Jürgen Keil
Jürgen Keil
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The Azores

I was on the Azores for two months from April to June in 1999.
The Azores is a small archipelago almost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of nine islands in three groups. They belong to Portugal. The azoreans speak portugese, but because lot of azoreans left their islands work abroad the US and Canada and returned afterwards to retire, english is also very common. You will usually find someone who speaks english.

Flores, Waterfall near Fajazinha

I first started thinking about spending my holidays there almost 10 years ago when I was on holiday in Portugal and read in a travel guide about it. At that time I didn't know much about it but I realized that I needed some time to spend there to really appreciate each island. So it took 10 years to get an eight week holiday and start travelling.

In the meantime I bought every map and every travel guide I heard of. So I was pretty informed about the Islands but the information was outdated. Parts of the topographic maps for example were from the 1950's. It was difficult or even impossible to collect up-to-date information. So I was pretty amazed about what would happen when I visited the Azores. What would it be like?

Now I know. It's special.

Slides

The picture gallery now seems to be more or less complete and here it is.

Faial, view of Pico

The slides were taken on Terceira , São Jorge , Faial , Flores and São Miguel using my Nikon FM2 with the AIs Vivitar 3.5-5.3/28-200mm (sorry but I had to carry the equipment in my backpack).
If you want to know more about my photo equipment just click here . No artificial image processing like sharpening, color editing and so on has been used on the pictures. I'm not a professional so please be patient. Hope you enjoy the slides.

Weather

The Azores lie in an almost permanent high pressure zone of a sub-tropical area. That doesn't mean that the weather is "good". Actually it changes every hour. So even during summer it frequently rains and in high areas (the voulcanoes) it can become cold. When visiting the Azores be sure to have a fleece jacket and a raincoat as well as bathing cloth's. The humidity is extremely high throughout the year, so expect to sweat a lot.

Travelling

The public transport system on the Azores is not designed for tourists. Some of the buses leave a village early in the morning and go back in the evening. Most of the time they cannot be used to make day trips. Taxis exist and are an alternative, although an expensive one. You can tell the driver to drop you somewhere and pick you up somewhere else. If you have to be somewhere in time, to catch a boat or flight, don't even think about using busses, because they sometimes don't show up. I preferred to walk or to take a taxi. Except on São Miguel (and perhaps Pico ) it does not make sense to rent a car. The islands are simply too small. Two alternatives exist to travel between the islands. The External HyperlinkSata Air Azores frequently connects the islands all the year around and in summertime boats also run between the islands. The External HyperlinkAçorLine ferries regulary connects the islands between each other. I usually travel as a backpacker. If you want to now what equipment I use and how I use it click here .

What to do

The landscape is breathtaking, the natural beauty can only be appreciated if you do walking and treking on the islands. Bathing is also possible in the caldeiras, hot mineral springs and some islands have got black sand beaches. On some Islands large caves can be visited. Angra Do Herosimo on Terceira (the capital of the islands) got the UN world heritage status.

Accomodation

First: small (usually privately owned) residencials exist that are quite expensive (although less expensive than the hotels).
Second: campsites exist on almost every island that differ extremely in quality; from incredibly good to very poor. I've found the one near Cais do Pico (on Pico ) to be the most beautiful one. I can also suggest to visit the Urzelina campsite on São Jorge.
Third: the youth hostels on Terceira and São Miguel are worth a visit. I found the one on Terceira to be very good.
Fourth: most of the azoreans are very friendly. If you ask you can build up your tent almost everywhere you like.

Links

For more information on the Azores visit the:

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