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The Islands of the Azores

Oct 29, 2014

An unusual destination that you won’t find in many holiday brochures but the islands of the Azores are hidden treasures!

During our itinerary Boudicca will dock at 3 of the 9 Azore islands – Praia Da Vitoria, Horta and Ponta Del Gada.

Blue Church.jpg

Our first port of call Praia Da Vitoria is a small town roughly a 10 minute drive from where the ship docked. Fred Olsen provided a complimentary shuttle bus to take guests to and from the town centre. Arriving into the town was like going back in time to traditional tiled pavements lined with charming café’s and boutiques offering hand crafted gifts and trinkets. The Azore Islands are famous for their skills in wicker, embroidery and pottery so it’s easy to find the perfect gift to take home!

Praia is a small town with only 21,000 people living on the island so finding your way around is very easy. It is worth while exploring the town and taking the walk to the very bottom of the hill where you will find a beautiful ornate blue and white church

Santo Cristo Church. The church is usually open and they welcome people in to have a look around the church is lined with gold and chandeliers it really is a sight worth seeing.

 

After boarding the ship in Praia Boudicca then set sail for the island of Horta! We arrived in Horta the same evening and docked there overnight. We woke up in the morning to lovely sunshine and a beautiful new marina. The walk into the main shopping area was a good 15 minutes or so but the walk took you right along the front of the marina, there are also benches dotted along the route so you can take your time wandering along. There are a number of shops selling a bit of everything and a market where locals sell their produce so you can purchase cheese made in one of the 2 small cheese factories on the Island. Feeling adventurous I booked a place on the Jeep adventure a 4 hour whistle stop tour of the island taking you off road and to the hidden treasures coaches could not reach. Horta is a island of 2 halves the top of the island is lush and green clouded by deep fog and some what chilly where the bottom of the island is dry and very warm.

 

In 1957 the biggest volcano eruption on the island took place lasting a staggering 13 days. No one was killed in the eruption but the island was changed forever. Many of the islands natives fled for America and Brazil to this day many Americans have summer houses on the island as they have native routes on the island. During our tour we also visited ‘Fire island’ the side of the island most effected by the volcano, a dark baron side to the island covered by volcanic ash and abandoned houses it truly is a harrowing site. A new tradition in Horta is for each person/ship that visits the island of Horta to leave a reminder of them at the harbour, I was amazed how fast the talented crew on board Boudicca managed to design the below image of Boudicca:

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Our last port of call in the Azore islands it the cosmopolitan island of Ponta Delgada. With a brand new marina to welcome the cruise lines in littered with bars, restaurants and shops it’s a beautiful welcome to a lovely island. Walking along the marina there are a number of local tours available we opted for a traditional horse and carriage ride around the island with a colourful characted Jose Alfonso, locally born and bred he took us on a whistle stop tour of all the local landmarks and even booked us a table in his favourite restaurant for lunch!

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Later that day we decided to try the open top bus tour around the island, a absolute steal at only 10 euros per person. The hour long bus tour took us around the beautiful island pointing out local landmarks and giving us information on local traditions and folklaw a very interesting way to see the island.

 



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