The Azores – part III
On Thursday we travelled up to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, driving up to the top of the mountain before dropping down to the bottom, to the two lakes. In my research before we arrived, thanks to Instagram, I had seen photos of an old abandoned hotel and was super intrigued but didn’t really think too much about it. When we were at the top of the mountain we ended up driving past it, so had to stop. Plus the view was supposed to be amazing looking down.
See, totally worth it! That’s the funny thing about the Azores. The weather changes so frequently that in the space of around 30 minutes this cloud and fog has passed, and you could see down to the bottom.
The woods behind the hotel were really beautiful. I think if you came at night it would be beyond creepy though – the stuff of Blair Witch, haha!
I think this might have been the entrance to the carpark. It was the first part of the hotel that we explored, and super creepy!! With the heavy rain fall the night before, the building was so full of water that it was constantly pouring out of different places. The murky darkness and graffiti didn’t help, either. I think because it was the first part that we explored, I wasn’t really used to the building or what it might be like. Thankfully the actual hotel was ok!
Here’s a short video to demonstrate the creepiness.
The front of Monte Palace. It was built in 1986, and closed 18 months later due to bankruptcy. It’s so sad to see someone’s livelihood (and perhaps their dream? I don’t know if they were investors) become so dilapidated. I’ve watched videos and seen photos of how it was when it first opened, and although it’s super 80s you can see how decadent and luxurious it once was – especially for the Azores, which is much more… down to earth? Someone came to visit shortly after it had closed, and they said it was like time had stopped there. The tables were fully laid, with silver service cutlery, and the beds were all waiting for guests. Since then they had guard dogs around the building to stop people coming in, but over time they left and people are free to explore. Here are a few photos from our time there.
As we walked around the outside we started to hear this music – I think I must have been slightly on edge as I thought it was coming from inside the building, but it was just a car driving past…
^^This photo has no filter on it – everything really was that green! The strangest part was walking around the carpet in the hallway of the 1st floor. It was soaking wet, and had a spongey feeling under your feet. The walls here are covered in moss and mould, and nothing was left of the rooms. No furniture, no bathrooms, no glass in any of the windows. I guess over time everything has been ripped out and sold, or stolen for personal use.^^
^^The view from the top of the first floor. We only explored this far – but I would have liked to have gone up to the 4th floor and out onto the roof.^^
After we had explored for a while we drove down to the town and rented bikes so that we could cycle around the two lakes. They’re called the blue lake and the green lake – I think it had something to do with the depth? I should probably know that…
^^The weather, again, changed a lot. This was when we got about halfway round the first lake.^^
^^I didn’t have my phone with me, so we don’t have many photos from the trip round. Let’s just say it was a pretty surreal and breathtaking view! I was kind of sad that we couldn’t cycle completely around the lakes. Both of the paths ended around halfway, so we just had to turn around and head back to the start.^^
^^The street art is really nice, especially in Ponta Delgada, the main city centre.^^
^^These SHOES! Oh boy am I glad I bought them before we left. They were amazing. The bottoms had so much grip, they were perfect for trekking up and down mountains and cycling round lakes, whilst being really breathable, and water proof. It meant that I could pop my soaking wet post-hot-spring-swim feet in them and they didn’t go all soggy and smelly and gross. I heart them. Plus they are 100% vegan and made in Spain, i.e. not by kids being paid 11p, and I love how they look. I bought them from Vegetarian Shoes in Brighton, but you can also buy them online. I highly recommend them! ^^
On our last day we drove to Parque Natural de Riberia dos Caldeiroes, a natural park filled with beautiful plants and waterfalls.
Followed by a trip to a pineapple plantation!
OK, I’ll stop boring you with photos from our trip ;) – although I do have one more blog up my sleeve…
I would recommend the Azores to anyone. It was the perfect place to relax and do nothing – or explore and walk around and see one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to.
This was our home for the week, a cabin in the Vila Franca area on Sao Miguel. The island is so small that it really doesn’t matter too much where you stay (the price varies depending on how close you are to the airport, but we were around a 30 minute drive so it was fine). It probably takes around two hours to drive completely round the island, without stopping, so you get an idea of how small it is. We had a supermarket a couple of minutes away, which had everything you need – including Alpro goodies! You definitely need a car for your trip, but the roads are immaculately maintained, it was so quiet when we went, and everyone drives really slowly, so even if you’ve never driven anywhere outside of the UK it’s easy to pick up and get used to.
And now we’re home! We picked up Ras this morning at 9am, and he didn’t shit in his box, so if anything there’s a reason to celebrate! It felt so good to sleep in our own bed, the bed in our cabin was so uncomfortable, it was the only bad thing about the whole holiday! That and the sofa, also very uncomfortable. I don’t know whether it’s because the sun is shining but I keep walking around our house smiling – we’re home! And our house is so lovely, and our bed is so comfy and Ras is here. On top of that, we had a tube of croissants in the fridge, and I made one with chocolate in. What a way to start a Sunday. Now I’m supposed to be getting on with freelance work – I’ll start in a minute, I promise – before making some kind of dessert for friends who are joining us for dinner this evening. Ras keeps following me around the house, he is being so cute. He was sat on my lap earlier – making it really easy to work ;) – but now he’s sleeping at my feet. Oh I do love this cat <3
Have you been to the Azores? What did you think?