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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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

Hiking The Azores: Along The Coast And Through Picos Vinyards

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Hiking The Azores: Along Levada do Serra do Faial

This trail was clearly one of our hiking highlights on the Azores. It follows an old water channel (Levada) through dense jungle-like forests and grasslands. As there was a hurricane just some weeks earlier, we had to climb over fallen trees a lot and there was even a bridge which was hit by a tree. On time we had to pass trough a tunnel.
As we have parked our car at the beginning of the trail we had to take a taxi to bring us back to our initial point. I guess it would have been much more exhausting if we hadn’t found one because the climb to the start was rather steep.
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jewish cemetery Berlichingen Jüdischer Friedhof

House Of Eternity: The Jewish Cemetery in Berlichingen

Beth Olamin or Bet Olam is the Hebrew word for cemetery, meaning house of eternity. Unlike Christian cemeteries, the ground where the dead are buried should not be disturbed and graves should not be cleared. This means, that jewish cemeteries from the day of their inauguration, are keeping the memory of every community member for all times and are eternally growing. Eternally growing at least is not true for this sacred ground situated in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. The first burial here was probably in 1586, the last in 1936. Jewish life was nearly extinct from the region before and during WW2.

It’s this history of course which is on my mind when letting the special atmosphere of this place resonate with my small self in this vast forest and fields in the middle of nowhere far outside the village. But as well something more. Eternity is beautiful and visible here and makes me reflect on evanescence and being reclaimed by and becoming eternal nature one time.

Other jewish cemeteries:

 

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Bright Sunshine And An Angelic Choir In Cambridge

We made an excursion to Cambridge which is a wonderful and very well arranged accumulation of British architecture. Our time was short and so we doubted at first if we should visit King’s College Chapel where there was a service accompanied by the famous King’s College Boys Choir. It would have been so wrong to miss that. The architecture of the chapel and the otherworldly chants impressed us deeply.

Our second favorite thing was the ice-cream we got from a Jack’s Gelato on Bene’t Street. Yummy Earl Grey and prunes flavor. Could it get more British?

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