Azores: Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde – Take 2

Remember that time we went to Rome and in a single day visited the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon? And how afterward I started to think, “I can’t wait to get back to work and get some rest”? This vacation was the opposite. Despite arriving from very different time zones, we naturally fell into a beautiful schedule: up around 8am, breakfast until 10am, figure out where to go, drive there slowly and with lots of photo stops, eat something, hike, and head home for a leisurely dinner. There isn’t a single thing we could have done to make it all more relaxing. Well, except maybe I could have slept somewhere other than with Linus, who clings to you like a tiny monkey when he sleeps – which is fabulous most of the time, but around 2am becomes incredibly hot.

Anyway. So now our friends have arrived. We met them almost exactly seven years ago when we were in Costa Rica, and have stayed in touch. The last few years we exchanged a series of emails that went something like this:

“Want to try to vacation together?”

“Sorry – we are expecting / just had a baby.”

At last, though, our families have settled and we were able to make it happen.

If you know me well, you know that I’m awfully protective of my downtime with the family. And I’ll admit that I was nervous that vacation wouldn’t be relaxing with another family around – with its own routines and chemistry and so forth. But my fears were so incredibly unfounded. I enjoyed every minute with them, and hope very hard that we can work out another vacaiton with them – and soon! The kids in particular were so taken with them. As I write this a week later, Mina has spent the entire morning saying, “Cindy is beautiful. Cindy should come to our house.”

She does call Peter “the big one,” but I think he’s not offended.

Now, after that long preamble… Let’s leave the house and get on with the day. Here’s Mina stepping onto the porch and into the little side yard, which is dominated by large camillia bushes.

Varzea, São Miguel, Azores

The weather looked a little better than when we visited the lakes, so we decided to try again. Yen had discovered a road that goes along the crater rim and wanted to drive it. In hindsight, we really shouldn’t have driven on it. But it gave us rather incredible views.

Crater rim road to Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

We hopped out approximately once each mile to snap photos – which is why Linus isn’t wearing socks here. I just grabbed him out of the car for a quick shot.

Crater rim road to Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

Here’s a look back toward the sea. I think that’s our little village down there.

Crater rim road to Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

Here’s a look at the road. Seems fine enough, I guess. Keep in mind that we were in a Ford Fiesta. And that the road began with a big sign with an open red circle – which of course means “nope.”

Crater rim road to Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

Crater rim road to Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

You can see the road here heading on across the rim. That cell tower in the distance is near the end.

That reminds me: we had incredible cell service during this entire trip! We have TMobile, so we’re able to use our phones anywhere in the world as long as their reception. Portugal has generally been good, but Spain absolutely wasn’t. The Azores had terrific reception everywhere – we were even able to use data!

Crater rim road to Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

At the end of the road, we found workers making improvements to a parking lot. The road was so steep and had such loose gravel that they were forced to stop working and push our car. Just a little embarrassing…

The road comes out at this abandoned hotel, which would have had incredible views if it had been finished. Not sure what the backstory is – Yen thought loss of funding.

Vista do Rei, São Miguel, Azores

The view from those steps.

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

At last we came to what is probably the most famous little trail on Sao Miguel. Here’s Linus trudging along gamely.

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

And here we all are. Peter and Cindy are behind me. Jamie is back there too, but I’m blocking him.

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

Yes, I was incredibly nervous. Now you can see why I had a grip on each child along the way. I told Linus, “If you fall, I think we’ll never see you again.”

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

This is the payoff. Rather worth it, don’t you think?

The entire island is windy, but this was just ridiculous.

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

There’s Jamie! He’s four, so naturally he is sullen in front of the camera. Never mind – we’ll keep trying!

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

Notice Peter’s camera. He and Yen had a terrific time trying to out-photographer each other. “You have a tripod? Well, look at mine!”

Boca do Inferno, São Miguel, Azores

We headed back down into town for a little lunch. There were flowers everywhere, of course.

Green Love restaurant, Sete Cidades, São Miguel, Azores

Green Love restaurant, Sete Cidades, São Miguel, Azores

There we go! Now you can see what a cutie Jamie is. I wasn’t sure how he and Linus would get along without a common language. But they simply didn’t care – they just played as if they’d known each other always.

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

We tried to get a nice Tran photo out there too, but you know how my kids are… And then getting off the ramp again was something of an adventure. Luckily Peter is an expert in Toddler Catching.

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

Here you can see what all the trouble was. The step to get out onto the jetty was just about the same length as Mina.

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

Then we had a little walk, dodging raindrops from time to time.

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

Mina was quite taken with Jamie and followed him around as much as she could keep up with him. Later you’ll see some adorable shots of them walking around holding hands.

Lagoa Azul, São Miguel, Azores

And now a little rest and we’ll head out again!