in azores one second everyday

one second everyday — may 2021

may was mostly about azores, hiking, eating and watching birds… bliss! :D

we still worked and did all the things that are required to keep things running, but it was a more relaxed month overall and i think we needed that to reset and gain some strength for the months ahead. onwards!

in azores

hiking ladeira dos moinhos

one of the last hikes in the island was the PRC8PIC in s. roque, on the north coast of pico. it’s famed for the many water mills that line the path up the hill, though of those only the outer structure remains. still, the walk and the views are really nice. parts of the trail go through sunken paths where cows peek at us from above, or river beds of volcanic rocks softened by water and rolling stones. a nice, quick walk to stretch and remove some of the soreness from our tired legs, after climbing pico.

and i think that’s it for the pico adventures! these were some magical 2 weeks in the land of volcanoes, and i can’t wait to one day go back and explore some more. :)

foooood in azores

supermarkets in azores

so one of the things i like to do when visiting a place is to walk around the supermarket and find the things we can’t find at home (see here, here, here or here). i didn’t expect to actually see a lot of these in azores, since well, this is still portugal after all… and yet, a supermarket there, even a chain from the mainland, is still a bit different from what we find around here.

first off, you can tell you’re a bit closer to the usa from the kind of things and brands they stock:

and then, there are lots and lots of local products, far more than you’d see in any region in portugal! stuff like meat, cheese and dairy of course, but also vegetables grown in the islands, local teas and jams, biscuits and tinned stuff, and even pizza!

i wish i had some of these in the mainland too though, they were great — especially the cheeses and breads!

in azores

architectural details

there’s a couple of things we noticed in pico, which were later explained by our friendly neighbours. one of them were the volcanic stones on the rooftops that could be seen everywhere around the island.

these are just to hold the roof tiles against the winds, which can be fierce in the middle of the atlantic. volcanic stones are available everywhere you look, so a fringe of them helps protect the edge of the roof. modern roofs in the island are now held with little metallic hooks, which is probably safer though less picturesque.

another thing we noticed is these boxy constructions next to the houses:

they’re called cisternas, and their purpose is to store water, which is a precious and scarce resource in a young volcanic island with no permanent rivers. it rains often in the islands though, so lots of old houses had them attached, with the roof of the house pointing towards the top of the cisterna. our neighbours told us that when they moved to pico, they were worried their own house’s cisterna wasn’t big enough to accommodate a family with three children, but that they could buy more and have it delivered, if need be.

i thought this was interesting — such an elegant and simple solution to a rather important problem. maybe once we buy the house, we can somehow craft a mini-cisterna to water our own garden… :D

in azores

nice neighbours

we’ve been really lucky with the neighbours we’ve had in our life so far, all friendly and polite (or just absent). we hear such horror stories sometimes, that i really appreciate the fact that all of ours have been great. it seems that this rule extends to holiday “neighbours” as well, as the people in the house next to ours in pico kept regaling us with stories about the island and feeding us sweets and produce from their plentiful garden…

… including this huge bunch of 17 (!!) bananas that their son had grown! :D we couldn’t refuse it, but with just 2 days before our flight back to the mainland, it was a challenge to eat so many bananas in such a short period of time… i didn’t even know you could grow bananas in azores, but now the islands taste like bananas in my memory!