Northern coastline and Furnas, São Miguel

We enjoyed the stunning coastline on our short drive from Capelas to Porto Formoso with lots of little side-trips along dirt roads.

We visited Cha Gorreana, the oldest and only remaining tea plantation on São Miguel. The Azores is the only place in Europe where tea is grown, this dating back to the 19th century. This plantation has been in operation since 1833 and still uses machinery from the industrial revolution – but it works! Because of the climate here and lack of insects, the tea plants are absolutely untreated other than pruning. They mature in their sixth year and continue to produce and live for 90 years! Harvest is from March until October. It is a tasty brew indeed!

We arrived in Furnas descending into the crater. A picturesque and very tidy little spa town – all the villages and towns we have passed through have been immaculate. We checked into our hotel Terra Nostra Gardens Hotel which adjoins the beautiful Terra Nostra botanical gardens. A marvelous collection of Camelias and a variety of Azalias were in bloom. We enjoyed the majestic trees, lush greenery and, especially, the palm tree-sized ferns.

And then a relaxing dip in the iron rich thermal pool….. ah!

Dinner at Restaurante Bar Caldeiras & Vulcões – cozido! more later … update! We couldn’t have the cozido because it required a 24-hour prior booking! Oh well! we enjoyed wonderful locally sourced food and wine! We would definitely return.

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