Received information says that these islands boiled out of the shifting tectonic plates between 0.3 and 8 million years ago – the oldest being Santa Maria, south of us. That is very recent in geological terms. People took ages to find them. They began to be settled in the 1400’s although there is some small evidence of basic agriculture in the fossil record beforehand – (shipwreck?) – it seems that they did lie mostly uninhabited for a long long time. There are no deep canyons dug by rivers – they haven’t had the epic amount of time required to do that work. Most of the early fossil record is fish.
Now they are teeming with life and a rich panoply of life at that. This morning we took the three minute stroll from our hotel room to the huge iron rich warm hot spring. We arrived in the dark just before dawn and we were the only ones there. With the dark, the steam and no glasses, Lou and I lost each other. As dawn came up I found her talking to a pair of Ruddy Shelducks. She genuinely thought she was talking to me.
Those two ducks can’t quite believe they’ve found a hot spring that matches their colouration. We can’t quite believe we found this incredible hotel in this incredible botanical garden. We leave tomorrow to go to a self catered place so today we just made the most of being here.
The camellias are in bloom. Whole gardens of different ones, throwing open their bright blossoms to the perpetual spring air.
Over most of the pathways and running up the trees is always a bright coating of strong green moss. If something can grow here, it’ll grow. The local produce is so fresh and good. Even the orange juice at breakfast tasted fresher than I’m used to. Green green green. And THE AIR.
Neither of us are used to a holiday where we aren’t combining it with something else. But I don’t have to walk 25km every day or so a show in the evening or do complicated things with numbers and accountants. I’m just gonna do nothing much and look at beautiful things. And eat.
We just got out of a natural jacuzzi and right now there’s some meat buried in a volcano that is gonna be in my belly soon. It’s called a codizo. I’ve ordered one in advance. I’m going to get dressed for dinner and finish this after because even though I’ve troughed on cheese and fruit already today, I’m very much looking forward to this… The dining room thrusts into the gardens with art deco curved windows like a 1930’s luxury ocean liner. I want to sit there surrounded by the uplit trees and eat good food and dammit I’m gonna have a glass of wine or two because in a week I’ll be in Saudi and the place is sodding dry.
Azorean wine goes down very well. As does buried meat. We are sitting on the balcony listening to the frogs. It is possible we will have clearer days for the rest of the week. But I’m perfectly happy here if it starts raining every thirty minutes. Tomorrow morning at dawn we will swim in the hot blood fountain with the ducks once more.