There wasn’t much opportunity to get out and about the island on our first two or three days here, us being fully occupied with cleaning and sorting stuff out on the boat. The big cleanup after a couple of months’ cruising is quite an operation. Anyway, with everything shipshape once more, we could set off yesterday with a clear conscience.
We treated ourselves to some new hiking boots and gave them a pretty severe trial with a trek of perhaps 35km. We hadn’t really intended to walk quite so far, but our luck with hitching in the morning wasn’t good, so we ended up hoofing it all the way across the island to the trailhead for the hike we had in mind.
Ilha Verde, they call it – the green island. The lush greenery, rolling hills and volcanic peaks were a soothing sight after the semi-arid terrain of southern
Dairy cattle there are in abundance, grazing meadows lined with bright hortensia hedgerows (we’ve already enjoyed some of the fine cheeses that result). Every little farm truck, and even the occasional horse and cart still seen, bear their load of steel milk cans. The cows here don’t come in to be milked, instead the farmers head out to the high terraced pasture with a portable milking machine and do the business there. We took a wrong turn along a beautiful forest track and came across a young lad waiting for the evening milking hour, listening to the radio in his truck and drumming on an empty milk can to pass the time.
The main objective of our hike was the trail around the crater rim that encloses Lago Azul. Unbelievable stunning scenery, timeless in itself, but we were rudely reminded of the age we live in by the obnoxious presence of a rave going down on the lakeshore and a Jeep rally progressing over the same trail. The Jeep rally at least had one beneficial consequence for us in the form of a ‘Promobar’ midway around the rim.
We escaped this nonsense by cutting off the official trail and heading down towards the coast and the fishing
After our encounter with the cowherd, our hitching luck improved and we caught a lift down to the black lava sand beach at Mosteiros where we refreshed ourselves with a cooling dip in the sea.
We were definitely flagging by this point and it was still 35km back to Ponta Delgada, so it was with some relief that we picked up a lift that brought us all the way back.
Not feeling nearly so ambitious today. We’re hoping to get along to one of the
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