Tag Archives: Outdoors

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). 

 

 

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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

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

Santa Maria, Açores: la nature

Notre point de départ

Levés aux aurores

Nous prenons le vol de 6h30 pour Santa Maria, la plus petite île des Açores (16,6 km de long par 9,1 km de large et une superficie de 97 km2), se trouvant à 81 km de São Miguel.

C’est aussi la plus ancienne de l’archipel : sa formation remonte à environ dix millions d’années. Et la première île découverte et peuplée des Açores. 

C’est un peu (trop) tôt pour moi (lol!). Trente minutes plus tard, nous atterrissons. Le temps que les trombes d’eau s’arrêtent, Henrique, notre guide sur l’île, nous emmène dans l’unique (et très authentique) café d’ouvert à Vila do Porto, la principale ville. 

Puis nous reprenons le 4X4 pour le fort de São Brás (vidéo ci-dessous). Le paysage et le vent me font penser à l’Irlande (photo ci-dessus). 

 

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En traversant les champs

Décor de cinéma

Nous empruntons un chemin dans les champs (pour traverser le centre de l’île) et le paysage est sublimissime. Mon premier coup de coeur pour Santa Maria!

 

Le Désert Rouge

  

Barreiro da Faneca

Absolument inattendu! Incongru même! Après les champs et les moutons : le Désert rouge. Cette zone aride composée d’argile est unique aux Açores. En quittant Bareiro da Faneca, nous retrouvons des paysages très verdoyants avec de-ci de-là des maisons traditionnelles (photos ci-dessous). 

 

Poço da Pedreira

  

Au nord de l’île

Un paysage impressionnant façonné par l’homme : Poço da Pedreira est une ancienne carrière située à Santa Barbara. La pierre de taille extraite, servait pour la construction des maisons traditionnelles  et la paroisse de Santa Barbara.

Puis nous nous dirigeons vers São Lourenço (photo ci-dessous). Superbe vue de la baie et du village depuis le mirador d’Espigão!

 

Le déjeuner

  

L’euphorie!

Enfin, je vois l’Océan de près. Le bruit et la la force des vagues! Le sable noir de la plage qui contraste avec l’écume des vagues, sous une lumière forte. La couleur de l’eau qui se décline d’émeraude au bleu outremer. C’est magique! Et le poisson grillé est délicieux.

 

Cascata do Aveiro

  

110 mètres de haut!

Regardez bien dans le bord droit de la photo (de droite ci-dessus), la taille de l’humain : insignifiante! A nouveau, nous reprenons le 4X4 pour longer la côte. L’Océan…

 

Ribeira do Maloás

Juste spectaculaire!

Wow! L’unique endroit où j’avais vu ce type de formation volcanique était à Porto Santo (petite île au large de Madère). Nous sommes arrivés à pied en empruntant un petit sentier à flanc de falaise (première photo çi-dessous).

Le choc en découvrant le large plateau verdoyant scindé en deux, avec cet immense mur de « bourdons de lave »! Exceptionnel!

Retour au 4X4 pour une vue panoramique au Pico Alto, le point culminant de l’île à 586,64 mètres d’altitude (seconde photo ci-dessous).  

 

Retour vers São Miguel

En début de soirée, le vol retour vers São Miguel. Autant dire que nous sommes tous crevés. Je pense que le dîner sera folklo (lol). 

Je reviendrai à Santa Maria!

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

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Visit AzoresVisit Portugal, TAPBootlá

Autres articles : HOTEL REVIEWS & DESTINATIONS

Un grand merci à Visit Azores, à Visit Portugal et à la TAP pour cette superbe invitation. Merci aussi à notre guide Henrique Simões. Comme toujours, ce sont mes opinions.

Switzerland, Graubünden: Biathlon & Night skiing (Day 2)

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

The Biathlon Arena Lanzerheide

Okay, today the weather is not good. But this second day in Grisons is one of the most exciting of the last months! This morning, our small team is going to try a new activity: biathlon at the Biathlon Arena Lenzerheide. As always, I don’t think too much before. Guess what? I have no specific idea about the program! I imagined a very physical cross-country session, plus something, but what exactly? Nope!

According to the definition of Wikipedia: “The biathlon, from the Latin bi,” two “, and the Greek athlon (ἆθλον) “combat, struggle”, is a competition combining two disciplines. By tradition, when we talk about biathlon, we talk about the combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting”.

Quickly we forget Nordic skiing and concentrate on the sporting shooting, partly due to the fact that it is snowing and also to avoid disturbing the Swiss national team training. I’ve never done sporting shooting! After a theoretical initiation given by a famous trainer, we are all aligned, lying on the snow, facing our respective targets. And it’s great, despite the cold and bad weather!

 

Above: Photo 1, I try to aim one of the small targets facing me. To shoot when you are stand up is much more difficult than laid on the ground. It is not easy to remain perfectly still, to aim well, arm and reach the target. Very quickly the arms shake! Photo 2, the training air seen from the cafe of the Biathlon Arena Lenzerheide.  

Below: Photo 1, the biathlon rifle. Photo 2, the targets with the bullet impacts. When l am not stand up, I can reach the small targets without problem. But standing it is very disappointing! The small targets are the inner darker circles in the the big black circles. Photo 3, While training: one of the athletes of the Swiss national team.

Back To The Hotel

The weather Clears Up

Light lunch and long break at the restaurant of the Hotel Schweizerhof Lenzerheide. Then we pick up our ski equipment rented at the Sportshop Pesko, located opposite the hotel. Surprising detail: an ibex seems to climb one of the store’s giant walls (pictured above).

Night Skiing

SnowNights 

You won’t see much! My smartphone has a very poor definition in low lights, sorry! I ski at night for the first time (video below)! And frankly, it’s GREAT! I loved it so much that we did twice the slopes for the beginners before we stopped at a mountain restaurant!

And I prefered skiing quiet with a monitor, because all the rest of our little team has a very good level of skiing and snowboarding. Just a tip: forget the dinner in a slope restaurant, because then going back on slopes becomes pretty problematic! Especially if you are tired (LOL)!

 

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

Informations  

Graubünden FerienFerienregion Lenzerheide, Arosa TourismSWISSSwiss Travel System (STS)Switzerland TourismBiathlon Arena Lenzerheide, SnowNights

Related posts : DESTINATIONS & HOTEL REVIEWS

Many thanks to the Graubünden Ferien, Lenzerhaide, Arosa, Switzerland Tourism, SWISS and Swiss Travel System (STS) for this beautiful invitation. As always, these are my opinions.