Sete Cidades

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, June 5, 2006

I've decided that this isn't the forum to tell tall tales of terrible travellers, but to wax lyrical about the places and people I've met ... and throw in a few tales for good measure.

The tour leading life is proving tiring and somewhat frustrating. Despite my notation that I'm not a Tour Guide as such, that I won't know everything about everything (let alone the entire 53 endemic species of plant and 700 introduced species), I can look it up, it's a bit frustrating when one of my group offers me their guidebook.

I barely restrain myself from snapping, "I already told you that I have that bloody guidebook, thank you very much!", and just smile sweetly and agree, "Yes, it's a great book isn't it. I just love those Bradt guides..."

Barely sleeping, being wound up, apologetic, enthusiastic, and generally wearing myself out characterises this first trip or two. And my group are very sweet to me.

Who is looking after who??

But Sao Miguel is lovely, the Ilha Verde, green Island. It's the biggests of the Azores islands at 749km square, and has half the population. It's a veritable metropolis, though here in teh countryside you'd never guess.

Sete Cidades is on of the main atrtractions and Day 2 of our itinerary. When Goncalo Velho Cabral, right hand man to portugal's Prince Henry, discovered the island in 1427 he saw volcanic mountains at the east and west ends of the island.

When Goncalo returned in 1444 the western volcano had disappeared and there were oinous rumblings. What followed were known as the Years of Ashes as the volcano erupted. But in doing so, had also subsided on itself. What's left is a caldiera, a basin rather than a steep crater.

Inside the caldeira are smaller caldieras. The greenery has taken over and the rainwater filled the deepest parts, forming the Green and Blue lakes, Lagoas Azul e Verde

But if you believe the myths then they are formed by the tears of two parted lovers: the Princess and The Shepherd Boy.
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