Sunday, 29 May 2011

Azores and Animal Stories

After children's books with secret tunnels, ones with uninhabited islands used to be practically my second favourite. Again, Kirrin Island in the Famous Five, and all the places that Swallows and Amazons used to have their adventures, and later, the archipelago in the Earthsea Stories. I've kind of held onto this fondness for islands, so it wasn't suprising that when I got a chance to go to the Azores islands they turned into officially my favourite place in the world. Quite, quite amazing. Probably I'm going to write three or four Azores posts, about the different islands and the things you can do there. There are nine islands, stuck in the middle of the Atlantic, all different and allfantastic. We went first to Terceira, which is the second biggest island in terms of population. We flew from Lisbon, which is about the only realistic way to do an Azores trip. If you don't live in Portugal, and you're planning to go to the Azores, then go via Lisbon and spend a couple of days there. You might even be able to visit Quinta da Regaleira. In Terceira we stayed in Praia Vitoria, about 20 minutes from the airport, in a lovely hotel called Varandas do Atlantico. Which has very nice rooms, with ocean view balconies and really decent rates. There are buses all around Terceira. We went to Angra de Heroismo, which was the first capital of the Azores, a beautiful old Portuguese town, with wide streets of elegant houses and a stunning harbour with cliffs on two sides. It has a tiny park with a pond filled with millions of frogs, (see the picture) The road winds along the cliff tops, through astonishingly green countryside, chopped up into TINY fields by millions of walls made from black volcanic stone, completley cool landscape. We got a cab into the mountains in the middle of the island, again, wierdly green, and all tumbling down steeply to the ocean in the distance, visible from practically everywhere. We found another pond high in the crater of an extinct volcano, where the frogs were so many and so loud it was deafening. More animal stories about Terceira to follow, bulls and wild cattle next...


  1. Hi! You've just taken me right back to a fabulous holiday I had in the Azores 8 or 9 years ago. It is one of the most places I've ever been... truly inspiring and captivating. We did some island hopping by plane but my favourite island was Terceira... beautiful!
    Although I'm British I've lived in Portugal (Algarve) since I was 10 (25 years!!)
    Best wishes
    Suzy Turner, YA urban fantasy and chick lit author

  2. Hi Suzy, glad I brought back good memories. I liked Terceirea too, still I think I have to go with Faial...