Saturday, June 3 – Furnas, Caloura, Vila de Aqua de Pau

We woke up to the nicest morning we have had thus far…of course, as we leave this evening. Seems to always be the way it works – or maybe it’s the perspective of knowing you are about to leave that changes the perception of the weather?!

Regardless, we laid in bed for a while with the doors to the valley wide open and listened to the birds going crazy in the morning air before heading down to breakfast. I was in complete denial about packing, so that didn’t happen at all until just before 11am.

It had already cooled off a lot and had even gotten cloudy by the time we checked out at 11am. We decided to walk around down town for a bit to check in the stores one last time to see if we could get the great chocolate waiter things we had bought earlier in the week – but it was sad because there weren’t any there! Fortunately, though, we weren’t starving, so it isn’t really like it mattered!

We walked back to the Bolos Levandos bakery we found and bought a few more for the road as well as sat and ate the most killer piece of cheesecake I have ever had in my life. It was basically like eating a huge whipped chunk of fresh cheese topped with fresh strawberries. It was amazing. Definitely unnecessary, but amazing none the less.

When we finally made our way back up to the hotel parking lot where we had left the car, it was starting to clear off again, so we decided to drive in the direction of the airport and find a beach to hang out at for a couple of hours. We followed the map and found an “outdoor pool” area. It was a really neat area in the town of Caloura (we tried to avoid the big cities), but it was definitely not a beach.

It was a beautiful, rocky cove with a restaurant hanging off the side of one of the cliffs above the crashing waves and a lower rocky access point to a deep swimming area. But there was no beach. For diving or “lane swimming” it would have been great. But it wasn’t super for beaching as there was no sand and no beach. We sat on the warm volcanic rocks for a good half hour or so and watched a snorkeler go up and down collecting muscles or oysters and enjoyed the waves crashing before we decided to go in search of another beach.

We continued on the smaller highway through the rest of Caloura into a really cute little town called Vila de Agua de Pau. The brick houses were nestled in a little ravine lush with trees and only accessible by very windy seemingly one-lane roads that were actually two lane roads. I spotted the beach access sign at the last minute as they do not give much notice for where to turn where and Shawn had to go up the snaking road until he could find a place to turn around and go back down.

We passed a beautiful hotel with a complete front of windows and continued watching the mirrors to let us know if someone was approaching in the opposite direction as we wound down the side of the mountain towards the water. At the parking, I knew we had found a great beach! There was ample parking and a huge set of concrete stairs going down to a grey-black beach with beautiful cliffs on one side and waves crashing on the rocks on the other side. The waves were a perfect semi-circle.

We pulled out our travel towels and sat down to enjoy our like fourth meal of the day – some bolos levandos we bought earlier today – and soaked up the heat. The water was cold, but after watching some teenage girls trying to impress some teenage boys by jumping waves completely clothed in their leggings and tied up t-shirts, I convinced Shawn we had time to go into the water before catching our plane!

He was a good sport and ran back up the stairs to the car to grab our swimsuits and we hid behind towels and changed on the beach. The water was a bit cold at first but totally worth it! The waves were awesome and we could do some great body surfing! The beach actually extended out into the water a long way, so we could walk endlessly it seemed – far enough that we didn’t want to walk out any further for not being able to see our stuff easily on the beach any longer. It was an amazing way to end our time in the Azores!

After carefully changing behind towels and attempting to be as least sandy as possible, we headed back up to the car and off to the airport. Albeit a bit grumpily.

Soon, we take off from Ponta Delgada and spend the night in the Lisbon hostel we stayed in before we left. Then, tomorrow morning, we leave from Lisbon and head to Dublin where we will actually spend the night in yet another hostel as we did not have time to connect properly for our flights without spending the night. Finally, on Monday morning we fly from Dublin to London where we spend only about 4 hours before catching our last flight to Calgary.

It is a long trip home. Especially because we just learned that there are direct flights from Toronto to the Azores! So, next time, we will have to do that instead!

Regardless of all the flights, it has been an awesome trip with lots of different experiences, environments, foods, and people!

Until next time!

-Allison and Shawn

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