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Faial – Island of Yachts, Windmills and Volcanos

We took a bouncy half hour ferry ride from Pico to the Island of Faial.  Horta, the capitol of Faial, is a cheery harbor town with a yachting flare. For centuries boats have been provisioning here before making the run across the Atlantic.  Today you can see paintings all along the break-front where boaters have left their artistic signatures and highlights of their journey – many on around-the-world adventures.  Even though Faial is smaller in size than Pico, the town of Horta is much busier and bustling with shops and colorful local pubs.  Raising a glass or two at Peters is almost compulsory!

The harbor front boasts several 4 star hotels, including a very dramatic Pousada (historic inn) fashioned out of the city fortress – complete with drawbridge and iron gate.  A huge open air swimming pool fronts the harbor offering dramatic views while you swim. 

Pico, Island of Whales, Wine and Dramatic Ocean Scenery

We’ve been on Pico Island for four days now and have been completely captivated.  There is nothing to do here, and everything at the same time.  If you are ‘into’ nature, enjoy short hikes and mingling with local folk in tiny village cafes, you would adore Pico.  Let me set the scene.

Pico Island is famous for the pods of whales that visit just off shore most of the year, hand made lace, locally produced wine, divine Pico cheese and beef so tender you can cut it with a fork.  We start every meal saying we won’t eat all of the cheese plate brought to the table, but you guessed it, we always gobble up every crumb.  The cheese is light yellow, spreadable, with a mild slightly nutty flavor.  Each of the Azores Islands make their own cheese which differ slightly from each other.  There are contented cattle roaming on all the hillsides, munching away on vivid green grasses.  Here in the Azores it stays warm all year, so there are no barns for the cattle, they roam free all year.  On Pico the pastures and vineyards are divided by miles and miles of neatly stacked black volcanic rock walls.