Holiday Images
Azores Island Hopping: May 2013 
The record of our trip with SAGA to four of the islands of
The Azores
After a night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Gatwick Airport, SATA flight S4541 takes us to our first island, Sao Miguel, where we spend four nights at the Hotel Atlantico, Ponta Delgada. The next day (Sunday, May 12th) we visit a pineapple plantation
The pineapple plantation is on the outskirts of Ponta Delgada, but not far from the hotel. Our local guide, George, explains how the fruit is grown in greenhouses and takes two years to ripen. Pineapples were introduced into the Azores in about 1850. We then continue our exploration of the western part of the island.
Our bus follows the coast road passing Relva and Feteiras. This route not only provides attractive views of the coastline and the mountainous interior, but also of the roadside's abundance of hydrangeas, agapanthus, and lilies. Just after passing the town of Ginetes, we turn inland to Sete Cidades, to find an Ascension Day parade - the parade does not begin until an auction is completed
It is cold and overcast when we make our next stops at the Vista do Rei (which provides a view of two lakes - Logoa Azul and Lagoa Verde - famous for separately being coloured blue and green, but the dull weather nullifies this spectacle) and Santiago Lake
During the afternoon we explore our hotel (above) and walk into the town centre. We have crepes and coffee at the marina that's near the hotel and also enjoy tonight's buffet meal that includes young pig
On Monday, May 13th we explore much more of the island on a full-day optional tour. On the southeast of the island, our first stop is at the geothermal area near Lagoa das Furnas - an area of sulphur smelling steam, bubbling water, and burping mud
Scattered amongst the natural features are a series of circular, concrete-lined holes (left) that are used for cooking meat and vegetables slowly for six to seven hours.