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Azores: São Miguel Island

From Ponta Delgada To Furnas

Chá Gorreana

Yesterday I was in the small island (and gem) Santa Maria. Today, we discover the largest island of the Azores archipelago São Miguel with an area of 744.7 km ². Same team and awakening to dawns! We drive to the tea plantations.

After the tea of the Seychelles, the one of the Azores! So we visit of the Chá Gorreana family factory which produces organic tea. In the photos above and videos below: some key steps in the manufacture of tea (from leaf to tea bag). 

 

 

If you have trouble watching the videos, refresh the page and move the cursor a bit forwad on the timeline. And if it doesn’t work, do not hesitate to leave me a comment.. 

 

 

Next: Furnas

Poça da Dona Beija

Arriving at Furnas, we head towards the Poça da Dona Beija thermal baths with ferruginous spring water (photos above). I really enjoy the setting: the garden at the entrance of the complex reminded me of Kyoto. I guess I miss Japan.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to test the water’s benefits. Our timing is tight. We are on our way to the geysers in another area of Furnas (picture below). 

Caldeiras Termas

A lunar landscape with boiling water wells and smoke. It’s fascinating and mostly because these geysers are so close to homes (photos and videos below).

 

 

At Furnas Lake

End Of Cooking The Lunch

A short drive to Furnas Lake to attend the last step of cooking the Cozido das Furnas, a traditional dish cooked in the earth (quite similar to the French Pot au feu). The attraction is very touristy, but it is not annoying as the landscape around is beautiful!

Each restaurant has a dedicated “oven” (a deep hole in the earth), where the meal has cooked for several hours. A reduced team of men digs up to take the dish out of the earth. Then loaded in a van trunk, it will be delivered to the corresponding restaurant. For us: the restaurant of the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel. 

  

 

The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel

A Smart Art Deco Hotel

We have lunch at the cosy Terra Nostra Garden Restaurant. The art Deco interior evokes the felted world of Hercule Poirot (the super star detective of Agatha Christie)!

Our main dish, the Cozido das Furnas is made up of different meats and vegetables cooked “à l’étouffée” (sort of a steamed stew). I defenitly like the local bread, its texture is close to the pancake, so delicious!

Then a long walk in the Terra Nostra Botanical Park with the huge 35-40 ° ferruginous thermal pool and superb gardens with over 2000 species of trees and a magnificent collection of camellias (video and photos below ). Yes, I love camellias! 

 

Before Leaving Furnas

A coffee at the Furnas Boutique Hotel (pictures below), decorated by Nini Andrade Silva (yes again!). In my article about Ponta Delgada, you can see her interior design for the Azor Hotel. 

Third photo below (and video): the wide swimming pool of the Pedras Do Mar Resort & Spa where we tasted some Gins of the Azores in late afternoon! More original than an umpteenth cocktail! And nice minimalist contemporary interior design.

  

 

Dinner At The Caloura Bar In Lagoa

  

In A Small Creek

Close to fishing boats, we dinner at the Caloura Bar in a friendly genuine atmosphere. The grilled fish is really fresh and tasty!

The Next Day

Before The Plane

Already our last morning in the Azores! Early departure to the Ponta Delgada market where I buy cheeses to offer (the “scent” in the suitcase, lololol!). Then we arrive at the soothing Lake Fogo, located in a nature reserve (photos and latest video below).

And we are lucky, nobody’s on the site! Short walk to one of the peaks around the lake. I am super happy (I need to exercise). But quickly, we have to go down and to rush to the airport! We’re almost late! 

 

  

 

Bye Bye Awesome Azores!

Sete Cidades  

A last view of the Green and Blue Lakes, which according to legend have been formed by the tears of a pastor and a princess having a forbidden love.

Question (from a former student in Anthropology): why are lakes and waterfalls often the results of forbidden love in different cultures? If you have any explanation, you’re welcome to leave a comment below! 

At midday, the Ponta Delgada airport. Next stop : Cascais via Lisbon … and I hope an ice cream at Santini!

 

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Visit AzoresVisit PortugalTAP

Related articles : HOTEL REVIEWS & DESTINATIONS

Many thanks to Visit Azores, Visit Portugal and TAP for this superb invitation. As always, these are my opinions.

Azores: Santa Maria Island

Our Starting Point

Woke Up At Dawn

We take the 6:30 am flight to Santa Maria, the smallest island of the Azores archipelago (16.6 km long by 9.1 km wide), located 81 km from São Miguel.

It is also the oldest island of the archipelago: its formation dates back to about ten million years. And the first discovered and populated island of the Azores.

It’s a too early for me (lol!). I’m absolutely not a morning person! Thirty minutes later, we landed. Waiting for the heavy rain to stop, Henrique, our tour guide drives us to the only one opened café in Vila do Porto (the main city). 

Then we head in 4X4 to the Fort Sao Bras (video below). The landscape and wind make me think of Ireland (picture above).

 

If you have trouble watching the videos, refresh the page and move the cursor a bit forwad on the timeline. And if it doesn’t work, do not hesitate to leave me a comment.. 

Crossing fields

Movie Set

We take a path in the fields to cross the center of the island. Awesome landscape! My first favorite scenery in Santa Maria! 

 

The Red Desert

  

Barreiro da Faneca

Totally unexpected! After the fields and sheeps, the Red Desert. This arid zone of clay is unique in the Azores archipelago. Leaving Bareiro da Faneca, we find very green landscapes with here and there lovely traditional houses (photos below).

 

Poço da Pedreira

  

North Of The Island

An impressive landscape shaped by man: Poço da Pedreira is an ancient quarry located in Santa Barbara. The stone was used to built the traditional houses and parish of Santa Barbara.

Then we head towards São Lourenço (pictured below). Superb view of the bay and the village from the Mirador of Espigão!

 

The Lunch

  

Happiness!

Finally, I can see the ocean up close. The sound and power of the waves! The black sand beach that contrasts with the foam of the waves under a strong light. The color of the water changes from ultramarine blue to emerald. Magic! And the grilled fish is delicious.

 

Cascata do Aveiro

  

110 mètres de haut!

Look at the height of the woman in the right edge of the picture above : so tiny! Then we drive along the coast. The ocean…

 

Ribeira do Maloás

Spectacular!

Wow! The only place I saw this kind of volcanic roc was in Porto Santo (small island off Madeira). We walked on a narrow footpath along the cliff (first picture below).

What a surprise by discovering the wide verdant plateau split in two parts with this huge wall! Outstanding!

Back to the 4X4 to go to Pico Alto, the highest point of the island at 586.64 meters above sea level (second photo below). Great a panoramic view.   

 

Back To São Miguel

In the early evening, we flight back to São Miguel. We are exhausted! I think the dinner will be pretty funny (lol). 

I will go back to Santa Maria!

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Visit AzoresVisit PortugalTAPBootlá

Related posts : HOTEL REVIEWS & DESTINATIONS

Many thanks to Visit Azores, Visit Portugal and TAP for this superb invitation. Thanks also to our great guide in Santa Maria, Henrique Simões. As always, these are my opinions.

The Banyan Tree Seychelles

My Beach & Villa

  

Incredible Daylight

Wonderful stay! The Banyan Tree Seychelles is elegant. After a long ferry crossing from La Digue to Mahé (via Praslin), under an alternation of rain and lead, I am happy to sit comfortably on the terrace of the hotel lobby.

Airy chic colonial architecture with a stunning view on a long dream beach! Miles of white sand bordered by coconut palms and the turquoise-emerald Indian Ocean. Gorgeous Anse Intendance bathed in the midday strong light. A pure delight!

Then we go in a kart towards my villa (picture below) nestled in a smaller beach, therefore more exclusive: a pure beauty! In this enchanting setting, I barely look inside the villa: I’m hypnotized by the ocean view from my infinite pool! 

I Just Want To Swim!

Pictures below, the private path to access the small beach, where I will spend several hours alone in the water. A beach just for me … until sunset! 

As effective as in a Thalasso spa, powerful strong waves! I complete the treatment with a steam bath in my large shower. A more than exclusive spa!

    

The Early Morning

 

The Breakfast In Peace

  

The Ocean Is Ubiquitous

The Banyan Tree Seychelles succeeds to highlight a magnificent nature, while adding a classic, discreet and very effective service.

You can eat straight the opposite Imposing granite rock of the Seychelles in the Au jardin d’épices, one of the hotel restaurants where I enjoy having breakfast (photos above and below)!

 

Turtles And Organic Vegetable Garden

The Wildlife Conservation Reabilitation Centre

My turtle girlfriends! From October to February turtles lay eggs on the beach of the hotel. The Wildlife Conservation Reabilitation Centre housed in the hotel’s huge property, takes care of turtles and heals the injured turtles.

In spa baths, “natural” environments have been created to welcome convalescent turtles (pictured left of the photo montage below).

And in the evening, returning to my villa, I have the pleasant surprise of finding a girlfriend tortoise in fabrics, nicely posed on sheets in the shape of waves!

The organic vegetable garden is close to the center for turtles. Cooking and tasting classes are organized in this kiosk surrounded by crops (photos below).

  

Creole Dinner

Thanks you, Dorina!

As I don’t know the Seychelles Creole cuisine, I ask Dorina, the awesome waitress at the Chez Lamar restaurant to choose my dinner (photos below). You can’t imagine the pressure (I only like what I know), LOL!

But Dorina made an excellent choice. In the photo montage above: photo 1, big crush for grated coconut slightly flavored with herbs. Photo 2, very refreshing : the Creole Octopus Salad With Local Lime. 

Photo 3, tasty grilled local fish with 3 different sauces. I never use sauce, but here, I liked the one with curry coco and creole with tomato. 

Everything was delicious, but it was way too much for my stomach ; ))

  

Photos & vidéos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Banyan Tree, Wildlife Conservation Reabilitation CentreSeychelles Tourism BoardAir Seychelles.

Many thanks to the Banyan Tree Seychelles and its great team for this beautiful stay. Also many thanks to the Seychelles Tourism Board and Air Seychelles. As always, these are my opinions.