Our stay in the Azores has been complicated/extended/punctuated by two consistent themes: 1. We have to stay in marinas due to weather or lack of anchorage, and 2. We stay on each island longer than intended – due to weather, repairs, or (more usually) a love of the island.
In Sao Miguel we opted to wait out the passage of Hurricane Edouard, even though he wasn’t a hurricane by the time he arrived. All weather reports promised 9 foot seas from the west. We stayed put because we wanted to anchor at our next stop, and didn’t want to anchor in 9 foot seas. (We’re picky like that.)
This is a view of the seas that day --- nearly flat calm. We thought we couldn’t check out of the marina on the weekend (and we can’t unless we are going to check in at the next harbor) so we stayed a few extra days for no reason.
At first,we both pouted a bit, and then the Magic of the Azores took over and we decided to walk west along the water. We ended up turning left at the marina and following the road along the water, past industrial parks and fish plants, along a typical Azorean drive that included a wide sidewalk, art, view points, and picnic tables. We’ve decided that the Azorean motto is “When in doubt, make a park.”
We walked around the airport.
We walked past a small village, where I heard a rhythmic mechanical sound coming from a “garagem”. (That’s what they call garages here. We love that.) The “garagem” door was open so I walked up, smiling, to project dumb tourist/no threat.
A young woman and her grandfather were inside. They spoke no English but indicated I could certainly take photos. He was making wine, and crushing grapes with a ratchet system. The sound I’d heard was when he turned the rachett. Note the barrels of wine from previous years along the back wall of the “garagem”.
The pastures butted up against a block of buildings that faced the sea. Note the cross walk. I asked the gentleman in the window at the left whether this was a guest house or tourist center. No, it was merely a group of three or four homes, surrounded by pasture on three sides, yet they rated a cross walk to the sea. I love the Azores.
Twenty years ago, this man had returned to the Azores from Toronto. He sells bull semen. (Really.) He frequently travels back to America on business and visits friends and family who are incredulous that he has moved back to the slower pace of the Azores. “I was lucky to see my friends in Toronto every couple of months. We were too busy. Here, I see my best friends a couple of times a week. This is better.”
We walked on, through the village of Relva, past ruined homes, newer homes, goats, and typical neighborhoods.
We passed the airport, looking down on our road along the shore, and walked back to Ponta Delgada.
As we walked through the city we naturally passed the square (praza) at the arches, and a performance of traditional Azorean folk dancers, singers, and musicians.
Many of you know that I’m not the most patient person in the world, but I’m learning. The morning was a reminder that we are where we need to be. Thank you, Edouard.