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AZORES with Jason and family

We just spent three weeks visiting four of our five offspring in four different states. Our fifth family lives in Florida which is our permanent address. We are not big fans of Florida so were delighted to hear that Jason and his family were going to visit Catarina’s birthplace on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores, flying out of Boston the evening of July 5. Before hanging up from a phone call with them mid April we had already booked the same flight that they were on. They flew from Jacksonville to Boston on July 5 and we met them at the checkin counter of Azores Airlines. We have been to the Azores once before with them in 2005. We met many of Catarina’s relatives and stayed with her cousin on that visit. Since that time Jason and Catarina have been returning almost every summer and staying at an Airbnb they found near the beach in Ribeira Seca. We feel very privileged to share part of their vacation with them on such a beautiful lush green island.

Taking off from Logan for our 4 hour flight direct to the Azores. Grammy enjoyed sitting next to granddaughter Katia.
Arrival in Sao Miguel our son Jason and and our grandson Nico age 12
Left to right; our granddaughters Natalia age 16 and Katia age 17 with their Mom Catarina who was so happy to be home to her birthplace that she left at the age of 5.
We need to give this family a lesson on packing light! Jim in the background is renting a nine passenger van as their luggage won’t fit in the car they rented.
Santa Barbara beach is the local beach in the town of Ribeira Seca where we stayed. It is very picturesque with a wide shoreline of dark sand, craggy cliffs and brisk waters. It is a popular spot for surfers and watersports enthusiasts.
São Miguel is the biggest Island in the Portuguese Azores archipelago. It is known for its volcanic scenery, flora and rich marine life, including whales.
Ribeira Seca (Portuguese for dry river) is a small quaint and charming town located on a volcanic plateau above the sea.
Natalia loved the Majorca pearl earrings we bought her in Spain.
We ate dinner out every night and enjoyed the local cuisine. Catarina was very helpful in translating menus for us.
Mandatory group picture after every meal.
The waves at this beach are perfect for surfing but there is such a bad undertow that two of our grandchildren have needed to be rescued by lifeguards in the past.
We did several long walks exploring the town and really liked going into the beautiful churches with magnificent tiles.
The flowers flourish on this lush Island. The blue Hydrangeas are the most prominent flower.
Igreja de São Pedro Church. An interesting thing about the churches in Sao Miguel is that they are mostly covered by an electric frame with hundreds of lightbulbs, at night the lights are spectacular. This church is from 1830 and has three naves and a nice bell tower. Its facade is decorated with marine motifs, like an anchor.
Ponta Delgado, on Sao Miguel Island is the capital of the Azores archipelago of Portugal.
A prominent structure is the striking three arched city gates. The city is a gateway to the crater lakes of Sete Cidades, home of the famous twin lakes, one blue and one green. We saw these on our first visit here.
Catarina prebooked a tour for us which included a hike. Here we are waiting in the morning rain for the tour bus to pick us up. Not everybody was happy about this excursion as you can see on the faces of these teens.
Beautiful Hydrangeas at the start of our hike
Yes, as we mentioned not everyone was happy, especially Natalia in the background!!! Just look at that face.
The highlight of this tour was a hike through the mountains chasing waterfalls. This was the first one we saw.
The hike was moderately challenging especially the wet terrain of the forest which put us at a high risk for falling. Fortunately everyone stayed upright.
The wild flowers we saw on the hike were beautiful.
There was only one other person with us on the tour, a 21 year old Hungarian girl named Lisa (purple jacket) who had just finished walking the Camino Portuguese route. This was her first outing in the Azores. She shared with us that she had recently been sick and in bed for four days with a severe headache….. Jason sat up front with her in the car and he was the first victim to test positive for Covid. Two days later Catarina and Natalia got sick. Katia, Nico and we were all spared.
It was a great hike and the waterfalls were majestic.
Our tour guide.
This tall grove of trees were amazing.
And around the corner we came across this vine of cascading Morning Glories.
After the hike our tour guide took us to this Tea Plantation which is the oldest and currently the only tea plantation in Europe.
This was the view from the patio of the Tea Factory
Some of us sampled the different flavored teas.
Natalia found a beautiful kitty (part Siamese) that was hanging around the tea factory and pleaded with her parents to rescue it and take it home to Florida. We did check to make sure no-one from the factory owned her.
Mom and Dad said yes to the kitty and just like that she was in the tour van with us, never to have to scrounge for food again. They are truly an animal loving family. This kitty will join their other 5 cats and 5 dogs in Florida.
The final part of this tour included a stop at a beach for those who wanted to take a dip in the Ocean.
Colorful steps brought us down to some rocks to dive off.
Jason was the only one brave enough to take a dip in the chilly water.
As you can see from these photos, this is a beautiful Island and we highly recommend a visit here.
Jim took advantage of this wall to take a rest break.
Catarina had fun with her new selfie stick.
They took the cat that same day to the vet to begin the steps to take her home. As you can see from Natalia’s face, the day may have started with a serious frown but ended with a big beautiful smile. She named the kitty Tea. The hike was a success after all, oh except for the Hungarian girl passing on her Covid germs.
Last night together for awhile. We are happy to report that they are recovered from covid and enjoying the last week of their vacation. We left them after 5 days together and headed to Porto.
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