Tag Archives: Hiking

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.

Seychelles: 7 Things To Do In Mahé

1. To Go Around The Most Beautiful Bays

Road Trip

Travel at your own pace! The island tour of Mahé is on average 2h30. It took me the double and I don’t think I saw it all. Depends on your curiosity. You can rent a car, or a taxi.

It is an excellent way to discover the littoral with beautiful bays like Anse Louis, Anse Boileau, Anse Lazare, Anse Takamaka (…), as well as the interior of the island and the mountains. I prefered the beaches of the south of the island (wilder and quieter) than the more lively northern ones.

2. To Discover The Mountains of The Island

Tea Plantations And Hiking Trails

As always during the hottest hours, I seek the freshness. So we go up to Mission Lodge that offers one of the most beautiful views of the island. The road crosses big plantations of teas, forests with gigantic trees and marked hiking trails!

I regret not having brought my hiking shoes and planning a hike. It will be for a future trip! Frankly for many of us, you don’t think of hiking in the Seychelles! And I was wrong! 

    

3. Venn’s Town, Mission Lodge

A Bit of History

After the abolition of slavery in 1835, Mission Lodge, formerly Venn’s Town, became a missionary school for freed African slaves (for more details see photo 3 below).

Today, Mission Lodge is part of the largest national park in the Seychelles: the Morne Seychellois National Parc which represents more than 20% of the area of Mahe. 

     

Photomontage below: some of the different tree species (endemic or introduced) that can be seen at the Morne Seychellois National Park

4. Lunch at The Eden Island Marina

Yatchs, Sailboats … And Chili

This pleasant marina can accommodate yachts of more than a hundred meters! Stunning! If you need at midday to enjoy a beautiful view without suffering from the heat, I recommend a long lunch break in one of the restaurants in the Eden Island Marina. Chic relaxed atmosphere (photos 2 and 3 of the photomontage below).

Above: Photo 1. I learn how to eat a creole dish very very spicy. The fish is covered with a sauce with pieces of chilli (type pili pili). Tips of the waitress: to mix a small piece of the ultra-spicy fish with a little rice and tomato sauce. Eat very slowly and stop to chat with friends, then eat very slowly again! 4, the fruit of the children: I discovered the Santol with a bitter and sweet taste. Very good.

  

5. To Visit Victoria

The Smallest Captital City in The World 

I went to Victoria quickly and enjoyed the little market in Market St. (pictured above). There is a little bit of everything: food but also (for exemples), beautiful bouquets of exotic flowers, a myriad of natural coconut oils and tea produced in the Seychelles

Pictures below: 1 and 2, fresh fish market located opposite the hindu temple, Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar, 3, La Domus, and 4. the Victoria Clocktower.

    

6. To Decipher The Word “Takamaka”

A Bay or Rum?

Lol! I help you: it is a very nice bay, the Anse Takamaka (have a look to the two penultimate pictures of the first paragraph). And it’s also the name of the famous rum Takamaka produced at La Plaine St André (photos 2, 3 & 4 of the estate and distillery). I tasted a tear of the Takamaka Coconut Rum, because the other rums were far too strong for me!

On the road, I stopped at the University of Seychelles (photo 1 above). Yes, knowledge in Paradise.

7. Sunset in Beau Vallon

The Post Card

What could be more exciting than this beautiful sunset on the lively Beau Vallon beach (in the North of the island)? We had delicious giant mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) at the Coral Asia (the best sushi restaurant in Mahé according to a local friend). You can also eat grilled fresh fish on the promenade that runs along the beach.

Bye bye gorgeous Seychelles, I will go back!

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Informations  

Seychelles Tourism BoardAir Seychelles

Where to sleep : ,  & 

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Many thanks to the Seychelles Tourism Board and Air Seychelles for this fantastic discovery of the Seychelles islands.

Portugal: Alentejo Road Trip

Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-3-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Near Arronches

Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Bela Natureza

This morning, departure from Avis towards Arronches, in the district of Portalegre (Alto Alentejo, close to the Spanish border). On the program: visit the most important group of prehistoric cave paintings outdoors in Portugal, in the Junco Valley (Vale de Junco).        

Classified national monument, they were designed between 4000 and 2000 years before Christ and represent the consecration of the place: the scientific interpretations differ (photo below). Last year I returned to the superb Archaeological Museum of Côa (Centre of Portugal). I am fan: child, I wanted to be a paleontologist, archaeologist …    

Magnificent nature! We continue with a walk on the walking path PR1 ARR “Feel Alentejo Nature” – Percurso Pedestrian da Esperança (about 6km / 1:45 / low difficulty level) in the Serra of Sao Mamede Natural Park. Better than a thousand words, a few photos! And old girlfriends, cows ; )

Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Pinturas-Rupestres-do-Vale-de-Junco-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-5-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-4-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-6-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-8-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K Portugal-Alentejo-Arronches-Walking-Path-9-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Estremoz

Portuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

The Old Town

Estremoz for lunch. I really enjoy the small intimate streets of the old town, deserted at lunchtime. Occasionally, a silhouette crosses. The contrast between blue sky and white walls, brightness, the South. As a photographer, I need a beautiful natural light!

What I also really like in Portugal, Japan and Croatia: it’s clean, streets are super clean. A real pleasure!

Portuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-7-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

The Lunch

A place not to miss the Mercearia Gadanha restaurant, where we had a long lunch. Very good food in a cool atmosphere and decoration (photos below). And for chocolate addicts: a large selection of chocolates (including Belgian chocolates) in the deli section of the restaurant.

Portuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-5-Restaurant-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortuga-Alentejo-Estremoz-4-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Monsaraz

Portugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-1-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Open-air Museum      

Like Saint Emilion in France, Monsaraz is an open-air museum medieval city in which you aimlessly wander … Just for the pleasure. And enjoy an Alentejo wine tasting on the rooftop terrace of the Ervideira winery.    

Some boho shops, winding clean streets and an arena that in September and Easter hosts bullfighting festivals. And panoramic views of the river Rio Guadiana (last photo). Now we drive to the famous Évora.

Portugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-5-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K  Portugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-6-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-3A-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-7-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-2-Photo©Mademoiselle Le KPortugal-Alentejo-Monsaraz-4-Photo©Mademoiselle Le K

Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.

Next stop: Évora

Informations  

Visit Alentejo & Visit Portugal

Related posts : DESTINATIONSLIFESTYLE & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to Visit Alentejo and Visit Portugal for this amazing invitation. As always these are my opinions.