these are the posts tagged ‘islands’:


kayaking in toronto harbour

when i wrote the list, i added “kayaking on the lagoon”, thinking it was time we took to the waters in the ria formosa… but it’s one of those things that is so close by, you never get around to actually doing it.

fast forward to last month, there were were in toronto, and our friend lynda mentioned that you can kayak to the islands in front of the city, and how the best view is actually from the water… so we rented one, strapped on some life jackets and went for it!

turns out, kayaking around in a busy body of water while trying to avoid the airport exclusion zone and dodge the big ferries isn’t as easy as it sounds. i confess i panicked a few times… but it was well worth it for the view. all those skyscrapers against a backdrop of water and blue skies! we parked the kayak for a while and just took it all in.

the view of the city from the open water was the highlight of this adventure, but we also enjoyed cruising between the islands in very uncoordinated zig-zags. kayaking is not easy, and at some point we broke the rudder in ours, making the return a tricky challenge. must practice more!

we stil plan to go kayaking on our own lagoon someday, but for now i’m happy to tick this goal off the list with a flourish — we did it! :D

what we ate in terceira

my tasting memory is quickly fading, so it’s time to do one of these food recaps again!


the gastronomic pride and joy of the island is alcatra, a beef stew that is slowly cooked in a clay pot for hours. some prefer the top bits of the pot (which are drier) and some prefer to grab their meat from the depths of it, where the pieces are moist, drenched in sauce and falling off the bone. they tasted equally great to me, and we ended up having it several times around the island.

i’m a fan of charcuterie, and the island’s chouriço (smoked sausage) and morcela (blood sausage) were divine. especially the morcela…

…goodness!

friends invited us for lapas (limpets), a type of sea snails found in azores. we gave them a go, and they were surprisingly delicious! drenched in garlic and lemon, they pop right off their shell.

quinta dos açores is a meat & dairy business (there are more cows than inhabitants in terceira!), with a side gig of restaurant & ice-cream parlor. the design of the place is refreshingly modern and the dishes are great too. :)

more charcuterie and the island’s inhame (taro), a sort of sweet potato that is served steamed.

now and then you could sense the influence of the american base looming nearby — pizza and fried chicken were never very far, as well as mountain dew and other drinks. we even saw fanta grape in a supermarket!

in between hikes, we took a detour to queijo vaquinha to try their cheese platter. the cheeses were good, but the bread was amazing! and of course, we drowned it all with kima, the fizzy drink from azores that comes in pineapple or passionfruit flavors.

what about dessert? sadly, i forgot to take some proper photos of all the delicious d. amélias we had, a mini cake quite similar to broas de mel, but somehow better and more delicate, as the regal name would imply.

but i did take a photo of the island’s cornucópias. these almond cones filled with egg cream were were amazing… but i’m glad we tasted them only on the last day because boy, that was heavy. they’re small, but probably pack enough calories in them for the whole day! :D

and i think that covers it! it was a good trip all around, filled with awe and discovery, and i only wish we could have stayed a bit longer to go on exploring. i guess that’s our cue to come back again soon!

volcanic pools!

are you tired of volcanic stuff yet? i promise, this is the last one for a while! :)

these are the natural pools in biscoitos, a funny-named town on the north side of terceira island. they’re volcanic in origin, but not heated by volcanic activity like hot pots. pools were formed as old lava flows cooled off when hitting the sea, the spaces between the rocks getting filled with seawater. add a few platforms and stairs, and now you can swim or sunbathe here.

the basalt rocks absorb a lot of heat actually, so standing next to them becomes hard on a sunny day, gently nudging you to take a dip. surprisingly, the ocean in azores is not that cold either, because of the north atlantic drift bringing all that tropical water north… so of course we had to dip our toes in it. it felt wonderful after all that hiking.

when your feet are fresh enough, grab a donete from a nearby stall and you’re all set for the next hike!

baías da agualva

while we’re on it, here are some photos of another trail (pr2ter) we hiked, earlier that same day, this time by the sea.


as you can see, the photos are much sunnier than those of the other hike — such is the weather on the azores. one minute it’s so foggy you can’t see anything in front of you, and the next thing you know the sun is out and you’re actually getting quite hot! either way, these were beautiful to hike and i can’t wait to go back and do the rest of them — in all the islands! maybe one island per year would be a good plan? :D

hiking mistérios negros

we finally made it to azores! it’s no secret that i love volcanoes, lava, and all the things that come with molten rock being spewed from the earth, so i knew we were in for a treat.

we rented a car to drive around terceira island, but to properly enjoy the scenery and nature, walking is still the best. so we picked PRC1TER, a trail that featured some volcanic stuff and despite the everlasting fogs and lack of proper hiking equipment, we went for it on our last day — and it was glorious!

it started out wet but easy enough…

but pretty soon we were climbing up and down the spiky blocks of stony rough lava, hanging on to tree branches for balance and barely able to see the path. this is where the trail gets its name, the “dark mysteries” are these hills made of aʻā lava that have not yet been completely covered by vegetation.

sometimes a hidden lake would pop up in the middle of the cryptomeria forest, and if you stopped there for a minute, you could only hear your breath and the frogs.

the way back straddled the edge of fields and forests, over dreamy stone fences where wild strawberries grew.

we ended up soaked after 5km, but happy beyond words. take me back please! :)