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Published: June 27th 2014
Happy Birthday Eliza. Had the most amazing day again today...seem to be having so many of them these days. We hired a car and picked it up at 10am. Cost us E30 and E10 for insurance but that was much cheaper than any other company we found. We actually found the place by accident whilst looking for the Immigration place, we walked past this little shop and just ‘enquired’ ended up booking a car on the spot. So today we took off, and headed around the island in an anti-clockwise direction. We got off the main highway and took the narrow coastal roads. Lots of stunning scenery. We visited all the main towns and got out to walk around at Praia Da Vitoria. This is where the other marina is, but it’s much smaller, better protected, but we both like where we are now better. We visited a huge church which is called “Main Church” it was stunning. Went to Biscoitios and went to the Vino Muse (Wine Museum) but the lady there was too busy talking to her friend to serve us so we left without even tasting any port. We were going to drive up a pico (hill) but
when we got to the end of the road we saw that we needed 4wd to get up, or walk, so as it was raining, I got out, took a few photos of the surrounding farm plots and then we started to drive back. We passed some guys working in a plot and as we waved to them, one called out “you want to take photo of cabbage?” Well, that wasn’t in my top 10 to photograph, but a called back “Yeah, that would be great”. He came over with his cabbage and asked where we were from. When we told him we were from Australia his response was..”Ahh, I don’t believe you!!” No, I don’t believe it! Then we told him we had sailed here and he didn’t believe that even more!! He showed us the 2 types of cabbages he was growing in that plot. And told us that he knew about Australia...he watches about it on TV... you know....Master Chef!!! Well, I didn’t know Aust was famous for Master Chef, but there you go. He asked if we wanted cabbage and we said sure..how much? “No, you have, you have” he insisted. He was such a lovely
man, and we were standing in the drizzle, chatting to him about Master Chef and how he didn’t believe us for at least 15mins. He owns a few plots – one of corn growing on the other side of the road, also potatoes (why couldn’t he have been harvesting potatoes instead of cabbage??) The rock fences for his plots are over 400 years old) The farming countryside is just so beautiful, mainly to do with the rock fences!!
We trudged on, had an amazing lunch at 2:30pm at a restaurant in Altares and then went on to find the caves. The rain increased so I thought we wouldn’t see the caves, but as it turns out, you go into a building, buy your ticket and walk down into the caves from there, so no bother about the weather at all!! Gruta do Natal, the first cave is a series of lava tubes that you walk through. Just stunning, you can see the lava marks clearly and you really know you are in a lava tube. The colours and textures on the walls were amazing. The floor, so....volcanic (words just can’t describe). Then we went on to Algar do Carvao.
This one is an actual volcano where you go into it and look up the tunnel and you can see outside. It was a long descent and very, very cold. At the bottom there was a small body of water and once again, the rock was stunning, so many different colours. I got a massive buzz just out of being in lava tubes and an actual volcano. I’ve been in other caves, but none that you really KNEW and could feel the movement of lava, just from your surroundings.
On the way back we saw a sign for Furnas do Enxofre. We had no idea what it was, but as it was only just up the road, decided to go and explore. We got out and saw a walkway and headed up it. It has stopped raining by now and had started to clear. We walked past a little shelter and Phil reckoned people had been using it as a toilet stop as it stank. I was behind him as I stopped to take a photo of a bird and he called out “Its sulphur”. Sure enough it there was sulphur clouds coming out of the ground at various
places. Just amazing to see.
We continued our circumnavigation of the island via the coastal roads and eventually got back around 8pm where we quickly popped into the big supermarket to get ‘heavy’ stuff while we still have a car. Such an amazing day!!!!
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