Olá from the Açores!

Can’t believe it’s only been two weeks!  Our frantic, emotional departure from SF seems like months ago… We just arrived in Lisbon, after two rejuvenating weeks on the island of Saõ Miguel, Azores. Turned out to be a perfect first stop since it was familiar (we were there last Sept), slow paced (sleep, read, surf, eat, drink) and it came with friends (we met up with my cousin Corinna and cousin-in-law João, who have been producing the ASP SATA Prime surf comp there every Sept for 5 years).

Decompression, relaxation, ahhhhhh.

Our beach panoramic

Panoramic from our beach house

Three Words: Weather. Surf. Lapas!

If I had to pick only three words that capture what I love about the Azores, they would be:

  • WEATHER
    • It rains every day. Think Kauai meets New Zealand meets old world Europe. Kauai for the weather and lush landscape. The sky is a constant battle field between bright blue oh-happy-day sun and dark menacing clouds that turn out to be light sprinkles and a nice break from the heat. Just wait 20 minutes, it will blow over. And keep a rain jacket on hand.  Every day we pick a sun and a rain activity and just go by the weather. It’s part of the experience.
    • The island is highly geothermic, with several hot springs to choose from when its raining.  Fun Fact: By 2003, 25% of the electricity consumed on São Miguel was produced by geothermal energy. And all those clouds and rain allow the island to be COVERED in hydrangeas (my fav).
    • btw – I say New Zealand for the vast farmland and dramatic cliffs and old world Europe for the red tile roof and cobblestone villages. And the old men on and front stoops.  Perfect.
  • SURF
    • Not just b/c we are basically on a year long surf trip. Surfing is part of the culture here and was a huge focus of our visit given we were meeting up with Corinna & João during the surf competition. Here’s what E has to say about the surf:
      • The waves on Sao Miguel are abundant and diverse with minimal crowds, especially considering there were back to back competitions being held during the time we were there.
      • The island is only about 8-10 km wide (north to south – west to east is probably 4x that) and we managed to catch good south swells and ended our 2 week stay with a clean north swell with offshore winds.
      • The best part for those of us that who surf year around wrapped head to toe in thick neoprene, the water is a beautiful deep blue and is refreshingly cool, but plenty warm to wear trunks during this time of year.
  • LAPAS
    • Pictured below, these insanely delicious sea creatures are like clam meets snail – in garlic butter.  We make a point to eat these daily.  Usually with several beers and fresh goat cheese with massa de pimiento (Azorean condiment, a spicy-salty-sweet pepper sauce). Mmm….

Gallery (Click through for descriptions)

What’s in my bag?

My bag

First, the bag itself is worth mentioning. It was a gift (thanks Amm & Reg!) and it may be the best travel bag of all time.  Strong (you can load it up), versatile (tote or backpack mode),  lightweight (srunches into your pocket) and weathers well (washes easily, dries quickly). Basically, its awesome.

Typical contents for a day in Azores:

  • The obvious stuff (sunscreen, iphone, keys, towel/sarong)
  • Kindle (checkout the Goodreads feed to the right for what I’m reading).
  • Journal (loving this part of the trip)
  • Snacks. We are obsessed with Azorean corn nuts and pumpkin seeds (toasted so well you eat the whole thing), and the seasoning! Also love the Bolos Lêvedos (sweet pancake like english muffin)
  • 20€ for beers, lapas or Pedras (yummy naturally carbonated mineral water, great for hangovers)
  • Rain jacket (usually leave this in the car but always accessible. WEATHER, remember?

That’s it for now – off to explore Lisbon for the day (likely beach it up) and then see my little 2 yr old godson (Corinna & João’s son), Vasco, tonight. Yay!!! Hoping to post more frequent, smaller updates but we’ll see how it goes.

xx

Lisa & Eric

8 responses to “Olá from the Açores!

  1. Absolutely stunning . I am with you guys, every step of the way!!!! Miss you a ton!!! Xoxoxo

  2. Soooo fun! Wish I was there. Would love to meet up at some point in the next year. I’m in need of an overseas trip!
    Besos mis amigos.

  3. Stoked for you two and it’s just beginning. Azores look amazing! I’ll email some Tuscany and Sicily recommends, not sure if you’ll make it that far South, but some pretty amazing spots if you do.

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