The Magical Land of the Azores

I know what you’re thinking. Azores?!? Never heard of it. Where?!?

Actually, the Azores are an incredible set of islands 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, almost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Its one of the main stopping points for cruises making a transatlantic journey. I’ve made 3 crossings (so far) and made the stop to explore Ponta Delgata, the largest city of the 9 Azore islands, on my way west from Europe to the Caribbean.

The first thing you notice is the color scheme. A very intricate brown and white pattern immediately sticks out as you walk the dock from ship to shore. As you enter the town, which is a very easy walk from the ship, the most characteristic feature of the place hits you. The tiled streets and walkways.

Intricate tiled sidewalks
Intricate tiled sidewalks

Travelers will notice tiled sidewalks are a carry over from their time in Lisbon, and seems like its a portuguese thing. The walkways have unique and complex patterns set in tile all through the streets and sidewalks. As I stood admiring this amazing artwork, a horse and carriage ambled over the cobblestone transporting a couple enjoying a date on a warm, late summer afternoon.

Horse and Carriage in the Azores
Horse and Carriage in the Azores

The town is very clean. I notice no trash on the ground or any sort of graffiti or damage to the tiles. In fact, it has a feel of an upscale neighborhood with built in artwork. The brown and white color pattern is carried throughout the town. Exploring the quaint streets, sometimes occupied by horse and buggy, I found myself in a large open square. Cafes and shops dot the edge as browns and whites surround you giving the entire town a very earthy feel. I wonder if this was the intent?

Ponta Delgata is a city of almost 45,000 residents and has been populated since the year 1444. The architecture is unlike any place I’ve seen. As well as the earthy colors, some of the buildings have curvaceous features that offset the square foundation.

Azores fantasy land
Azores fantasy land

Admittedly, I know the Azores have a lot to explore, and I’ve only begun in the city of Ponta Delgata. I’m definately planning to return to discover more. If Ponta Delgata transports me into an alternate, art filled universe, I can’t wait to see what else this amazing land has to offer!

Star tiled sidewalks surround the cafes
Star tiled sidewalks surround the cafes

Ponta Delgata
Ponta Delgata

850 miles off of Portugal
850 miles off of Portugal