Azores: Mosteiros and Pinhal da Paz
When we first arrived, Yen said, “We’re probably going to get jaded about these views after a while.” I can report after the duration of the trip that it didn’t turn out to be true. What we did stop doing was pulling over every five miles to snap a photo. But you can see why the impulse was so strong.
He also said often, “This is like Hawaii but better!” I can’t attest to that, but it was rather stunning.
Here’s a typical little village nestled in the countryside. In fact, it’s our little village! You can just see the top of our yellow house there near the palm trees.
Like many volcanic islands, Sao Miguel has black sand beaches. They always look so stunning in photographs, don’t they?
Well, Linus was stunned anyway. Actually he was mostly fixated on battling the tide. He kept finding bits of wood and trying to throw them back to Poseiden. Every one of them returned, much to his chagrin.
Mina was rather more stoic about everything. “I’m at the beach!”
Another plug here for toddler hiking boots. It may seem a bit silly, but it sure keeps the sand out from between their toes.
Mina saw that someone had drawn a big heart in the sand. She announced, “Want to do that!” We found her a stick and she got to work leaving her mark.
Here Yen has turned around and photographed what’s facing the beach. There were a number of kids hanging around, just being beach bums. In general, Mosteiros was just a laid-back little town.
The temperature stayed in the 60s for most of our visit, so it wasn’t exactly beach weather. Even if it had been, I don’t think I would have let the kids go in the water. The waves were just so dramatic at every beach we visited. Which of course is perfect for guys like him.
After the beach, we drove around looking at the town. Yen stopped the car to let Mina look at some calves… Who turned out not to be tethered! They came running out of the lot to check out our car.
Back at home, we decided to talk to the playground. Here we’re walking in front of the house we were staying in. Linus checked out the little glass door in the wall. Most houses had them – they seem to be electricity meters?
At the playground!
Trudging back home after playing. Little Mina was so tired and hungry after a big day. But I must say: these kids handled the journey and the jet lag remarkably well. They slept all night, woke in the morning ready to roll, and just generally went with the flow. Little travel pros!
Here’s Linus headed toward the front door of our house. Aren’t those shutters charming? Unlike on our own house, they aren’t just for show: you can close them to block sun or wind from the windows or the doors.
The front of the house.
After a good night’s sleep, we decided to visit a park before our friends arrived. We drove about half an hour through what seemed the middle of nowhere before we came upon this radio telescope. That reminded me that I should look up at night: almost no light pollution in the Azores!
We finally discovered Pinhal da Paz by following tiny, worn signs. If Yen hadn’t researched thoroughly, we never would have followed such signs. They payoff was good, though.
I loved this section in particular. I found that if I knocked each bamboo stalk, it made a different sound. So I could play a little song as we walked along.
We said hello to this fellow when we first entered the park. He ended up following us about halfway across the entire thing.
Linus and I stopped at some of the exercise stations. Here he’s doing curls with a big piece of wood. That’s my strong boy!
We found this little duck pond in the middle of the park. Not a lot of ducks in residence, but we enjoyed the view.
It was early Spring, but there were still flowers everywhere. I can’t imagine what it would look like in a month when all of the hydrangeas bloom.
At least we came to a little playground area. This section was full of little houses.
After eating a banana [They grow bananas on Sao Miguel, but they’re the most adorable, little things. The perfect size, actually; sometimes I find that a whole banana is a little much.] on the merry-go-round, we headed toward the main playground. Mina got to work right away.
The kids were nervous because there was a peacock hanging around. They haven’t forgotten our last trip to the Franklin Park Zoo, when a peacock thought they were after his lunch and put on a big, menacing show of feathers.
After we finished our trek through the park, we decided to head into Ponta Delgada and pick up food for dinner. We stopped along the way at a little pineapple plantation. It turns out that pineapples on Sao Miguel are actually meant to be ornamental – they’re such cute little things. We learned this after we spent a lot of money buying a few of them to eat. Oh well. They still tasted good!
Yen has been practicing Portuguese in his infinite spare time (which is to say: for 20 minutes each night while I watch Puffin Rock with the kids). They heard him saying “abacaxi” one night and took an immediate liking to the word. It’s pronounced, “uh-bock-uh-shee.” They go around saying, “You’re abacaxi, I’m a baby ‘bacaxi!” What they don’t know is that “abacaxi” means “pineapple.”
While I’m on the subject of language… When we traveled in December, Linus started saying, “Obrigado!” like a little champion (it means “thank you”). He continued it on this trip. Whenever someone gave him something, he’d shyly say, “Obrigado!” It was too cute.
Not pictured: all of the cute little lizards running around the greenhouse walls.
Each greenhouse has pineapples at a different stage of maturity, so you can see the entire process.
And here’s the irrigation system.
Now, then. We finished up, bought some groceries, and headed home. And our friends arrived! You’ll meet them in the next post.