities with around 50k residents. Then everyone disappears. Authentically, the streets are empty, there are almost no people, cars do not drive. Where are? We find the answer as soon as we try to enter any pub. Someone recommends the A Tasca restaurant on Facebook, with nothing out of the ordinary. If we did not know about her, she would probably be missed, even if we were passing by. We ask for a table around 18 o'clock - the first one is free at 23.30. In other places it is similar, the waiter always has to check the availability of tables before letting us in.
The island has not yet arrived fashion for sidewalks, where you can walk freely, so moving around with car traffic is a bit difficult. On the other hand, they also have no problem with parking in any place where their car can be bypassed. It's probably by saving space, if you want to buy a flat here, prices range between 80k and 800k euro.
If I had to choose a holiday residence, it would be Ribeira Grande or Rabo de Peixe, that is the opposite side of the island than the capital (about 20km). Not only is it easier to go (although we are talking about the differences of 2 minutes vs. 6 minutes), they are generally calmer, nicer and more friendly. The Dutch SPAR chain has arrived here, so there are no problems with shopping. Here is an unrelated curiosity - you know that SPAR is an abbreviation of: Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig? ;-)
We like the towns in the north much more. Maybe it is due to a larger number of beaches, perhaps by a more interesting coastline, which can be undermined by this climate great city. In the south, we can only look for it after passing the Fogo-Furnas area.
What is most captivating in the town is its color and purity. In my life I would not say that anything belonging to Portugal can be pure. For reminder, the entry for Lisbon. The cottages are neat and colorful (except for those that are currently falling apart) - very colorful. In a row can house a dozen or so houses, each in a different color. Usually pastel - blue, pink, yellow dominate ...
There are also ugly graffiti on the houses. Instead of them, from time to time, we meet murals that can be calmly considered as art. Even at the airport, the entire front, outer wall is a mural with the history of the island. The sweetest!
The oldest and currently the only tea plantation in Europe - it would be a shame not to visit. Especially that it is in a place where there is absolutely nothing to go for.
Like everything in the Azores, all production can be seen from a much closer perspective than one would expect. This means that we can enter both between the bushes and see the production machines. What's more, there are even tourist routes between the bushes - the view is quite ridiculous. If you want, you can do it.
Thank you for attention, please let me go
In addition to the above-mentioned places, it is worth remembering that Sao Miguel is also everything in between. For people who are used to boring Mazovia and short visits in various mountain and coastal regions, even the most ordinary roads are a certain exotic. Of course, they do not make such an impression as alpine passes, like Teide in Tenerife, like rock formations in Gran Canaria, but the whole thing is something completely different. Something we have not seen yet.
It's a place where you can make your own safe spot in the head and every time, sitting at a boring meeting at work, move quickly there. Only you, hills and the happiest cows in the world.
It is also one of the few goals that I can not easily recommend or advise against. It's just different.
We did not manage to cross any road we planned, but we covered quite a lot (here a clipping from the bike, without walking or car):