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Top 5 places to visit on the island of São Miguel – Azores

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known to be discovered around 1432, the island of São Miguel belongs to the archipelago of the Azores. São Miguel Island is full of different and exuberant types of vegetation, nowadays it is known as the “Green Island”.

  1. Miradouro da Vista do Rei – Located in Sete Cidades, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful landscapes of the island, offering a view over the Green and Blue Lakes – Twin Lakes.
  2. Freguesia das Furnas – A parish with so much to offer. From its lake to the famous “Cozido à Portuguesa” prepared under the ground in the heat of the volcanoes. Also it is home to the hot springs of Dona Beija Pool and Terra Nostra Garden.
  3. Lagoa do Fogo –  Is the second largest lake of São Miguel. Lagoa do Fogo is also the highest lake of the island for being on top of a mountain, being classified as a nature reserve since 1974.
  4. Miradouro da Ponta do Sossêgo – Located on the council of Nordeste, offers a wide view of the north coast of the island. It also has a garden with various types of flowers where you can have a perfect picnic.
  5. Lagoa do Congro – A densely forested area with an amazing lake Its crystalline water is a mirror to the vegetation and wildlife.

Things that you have to taste

2018-06-04

  • Furnas stew
    Perhaps the most popular dish in São Miguel.
    This stew has pork, beef, chicken, sausage and vegetables. The “only” difference is that is cooked underground by volcanic steam.
    • Steak
    Top-quality meat, the steak in Azores is tender, juicy and delicious.
    Known as “Bife á regional” (Regional Steak), comes with local pepper, garlic and a fried egg on top.
    • Tea
    The Gorreana Tea Estate has been producing organic black, green, and orange pekoe teas since 1883.
    It’s the only tea plantation in Europe.
    You can visit the factory and see how they prepare the tea. It is the same way as they did 200 years ago.
    • Bolo Lêvedo
    Originally made in the Furnas village, it’s like a hybrid between a bagle and a sweet bread.
    You can try with jam, cheese or even as the bread for a hamburger.
    • Queijada da Vila Franca
    Originally created in a convent by nuns, these small cakes are one of the best examples of pastery goods in Portugal.

Do you know the origin of the name Azores?

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The archipelago of the Azores owes its name to the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis which in Portuguese it’s called Açor), because when the discoverers of the archipelago arrived they thought to see goshawks (Açores). It is the bird shown on the Azores flag.

Later, they concluded that the birds were, after all, a local sub species of the round-winged eagle (buteo buteo), nowadays called by the Azoreans of “milhafres” or “queimados”.

Another theory points out that the Azores comes from the name Azzurro in Italian or Azureus in Latin, which means Blue in Portuguese, as a reference to the blue sky on a bright and clear day when discovered far away from the islands. This theory is supported by another one that affirms that the islands of the Azores already appeared even in Genovese nautical charts of the 14th Century.

We have many more stories to tell, come visit us and discover the Atlantic Ocean’s best kept secret.

Legend of the princess and the shepherd in the kingdom of Sete Cidades

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The Legend of the princess and the shepherd in the kingdom of Sete Cidades is an oral tradition of the island of São Miguel in the Azores. It’s about the origin of the lagoons of the caldera of the volcano of the Sete Cidades that, although united, have two different colors, being one green and the other blue. This legend is part of the legendary complex of Sete Cidades, an ancient and mythical kingdom, lost somewhere in the great western ocean sea.

The kings of this enchanted land had a beautiful daughter who did not like being trapped between the castle walls and went out every day to the fields. She loved the green and the flowers, the song of birds, the sea on the horizon. She wandered through villages, hills, and valleys.

During one of her walks in the fields she met a shepherd, the son of simple country people who came from work with his flocks. They talked almost an entire afternoon about the things of life, and saw that they liked the same things. From this delayed conversation came love to be born and they met each day, swearing eternal love.

Nevertheless the princess already with the destiny traced by her parents she had her wedding arranged with a prince of a neighboring kingdom. And when her father heard about these meetings with the shepherd, he tried to forbid them, granting them an ultimate meeting for farewell.

When the two lovers met for the last time, they cried so much that at their feet little by little grew two ponds. One of the lagoons, with blue waters, was born from the tears shed by the princess’s blue eyes. The others, green in color, were born from the tears shed from the shepherd’s green eyes.

For the future lies, legend has it, that if the two lovers could not live together forever, at least the ponds born of their tears were forever together, they never separated.

The Azores have many legends in their oral tradition that are told from generation to generation, visit us and come to know this and other enchanted legends.

Carnaval in Ponta Delgada

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Did you know that the Azores also have their Carnival traditions? Have you ever heard of the Battle of Limes?

Well, if you want to go to the Azores during Carnival, you can expect an island party full of revelers and well-disposed people where the fun is more than guaranteed.

The highlight of the São Miguel Carnival is the traditional Battle of Limas, which takes place on Tuesday Carnival and takes to the edge of Ponta Delgada thousands of people in trucks or on foot who try to water those who pass and fight each other by transforming the seafront on a water battlefield, in a unique tradition in the country. The battle began to be of flowers, which later were replaced by files, that is, small paraffin containers produced by hand to fill with water. But these containers have been giving way to plastic bags as weapons of combat. In addition to the fighters in the trucks there are also those who choose to fight on the ground, with bags of water or files to “shoot” over who dares to pass through the place.

In addition to the Battle of the Limes, Carnival is celebrated in various places of the island with the traditional ball dances filled with glamor in the Coliseu Micaelense, as well as masks and costumes all over the island.

So if you are thinking about where to spend the next Carnival, remember that in the Azores you will have the opportunity to know a unique tradition that you will surely remember.

Photo credits: Contra Tempo

The four Thursdays before Carnival

2019-02-16

A bit of all the counties of the Azores, on Thursdays before Carnival, gather hundreds of people, first in celebration of the Dia dos Amigos (Friends Day, male), followed by the Dia das Amigas (Girl friends Day, female), then the Compadres (Godfather of our children) and finally the Comadres (Godmother of our children).

It is a tradition that values the union and the interaction between people, to which the celebrations have gained from year to year more and more adepts and dynamism.

These days end up fortify the bonds between people, but the most uniqueness of this phenomenon is the separation of the genders, making connections in which they are shared with friends (male), the following week with ladies and then compadres and comadres.

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