Hiking The Azores: The Mystery behind The Mistérios Negros

The hike: wonderful and fascinating hike which is only around 6 kms long with an altitude change of only 100 meters, but heavens, those meters!
We started at Gruta do Natal. From here the hike starts very easily. If there was rain the days before, you should really consider to wear waterproof boots (I don’t say that frequently :)), the entire area is very wet and you won’t be able to not walk through puddles or mud on your way. Gradually the hike gets more complicated and shortly next to the misterios negros you will definitely use both of your hands and be happy about the good shoes, a pole and packing light.
You will be gratified with stunning views over silent lakes, dense and mystic underbrush and a real rainforest atmosphere. About 1,5 km before returning to Gruta do natal you’ll have a wonderful view over the hilly landscape and the misterios negros.
The Misterios Negros are streams of cold lava. People in former times weren’t able to explain what it is and so they called them Mistérios Negros – black mysteries.
If you want you can additionally climb Pico Gaspar (ca. 50m of elevation). Gruta do natal is not open on sundays and opens at 14:30 all the other days. If you are by car, go for the near fumaroles afterwards.

 

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The misterios negros

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Bye-bye Azores, we had a great time!

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Azores: Impressions Of Beautiful Terceira Island

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At the crater (Star Wars Edition :-))

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At A Farmers Market

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The Fumaroles

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Azores: A Guided Tour Through The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição in Angra

We met the priest of the church just when we wanted to leave and he offered to explain his church to us. Unfortunately his English wasn’t as advanced as his enthusiasm was (and neither was our Portuguese). But we really enjoyed the tour where he told us about the saints exposed in the church, the Flemish style paintings in the classic Portuguese altar, the baptismal font out of “singing” stone and the 400 year old seats and cabinets of “iron wood” from the Brazilian colonies. He even tried to explain something about the Jews, the Portugueses, the Spanish and the British how they lived together at the time and how it should be possible today, we tried to understand and it appeared to be really interesting, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get it.

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Azores: Impressions Of The Colorful Town Of Angra Do Heroísmo

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The jewish cemetery of Angra

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A chapel with no stairs

(I found the solution on the next house)

 

Angra from above

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In the park of Angra

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Churches

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Our Hotel in the fortress Pousada de São Sebastião

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Angra by night and some restaurant recommendations

  • Cachalote Restaurant: Frank, the owner lives on Terceira since more than 30 years. He came here from Flores and named his Restaurant “Cachalote”, which means “whale” in Portugues, in respect for the beasts which he saw being hunted and slaughtered as a child.
    Best Steak (beef!) I ever had even compared to the 60$-Steak in a fancy restaurant in NY Meatpacking District in 2009. It comes on a very hot lava stone plate and you can cut it and grill the slices on the stone after your wishes. The steak is served with three homemade sauces and french fries.
  • Restaurant Tasca das Tias: Nice interior, somehow busy service, best grilled tuna we had on the Azores
  • Restaurant Verdemaça: Small Restaurant with friendly service and comfy, traditional interior

 

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Hiking The Azores: Stormy Hike From Aldeia Del Fonte Along The Coast Trail

Just a short hike along dirt roads, because it rained and it was our last day on Pico. But the colors! And the waves! I could stare at the sea forever during this kind of weather.

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Our hotel had its own old whale watching tower. I sat there for a while, starred at the sea and tried to imagine how the vigias (the whale watchers) did do their work with only some normal low-tech binoculars. But I came to only this insight: The ocean is fucking big!

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Azores: Impressions of Pico Island

Stormy coast

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Through the mountains

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Old things in a museum

A cimeteary

Azores: Rainbows And Fog In The Highlands Of Pico Island

Pico, the island, has the same name as its mountain. With 2531m, Pico Mountain is the highest mountain in Portugal and one of the biggest European volcanoes. The last eruption has been in 1720. One of the former eruptions created another tiny mountain inside of the caldera (I’m quite sure that geologists would chose different words for this outcome :-), which gives Pico its characteristic appearance. It looks like the mountain would wear a too small party hat. Despite this funny exterior, Pico has a diginfied and wise aura. 

Hiking The Azores: Along The Coast And Through Picos Vinyards

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