Saturday, 18 June 2016

Azores - A Day Trip Around Pico

Hi everyone,
Yesterday we took the ferry across to Pico and scootered around the island.  It was cloudy in the morning but cleared up later.  We went up the mountain as far as one can drive - and a very spectacular drive it is too.

We departed Horta at 0700, just getting to the ferry in time.  The ferry is modern and comfortable.  We arrived at Madalena on Pico island at about 0730 and collected our scooter.  We drove into town and found a cafe for breakfast - friendly and very cheap.

Flower-lined fields and roads
From Madalena we drove inland on a road which just keeps ascending.  We found the turn-off for the mountain and unsurprisingly the road just got steeper.  The cattle got woolier too!  At the end of the road we had a coffee at the visitor centre before heading back down the mountain via a different road which took us down to the south coast.  On the way down we passed through a layer of thick cloud which was fun.  Startled a few cattle along the way.

Too tall and too chilly to climb today! 
We drove all the way along the south coast to Ponta do Castelete, the easternmost point of Pico.  All the fields, gardens and properties are bounded by black volcanic rock walls.  Very pretty.  We stopped at several towns and at one bought some bread and cheese at a local store.  One cuts a wedge of cheese from the wheel and pays by weight.  Very civilised, very cheap and lovely cheese.

Coastal view - note the volcanic stone walls around the fields
We stopped at the town of Lajes do Pico for a local fish'n'chips lunch.  There is a port there with a small marina.  The town is nice with tree-lined streets leading in and out of the central area.
Sunny north coast
The north coast was almost completely clear of cloud and we had a very pleasant drive westward.  We stopped at several places to explore on foot.  Pico is a big island to drive around on a low powered scooter in one day so sadly we couldn't stop anywhere for long.

We arrived back in Madalena as planned with a couple of hours spare.  We strolled around the town and visited a local wine store where we bought a couple of bottles as a keepsake.  Twas a very pleasant day.

Departing Madalena
Inside the famous Peter's Sport Bar
Back in Horta we met the crew of Dutch yacht Stamper at Peter's Sport Bar to discuss the weather outlook.  The weather looks pretty good and Stamper departed this morning.  We expect to depart tomorrow (Saturday) morning when we hope there will be a little more wind.

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