The sunny island of Santa Maria is quiet and days there can be very uneventful. Which is kind of a good thing.
On Friday, the oddity of the day was meeting a guy from Brazil on Praia Formosa, and chatting with him a little bit in English, and a little bit in Russian. We distracted him enough that he missed the oncoming high tide and his bag got thoroughly soaked in sea water.
On Saturday we were too lazy to go far in the morning, and enjoyed the beach in São Lourenço. This time the odd conversation of the day was almost non-verbal. A local winemaker, Antonio, was attempting to discuss life, universe and everything with us, despite his complete lack of English and our very very limited Portuguese. Some topics discussed included the number of his children and grandchildren, local air traffic, Azorean geology, winemaking and many other things. There was a lot of hand waving and a bit of wine tasting.
On Sunday we had to leave São Lourenço but were set on juicing every last minute before our checkout at noon. We had guests: Antonio’s American cousin John and his girlfriend Lexi were exploring the surrounding hills and stopped for a chat on our patio. The day was colder than usual and neither of us were up for an ocean dip. We rode to Vila do Porto, passing through Santo Espírito and the twisty road overlooking Praia Formosa, finally settling at the old fort overlooking the pier, having a snack and basking in the sun. Eventually, we decided to go to our stop for the night, a room in a residential area near the airport. While we were getting acquainted with our host Pedro and the household’s extra friendly Shar Pei dog, the weather turned sour and it started to rain rather hard for the remainder of the day. To my disappointment I realized that summer was coming to an end in the Azores.
On Monday Pedro was awesome enough to wake up early and prepare a breakfast for us before our 7 am flight. Turns out he was an air traffic controller, and told us a little bit about things going on at the local airport. Although few planes land on Santa Maria, they still have to keep track of every one that passes by – which is every plane crossing the Atlantic between North America and Europe. In São Miguel we rented a car to be able to go out and have a little fun on the island before our afternoon flight home. I almost forgot my scarf in the restaurant in Salga, but we backtracked to get it back and still managed to be on time at the airport.
I generally feel that there are too many places in the world that need to be seen and explored, which makes it hard to justify visiting the same place twice. Yet I find my eyes lingering on that patch of green dots in the middle of the ocean when I look at the map in search of new targets. There are still 7 more islands in the archipelago that I have not seen!