Sete Cidades in the rain

September 3, 2014
Posted on February 1, 2015

Aside from a pretty village and the multicoloured lakes, Sete Cidades also feature magnificent roads right on the ridges of the volcanic caldera. It’s as good as it sounds! A perfect riding destination.

On the ridge near Sete Cidades.

Morning at the farm: accompanied by our posse.

We had some errands to run in Ponta Delgada and headed north-west towards Sete Cidades. We passed by some of the same vistas as on our first trip to the twin lakes, though this time instead of clear skies we spotted rain clouds heading towards the west end of the island.

Almost the entire island becomes visible at once, surrounded by the Atlantic on both north and south.

Rain over the ocean. Infrared.

We took a short walk near an old aqueduct, noting some unusual flora. This island definitely features some of the most diverse plant life we’ve seen!

Aqueducts among the fields.

A prickly cucumber?

Bright orange moss grows on the old rocks.

The cows, invariably, take advantage of booming vegetation.

A hiking trail leads all the way to the low clouds.

Ubiquitous fields and views of São Miguel’s shoreline.

Instead of the usual route to the village, we took a detour on a dirt road that lead towards the ridge of the volcanic crater harbouring the lakes. We haven’t seen any motorized vehicles on that road, but there were a couple of hikers and a pair of cyclists. One of the steepest sections of this road was incidentally one of the most picturesque – and had about 100 m of it paved, to the enjoyment of the cyclists that had a really tough time making it uphill. While we stopped to take some photos, they laboured on, barely cracking a smile to our offers of getting a rope and towing them up the steep slope. 😉

The road along the aqueduct.

Dirt path!

Ridge panorama.

Not shown: a vast open space all around.

Cyclists working their way uphill.

Soon enough the rain cloud caught up with us and with temperatures falling below 20 °C riding became a little less carefree. Wearing nothing but T-shirts, we were soaked and cold in no time. We decided to cut the exploration short and come back to “civilization” for some much needed food and shelter.

We consulted the map and figured a village of Santa Bárbara near the north coast would be a good bet. After circling it a little, I noticed an unassuming sign near the road that said “Restaurante >”. The arrow pointed to a small alley, where without much fanfare another modest sign said “Entrada >”. I still don’t know what the place was even called, it seemed almost hidden and not very eager to be found. Still, the large windows opened to the view of a horse browsing on in the field, the ocean, and the progressively brightening sky.

View from the lunch table.

Village of Santa Bárbara.

Customarily, the landscape becomes overtaken by cows.

I cannot call them pine cones, but pine balls might be appropriate.

By the time our lunch was over, the weather turned gorgeous again, and we decided to take the coastal road back to our farm. Small villages dotted the land, tall trees framed the road, and the occasional congestion seemed oddly amusing.

Sunshine over Santa Bárbara

View from the village.

Road known as EN1-1A.

Passing by the tobacco plantation near Santo António.

Another tiny village along the road.

A quaint grocery store somewhere in São Miguel.

If the sun never set, I would keep riding these roads forever, stopping only for food, and maybe to sleep sometimes. I could write words about it, take photos, but it’s hard to express how it truly makes one feel.

Back in Rabo de Peixe we did what we often do back in Toronto – drop by the grocery store for some fresh supplies. I’ve developed a serious affection for the local fresh cheese. Alex picked up a pair of pork hearts because why not. I’m not thrilled with the selection of vegetables, but you can’t deny that meats and dairy here are top notch. I’ll give the pork hearts the benefit of the doubt.

A greeting no cat would do. Be more dog.

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