This is a post by Jenny
We were on the island of Sao Miguel, Acores from 10 July – 19 July. Below are a few initial impressions and information about the area. We were crazy busy there and did a lot of fun stuff, so hopefully more entries about our awesome time there to come soon!
- The nine island archipelago is in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and belongs to Portugal, though it has it’s own identity. Each island, and even different parts of an island, have their own identity, customs, and accents.
- The islands are subtropical, which means the summer highs/lows are mid 70s and low 60s. It’s hot in the sun and cool in the shade and at night. There are palm trees, but it’s not the tropical, hot, white sandy beach that people picture when you say island. I might call the weather perfect.
- The island of Sao Miguel, which is the capital island, is very hilly and nicknamed the “ihla verde” – green island. Growing stuff here is easy – there are endless rows of corn. Most people we visited were growing corn, tomatoes, peppers, and watermelon. There are vacas (cows) everywhere. The island is a former volcano, so there are craters and light, airy volcanic rocks all around.
- The main foods are bread and “meat and potatoes” – fish, chicken, pork, beef, and potatoes or French fries, often served with rice. It would be difficult to be a carb free vegetarian here. They also don’t serve anything very cold – icecream is served somewhat soupy, and milk is heated to be put into coffee. Corn on the cob is an on the go treat.
- The driving is absolutely insane. The roads are a mix of paved and cobblestone, every car is a standard, and speed limits are seemingly meaningless signs. The roads are so narrow that two cars hardly fit, yet still barrel down the road at a million miles an hour. Many of the streets in the villages are so narrow that there are no sidewalks and you fearfully speed walk or run on the narrow road,dodging to the nearest safe place at the sound of an engine.
- The people are warm, kind, and hospitable. Like most places in the world, American culture has an influence.
- Being up and out late is received a lot differently than at home. Our family went to “the city” to have a stroll and visit a carnival. In my exhaustion I was excited at 1am to head back to the car, only to be informed that our next stop was a bakery – to get fresh baked goods at 1:30 in the morning! (but I didn’t complain – it was delicious).