August 19 Furnas, São Miguel. Today we took our rental car to Furnas, a small town where the volcanic activity is more visible than anywhere else on the island. There is no problem going there from Ponta Delgada, half of the way is broad and nice motorway. The rest of the road is winding along with beautiful views all the way, but you can see from point to point that there are new parts of the motorway being constructed. On the way you pass a few of the bigger beaches that are situated along the south coast.
We drove about for a while on the narrow streets until we found this restaurant with a nice view where we had a simple meal.
Furnas is well known for its calderas, hot springs with constantly boiling, sulphur smelling water. We visited those at a later occasion, this time we concentrated on the Terra Nostra Park, a wonderful botanical garden with tropical plant from all over the world. Most of all we wanted to have a swim in the big pool that is constantly being supplied with 40 degrees hot water from under ground. It was a treat to swim in the warm, ferrous water. Refreshing it was not, but luckily enough there are showers with ice cold water to get you cool afterwards.
A walk through the Terra Nostra Park is a fascinating experience. This giant of a tree, a Metrosideros Robusta from New Zealand, is next to the entrance.
In the most distant part of the park there are dense thickets of bamboo, an efficient natural fence.
I have seen many swans in my life, but this is my first encounter with a black swan.
Naturally, there are domestic plants in the park, and it is hard to think of anything more domestic on the Azores than Hortensia.
The paths go in all directions in the park, sometimes through pure jungle vegetation, sometimes through pastoral and leafy parts with ponds and streams.
There was some time to walk in the town before turning back. The calderas, the hot springs, we saved for another day, but we managed to have a look at the upturned house. The architect thought it was a splendid idea until he used the bathroom for the first time.
A nice view from Furnas. The millwheel is turning, but that is all it does. The bougainvillea is magnificent.
Close-up of the bougainvillea.
Finally a picture from the terrace of our hotel room in Ponta Delgada. Not much of a view, but then again we didn’t spend much time at the hotel.