Azores – São Jorge Island

It’s not easy to talk about this small Island, because it’s so different from any other place I’ve ever been.

Azores was considered the best European destiny of 2016, which already says a lot about the quality of these islands. It’s composed by 9 islands, and the difficult part is to choose what to visit. For me it was easy to decide, even if most of the people go to São Miguel, the biggest Island with magical places, I went were I’d a place to sleep. I’ve a cousin living in São Jorge since a few years ago, and I’ve decided to make him a surprise, but well, when I told him I was going to visit him and I said the date, he answered back: “That’s exactly the day I’m flying to Lisbon!”. Because he’s a super cousin, he allowed us to stay in his small farm, all we had to do was take care of his kittens.

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The first opinion we had about people was that everyone was amazing. One of his friends gave us his car keys, showed the most important places nearby and the location of the house. And the neighbours were so nice and welcoming! They even gave us fresh milk! First time I’ve tried it. And then we’ve met a guy in the city, and he introduced us to all of his family, a woman in a shop gave me traditional cakes for us to try and another man took us to see his coffee plants. But then we went to the north part of the Island, and it was kind of scary. People were not very friendly, and some man were even complaining we were in the café, since we’re not from that village (aahaha!). My cousin was very surprised when I told him about this, and he said he had nice experiences there (maybe in Summer, I guess!). The Island is 8 km large, and it seems a completely different world.

But, the north was also my favourite place! When we arrived by plane I would swear it was impossible to be in the north part of the island, because the landscapes are so abruptly high. I was wrong! There’s a few places where it’s possible to go by car, and some other by moto or walking. We didn’t have much time, so we choose to go to Fajã da Caldeira, known worldwide by its’ waves. The two nice ladies living in my cousin’s street told us the best way to go there, and after a lunch in a fish restaurant, we’ve started to explore the region. As they said, we went down, down, down, to Fajã dos Cubres, where we left the car, and started walking to Fajã da Caldeira. The path is amazing, it’s safe, but not very large, and completely inside the nature, which is so green and welcoming. After 5km we’ve started to see the waves, and the small houses, and we ended up in a rocky beach, watching four guys surfing in amazing waves. This was really when the magic began inside me. Once I stopped and I looked around I understood how amazing the place was. Even the colours seemed special! I couldn’t see the way I’ve just walked because it’s so deep in the nature. I couldn’t see any other roads. The houses were also behind us. I felt like in one of those places we can only see in documentaries in television. Before leaving I took some time to meditate, and it was so easy to be calm there.

And there’s so much more: the smell and the colour of the land, the horses, the cows and the birds, Pico Island with its amazing mountain in front of us, the calm everywhere, all the possible trekkings, the houses in places you can’t even imagine how they were built, and the ocean of course.

São Jorge has 9000 people, two cities, two supermarkets! I didn’t know a city could be so small, or that a Portuguese supermarket wouldn’t have all the products I’m looking for. I never realized some European Islands don’t have hospitals. I never realized that if the ocean is bad, there’s no fish to sell. São Jorge is a small, small Island, it’s part of my country, in the middle of the Atlantic, not so far from home, and yet with a lot to teach! Traveling is always learning!

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