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travel blog

a poorly kept travel journal

Day 5

We woke up and got out slightly earlier than usual to drive out to the Mata do Canarios trailhead towards Sete Cidades. The trail starts at the south east end of the caldera, then wraps around to follows its rim before curling in to the city of Sete Cidades. We figured it would be a fairly easy hike with a few hundred meters of elevation loss and great views of the lakes. The plan was to hike down to Sete Cidades, eat lunch there, and then hike the 12km back to the car, with a backup plan of trying to find a taxi to take us back to the car if we weren’t super stoked on hiking back.

How it actually went down was that there was 50’ of visibility and rain, so no views and flagging morale. Additionally, the elevation map we used to judge the map didn’t sufficiently convey the variability that was there, so while the overall tendency was down, there were more than a few climbs. At around the ¾ mark, Wade made the sage call that continuing on together wasn’t worth the risk of not finding a taxi in Sete Cidades, so he turned back to pick up the car while Tiffany and I continued down the trail. We met up for tea, coffee, and Lemmon cake at Tea House O Poejo and warmed up.

On the drive back, we stopped at Miradou de Reis, a gorgeous point overlooking Sete Cidades. In the 70s, someone had the ill-fated idea of building a hotel there, but construction was never completed.

After that, we came back, checked out the art exhibit upstairs, then Wade was kind enough to let me practice driving stick.

Dinner was tapas at A Tosca

we walked around a bit to observe the local wildlife, then bed.

Day 4

Slow morning. Drove out to Cha Gorreana for some tea. Really nice. Beautiful landscape, grecloudy mountain tops rolling down to sunny coastlines. Saw some cows.

Sat out, had a few cups of tea.

Drove out to Furnas, got lunch at Terra Nostra. Got the price fixed menu.

After lunch we walked around the adorable town, had a cup of coffee at a local bakery along with a queijo de vila (a baked custard) before heading back to Ponta Delgada.

We got back, showered, and walked around a bit, then ate dinner at (Taberna Açor)[], a tapas place around the corner from our place. Realistically, it was pretty much cheese with cheese and some cheese:

Then bed.

Day 3

I woke up before Wade and Tiff, put a pot of coffee on, then read for a while. When wade and tiff got up, we put down some breakfast, then headed west to Sete Cidades. Holy. Shit. Beautiful.

We then hiked Atalho Dos Vermelhos, an incredibly gorgeous 5k? Loop along the coast overlooking Ponta Mosteiros.

We got a quick dinner at O Americo. Neither Tiff nor I were totally impressed with ours (fried fish sandwich and ham and cheese sandwich, respectively) but wade had an incredibly tender and flavorful Polvo something (octopus and potatoes) that so far topped the list for him.

After dinner, we hung out and watched the sunset before packing it in for the night.

Day 2

Wade woke me up with a cup of coffee at 9:30. what a guy.

We ate breakfast and headed out towards Nordeste, stopping along the wayyy….to something

We looped back to Lagoa do Fogo for photos and caught some amazing light. There was a paraglider playing in the currents from the hillside, coming extremely close to the ground. It was so cool to see.

We high tailed it back to our apartment, showered, and got dinner at Forneria São Dinis, a local pizza joint on the edge of town. The food was great! For an appetizer we split some calamari and some local cheese, then some sort of pizza. They seem to have a bit of trouble with service, as we saw many tables get something other than what they ordered, but the food more than made up for it. Tiff ordered a steak that came out perfect. The brownie and ice cream for dessert was perfect, as was Wade’s pineapple and Tiff’s crepe.

After dinner I stayed up reading for a bit before crashing.

Day 1

After we landed, we breezed through customs and picked up our rental car. We lucked into a free upgrade, a Renault Megane, so we got to cruise around the island in station-wagon style. Luckily, Wade was far better at driving stick than I, and he took over after I stalled out in the parking lot repeatedly.

We grabbed a quick bite at a local spot (a bare bones roasted ham sandwich on a bun with fries and a pretty good coffee) then drove around Ponta Delgada getting a lay of the city before our Airbnb was ready. After we dropped out stuff, we headed over to Lagoa do Fogo and caught some amazing views.

We driver back, and bummed around looking for dinner. Everything was packed. Note for next time: make reservations. We ended up eating at the well rated Mascote, but the food took the better part of an hour to arrive and was mediocre at best. Either way, it was calories, and after being awake most of the least 48 hours, it was enough to call it a day.

Flying out

I woke up, still pretty tired from the previous day’s babysitting adventures, but managed to repack a bit and reduce my pack sails further. It’s only 5 days on the ground and our Airbnb has laundry, so we’re covered.

I got early notifications that my flight was delayed 45 minutes, so I used the time to grab a coffee and muffin from Pinhole before getting a ride to the airport. The woman driving is studying anthropology, so we had a good chat about that.

From there, things were pretty low key. I was assigned a window seat in an exit row, there was no one in the middle seat, and the person seated in the aisle worked for Harvad doing women’s health work in Uganda. The flight attendant seated in the jump seat in front of me was cool, too, so the flight was easy. Good conversation, a bit of a nap, and a few chapters from How The Economy Works. Easy.

Once we landed in Boston, I headed over to terminal E to meet Tiff and Wade. I got there with plenty of time to spare, grabbed dinner, and then we boarded. Though objectively shorter, the regular prodding by my 8 year old seat mate, the back of my seat kicked consistently, and the hubub surrounding the poor girl in the row ahead of me getting sick, the flight felt twice as long.

Flying home

Spent the day in Taipei bumming around. Hit up Taipei 101, got some chocolate and macarons. Super pricey but really damn good.

The bus station had pastries, so I bought about a dozen to snack on on the way home, then took a bus to a plane to a car.

Then headed over to Boris and Sara’s for New Years and had a great time watching fireworks from their roof!

Hiking above Taipei

Magical fairy forest hiking

Day 12

Woke up, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, then headed to the Songshan Culture and Creative Park. Honestly, I could have spent a full day there. so many cool little boutiques and shops. We skipped the measurements in favor of food and heading over to Taipei 101, which sure was a mall. Other than the macaron Tiffany bought, nothing great. From there, we hung out at La Crema until Wade joined us from Miaoli. From there, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed to the Shilin night market.

Penis cookies. why?
Penis cookies. why?

Day 11

We woke up and took the HSR to Taipei. we dropped our bags at the hotel, and then went exploring. First, we headed to the Wistaria tea house where we passed a lovely hour or two sitting around, drinking tea, and chatting. From there, we wandered around Da’an, walked through the Da’an Forest Park, unsuccessfully tried to figure out what a pergola is, and then headed backstop the hotel.

Refreshed, we checked out the Ximen night market, then headed to the Raohe night market. It was crazy, shoulder to shoulder the entire night. Really cool spectacle though, and excellent food to match. Amy even ate a passion fruit! We got back to the hotel late, maybe around midnight, and then crashed.