azores streetscape

Azores Impressions

Azores Impressions map
Azores Location

Where do Azores impressions come from?  Where do any impressions come from?  I think they start with expectations.  I came to the Azores with few expectations.  I knew that they were a chain of islands that are part of Portugal.  I had heard that there was excellent hiking to be found, and that the weather should be nice. When I told people that I was going to the Azores I found that most people had heard of the place, but few had a solid idea about where it is and what is there.  These expectations were the basis of what became my impressions.

Azores Impressions - SATA Airlines
The Azorean airline SATA flies between islands as well as to mainland Europe and North America (Toronto and Boston)

I got on a jet at Lisbon and we were soon free of the continent and out over the endless-seeming ocean.  An hour and a half later we descended to a small, laid-back airport along the rocky coast near Ponta Delgada.  Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island is the principal city of the Azores so offers the best set of connections to the other islands.  I flew from there to Santa Maria and Faial islands during the course of my stay – short flights on good sized prop planes.

These are volcanic islands that each feature one or more prominent volcanic features — mountains and rimmed craters.  The fourth of the islands that I visited was Pico.  I traveled there by a ferry fromHorta on Faial to Madalena, the biggest town on Pico.  Pico features the highest elevation point among all of the islands.

Azores Impressions - Ponta do Pico
Approaching Madalena on Pico Island with Ponta do Pico, Portugal’s highest peak in the background

 

Azores Impressions - sea wall
Piles of concrete castings form an interesting sea wall structure

Although it wasn’t what attracted me, you can’t miss the ocean environment and the maritime culture.  Each island has at least one harbor and there are miles and miles of rugged coastline punctuated with the occasional sandy beach.  Whale watching boats, diving, and deep sea fishing are popular attractions.

Azores Impressions - sea wall art
They also provide an interesting setting for various art expressions

Azores Impressions - sea wall art

Azores Impressions - sea wall art

Azores Impressions - ship at Horta
Each island I visited had port facilities
Azores Impressions - Ferry
Although there are a number of ferry services, most of the islands are far enough apart that air service seems more practical. Horta on Faial Island and Madalena on Pico Island are close enough together to be an exception.
Azores Impressions - maritime history
There is a rich maritime history … Columbus stopped at the Azores on his most famous voyage.

Azores Impressions - maritime history

Azores Impressions - beach
Blue waters and beautiful beaches are also plentiful

AzoresImpressions - beach

Azores Impressions - cliff
There is plenty of rugged coastline as well

Azores Impressions - marina

Catholic churches are typically at the center of cities, towns, and villages.  Many are ancient.

Azores Impressions - church
Churches and cathedrals seemed to share a fairly common architectural style, but came in many shapes, sizes, and vintages

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Azores Impressions - church

Streetscapes are often idyllic routes of cobblestone that wind past shops and follow hilly terrain.

Azores Impressions - streetscape

Interesting and distinctive public art is common.  The art is both formal but also in the form of ad hoc street art.

Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art

Azores Impressions - cats
Life imitates art?

Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art

Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street artAzores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - streetscapeAzores Impressions - street art
Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - streetscape Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - street art Azores Impressions - scooter

I happened to park my scooter next to a great bit of graffiti one day

Azores Impressions - vonzipper
I’m not sure about this business’ tagline
Azores Impressions - field trip
Fieldtrip

Azores Impressions - street art

The marketplaces can be colorful and photogenic.  The climate supports locally grown oranges, bananas, pineapple, and other fruits & vegetables.

Azores Impressions - marketplace
Marketplace in Horta

Azores Impressions - market goods Azores Impressions - market goods

Azores Impressions - market goods

Azores Impressions - market goods Azores Impressions - market goods

The old world architecture makes for romantic streetscapes.

Azores Impressions - architecture

Azores Impressions - architecture

Azores Impressions - architecture

AAzores Impressions - architecture

Azores Impressions - architecture

Cobblestone sidewalks are an art form in of themselves.  I enjoyed watching and monitoring the progress of a crew building a sidewalk over several days.

Azores Impressions - cobblestone art

Azores Impressions - cobblestone art

Azores Impressions - cobblestone art Azores Impressions - cobblestone art Azores Impressions - cobblestone art

Azores Impressions - cobblestone art Azores Impressions - cobblestone art

A “tasca” is a pub offering local specialties in a pub-like atmosphere.  Wine is certainly a Portuguese specialty, but my interest is more in beer – read about my experience with the beer culture here.

AzoresImpressions - Tasca
The name of this tasca happened to be Tasca.

Azores Impressions - Tasca

Azores Impressions - Tasca
Fava bean and pork shoulder stew with black beer
Azores Impressions - dinner
stone grilled steak

Azores Impressions - dinner

Azores Impressions - live music

Fado is a unique, entertaining style of folk music.

Azores Impressions -cafe street

I think I could have done all of my getting around on foot and by public transit, but I found it convenient to rent a scooter for several of the days I was on Sao Miguel.

Azores Impressions - author and scooter
me and my trusty scooter
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