Travel Vignette: San Miguel, Azores

Typically when I travel I don’t make advance arrangements as they tie me down to what I thought would happen and reduce the spontaneity. In the case of overseas travel at times I do book stays where I know I want to base out of for day journeys.

Abandoned Blue between Punta Delgada and Via Franco Do Campo

Such was my choice in the Azores. I wanted to see two different islands, San Miguel and Faial. Really I wanted to see more islands, but time and money forced me to choose.

Yikes, my luggage didn’t arrive and while I was dealing with that, the rental car vendor was unable to find me and went back into the city. I eventually got the car, which gave me a bird’s eye view of Punta Delgada, but it took 4 days for my luggage to arrive on the second island of my visit.

Via Franco Do Campo and volcanic islet, San Miguel, Azores

I have had a lifelong love affair with islands, as their environmental, social and cultural subcultures intrigue me and the Azores did not disappoint.

I used Homestays to locate the 4 places I’d be staying and the first was just short of a 2-hour drive from Punta Delgada. It was my first experience of what I think of as a tiny home in Via Franco Do Campo. Although it was way bigger than tiny it simply had a small footprint of about 20 x 20 per floor with the 3rd floor having a small study and a marvelous balcony that looked over tiled roofs out to the sea.

Huh, no luggage only my small carry on tote, my purse and a coat.  I now carry a few more essentials in my carry on. Not many stores on the back roads of the Portuguese speaking county I was exploring and it was now Sunday.

Lake Furnas, Azores

Lush green foliage and colorful flowers made sense as San Miguel is called the ‘Green Island’ yet I was to find bubbling hot mud pools in the Caldeira region of Furnas. The quaint

Trees of Furnas, San Miguel, Azores

village in this delightful area of hot springs, terraced thermal pools, and spas exudes the character of local working people rather than that of a tourist trap.

Great trees surround the volcanic fields of ash and hot smoldering earth scents near Lake Furnas. Fencing guards the safety of the public from some of the more actively spitting fumeroles of hot gray burping sludge.

Bubbling Thermal Pool

Locals will travel hours to cook a special holiday meal in a fumerole as well as restaurants cooking for the delight of serving a corzido. I spoke with a man who with the help of several others was loweing a corzido casserole of meat and vegetables

Cooking in a Fumerole

into what looked like an open hole to be covered by a mound of dirt amid the hot fumeroles yet stable enough for men with iron cooking ‘baskets’ to work. It would take hours for the meal to cook plunged in its liquid oven. I was sorry to not accept his offer to join his family back in Punta Delgada for the meal. Sometimes when traveling a day out of the way just doesn’t work.

 

Corzidos baking in Fumeroles
Bubbling Mud: a Fumerole

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