First, I’m disappointed that neither Kirk or I had our cameras out when we landed in Ponta Delgada. The welcome made me feel like royalty! Men, women and children were at the terminal exit greeting arriving passengers with flowers and a variety of local treats from the Azores. I received a Hydrangia bigger than my head and found out the Hydrangia grows wild here.
Second, we had reservations at The Talisman Hotel. Since we were only here a few days, we decided to stay in a hotel rather than an AirBnB. It was a 4 star hotel, and included breakfast and free Wi-Fi, but it was a basic double bed or two twin room. However, when we got to our room, we had been upgraded to a suite! There is a living room, huge marble bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, a king size bed and a large balcony overlooking a pedestrian street below. You can look out to the ocean, just blocks away. Score!!! We also discovered a statue in the garden courtyard next to the hotel with the name Freitas. The Freitas family in Santa Maria are long-time friends.
The island weather is very tropical – humid, with an occasional downpour of warm rain. Side note – my hair does not fair well in this environment…oh well. I appologize for offensive pics (not really). The buildings are beautiful – some are traditional volcanic rock with white washed walls, some art deco and some more modern. Throughout the island, all the sidewalks are mosiac and the buildings are also decorated with tiles. The people are friendly and helpful, with most speaking enough english to point us in the right direction.
We celebrated our anniversary at a cute sidewalk cafe just up the block. We went to the open market to shop for local items for lunch. The gentleman selling fruit selected a couple of bananas for us and a pineapple, which he even cut up for us. We tasted some of the cheeses of the island and purchased a small chunk of medium sharp cheese. We also purchased Azorian style bread called Bolo Levedo, which a thick, soft, rounds that are slightly sweet. Grapes and apples rounded out our shopping and it all made for a wonderful picnic. The pineapple is a variety of San Miguel Island which is smaller than our Hawaiian type, but it was like candy! So delicious!
After our picnic, we got caught in a tropical downpour. I tried to do my best Debbie Reynolds impression on tbe steps of a museum while “Gene” filmed. This rain is typical and people on the streets disappeared so quickly! They all just tuck in to doorways until the storm passes. The rain lasts for about 5 minutes and then everything clears up and people move about again.
We are still digging Portugal! Next stop – Lisbon. Our friends, Russ and Judy will be joining up with us there. THAT will be an adventure!