I apologize for the postings from the last days...I was not very organized and I only hope that it made some sense. I was not sure what type of internet connection we might find and then when we did find one - I didn't have much time to upload the journal and the photos. I will look it over when we have more time and let you all know if I made any big mistakes. This was the first morning that we had to be up early. We had a tour of part of the island today and the tour left at 9:30 a.m. - which after the last week - was very early for us. We ordered room service for 7:30 and that also served as our wake up call. Looking outside it certainly looked like we were in for rain or dreary damp weather all day. So much for the Azore Highs
! We thought about canceling our tour - but then decided that it would be nice to see some of the scenery - so we would forge ahead. We scored the front row seat on the bus and as we were boarding the bus the sun was coming out and the clouds over the mountains in the high country - as they call it - were clearing. We started the drive through some small villages and many, many dairy farms. The green grass is definitely a bonus for these cows - the milk and cheese must be great. One interesting thing about the milking of the cows is that they have portable milking machines and they use those in the fields instead of having the cows come down to a milking barn. What service. The cows must be happier than those in California - or Costa Rica for that matter. The higher we went the more volcanic the soil and the cooler the temperatures. There are many Japanese Cypress trees planted along the road and can you believe - although they are not in bloom now - the roads are all lined with Hydrangeas, Azaleas and Ginger! It must be just beautiful in the summertime! We made a stop along the way to an area overlooking part of the coastline - a few photos will come from that stop. Then we made our way up to the Crater Lakes at the extinct crater, Caldeira de Sete Cidades (Crater of the Seven Cities) - 1,900 feet above sea level. These lakes - which are 8 miles in circumference - and separated by a narrow bridge - have two distinct colors. The larger lake is Blue - the color of the eyes of a Princess - and the smaller lake is Green - the color of the eyes of the Shepard Boy that the Princess was in love with
. These lakes were formed when they cried after their final meeting - upon which she was then to marry a Prince - since the Shepard Boy was not worthy of her - according to her father - that is how one lake became green and the other blue. Of course the blue lake is larger as girls cry more than boys...so says the tour guide. Well - the skies were not too bright - therefore you will not really see a difference in the color of the water - but still - it was very nice. There was a lady there making cornhusk dolls - Mom - you could go into business here if you still remember how to make them. We returned to the city of Ponta Delgada and were dropped off near the Maritime Museum and then we walked back into town for a little shopping and to find an internet point to try and catch up a bit on e-mail and these travelpods. The internet on the ship is slow and at the rate of $.50 / minute, we are only checking briefly the e-mail every other day. After we reach Lisbon then we should be in good shape - and then once we reach Barcelona - we have internet connection in our flat so we should be online all the time. We don't have too much going on the rest of the day today and tomorrow. Jim is feeling much better, the cough syrup is helping his cough - which we think was just a sinus problem - and not a cold. He also bought many pills today at the pharmacy for headaches and we should be in good shape now for that. Marlyn - thank you for being prepared to send the Excedrin to us! We are at sea tomorrow on our way to Lisbon. Oh yes, we have a new Captain. Now I think maybe one other reason we were early to the Azores was that our Captain from the start of the journey was getting off the ship for his 10 week vacation.
Day 08 - Sete Cidades of Porta Delgada - Sao Miguel - Azores - Portugal