Vale das Furnas, São Miguel (Azores)

The Azorean Heat of Vale das Furnas

Our Lady of Victories
The neo-Gothic chapel built by José do Canto, as a vote because his wife suffered from a serious illness.
Nostra Lagoon
Bathers delighted in the warm water of the Terra Nostra Park lagoon.
Victoria Regia
Water lilies gleam in the sun on lakes in Terra Nostra Park.
rural art
A kind of installation in the vicinity of Lagoa das Furnas.
View from Pico do Ferro
Part of the view from the Pico do Ferro Viewpoint, with Lagoa das Furnas on the right.
Smoke from smokers
Visitors walk along the walkways that reveal Furnas' fumaroles and boilers.
Furnas Cozidos Tocas
One of the holes used for cooking Furnas stews fumega.
Furnas Lagoon
Lagoa das Furnas seen from the Pico do Ferro Viewpoint.
The Burial of the Stews
Employee of Povoação covers up a stew, from then on ready for five hours of cooking.
Furnas village
The village of Furnas concentrated in the heart of Vale das Furnas.
A Vegetated Bridge
Friends cross a bridge in Terra Nostra Park, over a river of vegetation.
Nossa Senhora das Vitórias Chapel
The neo-Gothic chapel built by José do Canto, as a vote because his wife suffered from a serious illness.
The Oven of the Earth
Povoação employees remove a stew from its cooking hole.
The Those of the Valley
Cows graze in a pasture in Vale das Furnas.
Furnas Cooked Kit
A historical and inseparable duo from the Furnas stew.
Iron Top View
A group of visitors is dazzled by the view of Vale das Furnas from Pico do Ferro.
Saffron Dip
A bather immerses himself in the iron water of the Terra Nostra Park lagoon.
Furnas Valley and Lagoon
Part of the view from the Pico do Ferro Viewpoint, with Lagoa das Furnas on the right.
Casario das Furnas
The cluster of buildings, homes and others, in the heart of Vale das Furnas.
Boiling and Bubbling Earth
Some of the small boilers in the vicinity of the Furnas lagoon.
We were surprised, on the biggest island of the Azores, with a caldera cut by small farms, massive and deep to the point of sheltering two volcanoes, a huge lagoon and almost two thousand people from São Miguel. Few places in the archipelago are, at the same time, as grand and welcoming as the green and steaming Vale das Furnas.

It was a mere chance that we started in the direction of Furnas from the detour that appears after the Fábrica de Chá Gorreana, in the vicinity of Barreiros.

All of a sudden, the road imposes itself on the slope that pointed us to the crest of São Miguel. We come face to face with a herd of Frisian cows, rocked by the descent. In front of him, a lone cowboy is anxious to control two or three heads in trammel and to slow down the cars.

Instead of despairing, that black and white bovine transit throws us a new challenge. We pull the car to the curb, get out of prepared chambers and face the cows.

Dozens of photographic shots later, with the cowboy stunned by the speed of the operation, we see the tail of the herd enter a gate with access to a pasture.

Reformed, we return to the car. We resume driving.

On a sinuous diagonal, the EN2-1A approaches the top of the island, there, sometimes exposed, sometimes half-veiled by successive dense hedges. One of them hides a golf course already announced and the indication of a viewpoint, Pico do Ferro.

The Inevitable Dazzle Generated by Vale das Furnas

At that time, we were more than aware of the added value that these observation points have in the Azores. We dodged without hesitation. We walked along a dark, damp lane, almost drenched in the northern mist that condensed there. When the grove opens to the light, we find ourselves on an unlikely threshold.

At a glance, onwards, especially downwards, a whole side of São Miguel is revealed. Close and insinuating, a large lagoon, even greener than the surrounding São Miguel.

In its extension, to the southeast, a patchwork of pastures, woods, bollards, old craters covered with vegetation and a white village nestled in the vastness.

Furnas, São Miguel, Azores

The village of Furnas concentrated in the heart of Vale das Furnas.

The blue sky of Estio, sprinkled with a few skeins that ventured to the unfavorable slope, allowed us to still see a forested edge of a caldera that did not contain only a short fringe of Atlantic and the ethereal firmament.

Em São Miguel (Azores), who comes from Sete Cidades, is tempted to think that he won't see the same anytime soon.

Well, just a few dozen kilometers to the east of the island, there it was. A scenario that no one in their right mind would dare to fault.

Surrendered, we appreciate it and photograph it in a silence broken by clicks, almost ceremonial.

Not to mention, with so much contemplation, we lose track of time.

Furnas stew. An Old Geothermal Ritual

If there is a sacred time in Vale das Furnas, it is lunch. Not so much for the almost ready regional delicacy in each home. More because it smokes and bakes in the open-air kitchen between the boilers and Lagoa das Furnas.

We have lunch scheduled at Hotel Terra Nostra which serves the famous local stew. The plan held, before we devoured it, we see it coming out of the ground.

To ours and others, also to be buried, that the quantity of orders, those from restaurants and private toilets, and the five hours of underground cooking recommended, require several shifts. We had to fly low.

Now, what we lacked of way was not exactly given in a hurry.

Cocodo das Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

A historical and inseparable duo from the Furnas stew.

The road runs along the edge of the Caldeira. A flurry of meanders entertains us with new perspectives, less panoramic as we approached the background.

Soon, an open straight line, flanked by white houses with classic Portuguese tile, points us to the predominant houses.

Finally, we entered Furnas. We navigate the route from one side of the village to the other and head for the lagoon.

When we parked next to the fumaroles, two employees from Povoação, Rui Pareço and Eduardo Bettencourt, were already working their hoes.

Afraid that those pots would be the last of the day, we ran towards them.

"Calm down, calm down, there's still a lot to see, there's no need for all this affliction!" Rui Pareço reassures us, who then authorizes us to follow in their footsteps.

Cocodo das Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

Povoação employees remove a stew from its cooking hole.

Gradually, the two colleagues remove more and more pots with the already boiling contents from the holes. They pass them to the box of the van they were driving.

In a flash, they re-occupy the vacant holes with uncooked meals and cover the wooden lids with the blessed volcanic soil of the Terra.

Holes from Furnas stews, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

One of the holes used for cooking Furnas stews fumega.

The Potentially Destructive Volcanism of Vale das Furnas

While the stews boiled, we walked along the walkways that revealed the boilers and fumaroles next door, more steaming and sulphurous than any uncovered pot.

Despite its idyllic appearance, Vale das Furnas is real volcanic.

When we say serious, we mean eruptive, potentially disruptive and catastrophic, taking into account that almost two thousand people live in the 7km diameter of the caldera.

The authorities themselves classify the Furnas stratovolcano (located west of Povoação) as one of the three potentially most active on the island of São Miguel.

Lagoa das Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

Lagoa das Furnas seen from the Pico do Ferro Viewpoint.

The discovery of São Miguel took place between 1426 and 1439. The island began to be populated around 1444. It is estimated that, just four years earlier, there was a significant eruption, starting at a Pico do Gaspar.

There is also the certainty that, in 1630, another even more damaging occurred, with an eruptive center in the south of the great caldera, the caldera, in turn, generated by a massive volcanic event about thirty thousand years ago.

The eruption of 1630 has been worthily described. By hermits who had settled in Vale das Furnas, first in a room provided by the grantee Manuel da Câmara.

Later, in improvised mud huts next to a chapel they founded, that of Nª Srª da Consolação. And yet, in a real convent.

For, the eruption of 1630 destroyed everything that the hermits had built.

This unexpected destruction forced them to settle elsewhere, while the inhabitants of the east of São Miguel cultivated a mystical fear of the valley.

Not even the shepherds there wanted to return with their cattle.

Pasture cows in Vale das Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

Cows graze in a pasture in Vale das Furnas.

Over the years and the soil re-fertilized by the eruption, the vegetation recovered at an unprecedented rate. Without noticing new volcanic activity, the religious returned.

From Abandonment to the Uninterrupted and Prolific Settlement of Furnas

Thus, they blessed the definitive village of Furnas, as we saw from the top of Pico do Ferro, still spiritually validated today by a church with two towers, that of Nª Srª da Alegria.

Gradually, residents arrived from Ponta Garça, Maia, Povoação, Vila Franca and other places.

As much as we put it off, it was time to follow his example.

We inspected another hidden smoker at the edge of the pond, next to a trailer of food and drink that we found surrounded by an army of ducks fighting for bread.

Chapel of Our Lady of Victories. A Tribute to Faith

We also take a walk around the lake in order to admire the chapel of Nª Srª das Vitórias, built in neo-Gothic style by José do Canto (1820-1898), a great owner and intellectual from São Miguel, as I vote for having afflicted him with a disease. wife's grave.

The chapel stands out from the shore of the lagoon and the vegetation above. It has the company of José do Canto's holiday home where the couple is buried.

They form an unlikely architectural duo that, especially on foggy days, reinforces the aura of mystery of the lagoon and the Furnas valley.

Chapel of Our Lady of Victories. Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

The neo-Gothic chapel built by José do Canto, as a vote because his wife suffered from a serious illness.

Finally, we reversed course towards the heart of the village.

We landed, rested, in the dining room of the Terra Nostra hotel, eager to taste the stew we had seen buried and deserved, a stew different from those on the mainland, mainly due to the slight sulfur flavor and the presence of two Azorean ingredients: sweet potato and the yam.

Terra Nostra Park: Botanical and Architectural Exuberance in the Already Exuberant Furnas

The Terra Nostra hotel that welcomed us is part of the homonymous Furnas historical park, a luxuriant haven, in certain parts, with a more tropical than temperate look.

With time until late afternoon, we walk through its landscaped woods, blooming with the passion of a wealthy Boston merchant, Thomas Hicking, for Furnas.

Terra Nostra Park Bridge, Furnas, São Miguel

Friends cross a bridge in Terra Nostra Park, over a river of vegetation.

Aware of the beauty and therapeutic value of the valley's hydropolis, in 1755, Hicking had a house built with a huge water tank with an islet in the center and surrounded by trees.

He named it Yankee Hall. Seventy-three years later, the influential Viscount of the Beach, Terceira island, acquired the property and erected the current mansion in place of Yankee Hall.

His wife, the viscountess, was adept at gardening. Accordingly, the Viscount added two hectares to the property.

He and his descendants ordered them to be filled with the lush and graceful garden that fills the air of Furnas with chlorophyll, one of the most exuberant gardens in the Azores and, dare we say it, in the Atlantic islands.

Terra Nostra Park, Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

Bathers delighted in the warm water of the Terra Nostra Park lagoon.

These days, the Hicking tank is the main attraction of Terra Nostra Park.

It is filled with a warm thermal water so ironic that, instead of translucent, it is ocher, when hit by the sun, almost saffron.

It attracts a multitude of visitors who splash around and swim in it in absolute delight. Our day of exploration of São Miguel was approaching sunset.

It was time to bathe in the geothermal affability of Vale das Furnas.

São Miguel (Azores), Azores

São Miguel Island: Stunning Azores, By Nature

An immaculate biosphere that the Earth's entrails mold and soften is displayed, in São Miguel, in a panoramic format. São Miguel is the largest of the Portuguese islands. And it is a work of art of Nature and Man in the middle of the North Atlantic planted.
Pico Island, Azores

Pico Island: the Azores Volcano with the Atlantic at its Feet

By a mere volcanic whim, the youngest Azorean patch projects itself into the rock and lava apogee of Portuguese territory. The island of Pico is home to its highest and sharpest mountain. But not only. It is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of the Azoreans who tamed this stunning island and surrounding ocean.
Santa Maria, Azores

Santa Maria: the Azores Mother Island

It was the first in the archipelago to emerge from the bottom of the sea, the first to be discovered, the first and only to receive Cristovão Colombo and a Concorde. These are some of the attributes that make Santa Maria special. When we visit it, we find many more.
Terceira Island, Azores

Terceira Island: Journey through a Unique Archipelago of the Azores

It was called the Island of Jesus Christ and has radiated, for a long time, the cult of the Holy Spirit. It houses Angra do Heroísmo, the oldest and most splendid city in the archipelago. These are just two examples. The attributes that make Terceira island unique are endless.
Flores Island, Azores

The Atlantic ends of the Azores and Portugal

Where, to the west, even on the map the Americas appear remote, the Ilha das Flores is home to the ultimate Azorean idyllic-dramatic domain and almost four thousand Florians surrendered to the dazzling end-of-the-world that welcomed them.
Horta, Azores

The City that Gives the North to the Atlantic

The world community of sailors is well aware of the relief and happiness of seeing the Pico Mountain, and then Faial and the welcoming of Horta Bay and Peter Café Sport. The rejoicing does not stop there. In and around the city, there are white houses and a green and volcanic outpouring that dazzles those who have come so far.
Capelinhos Volcano, Faial, Azores

On the trail of the Capelinhos Mistery

From one coast of the island to the opposite one, through the mists, patches of pasture and forests typical of the Azores, we discover Faial and the Mystery of its most unpredictable volcano.
Graciosa, Azores

Her Grace the Graciosa

Finally, we will disembark in Graciosa, our ninth island in the Azores. Even if less dramatic and verdant than its neighbors, Graciosa preserves an Atlantic charm that is its own. Those who have the privilege of living it, take from this island of the central group an esteem that remains forever.
São Jorge, Azores

From Fajã to Fajã

In the Azores, strips of habitable land at the foot of large cliffs abound. No other island has as many fajãs as the more than 70 in the slender and elevated São Jorge. It was in them that the jorgenses settled. Their busy Atlantic lives rest on them.
Corvo, Azores

The Improbable Atlantic Shelter of Corvo Island

17 km2 of a volcano sunk in a verdant caldera. A solitary village based on a fajã. Four hundred and thirty souls snuggled by the smallness of their land and the glimpse of their neighbor Flores. Welcome to the most fearless of the Azorean islands.
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal

The Eastern, Somehow Extraterrestrial Madeira Tip

Unusual, with ocher tones and raw earth, Ponta de São Lourenço is often the first sight of Madeira. When we walk through it, we are fascinated, above all, with what the most tropical of the Portuguese islands is not.
Paul do Mar a Ponta do Pargo a Achadas da Cruz, Madeira, Portugal

Discovering the Madeira Finisterre

Curve after curve, tunnel after tunnel, we arrive at the sunny and festive south of Paul do Mar. We get goosebumps with the descent to the vertiginous retreat of Achadas da Cruz. We ascend again and marvel at the final cape of Ponta do Pargo. All this, in the western reaches of Madeira.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

On the way up to the Ghyaru village, we had a first and unexpected show of how ecstatic the Annapurna Circuit can be tasted. Nine kilometers later, in Braga, due to the need to acclimatize, we climbed from 3.470m from Braga to 4.600m from Lake Kicho Tal. We only felt some expected tiredness and the increase in the wonder of the Annapurna Mountains.
Architecture & Design
Castles and Fortresses

A Defending World: Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Conflicted Way
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s – Old-Fashioned Car Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Africa Princess, Canhambaque, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau,
Africa Princess Cruise Part 1, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

Towards Canhambaque, through the History of Guinea Bissau

The Africa Princess departs from the port of Bissau, downstream the Geba estuary. We make a first stopover on the island of Bolama. From the old capital, we proceed to the heart of the Bijagós archipelago.
Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center, New Caledonia, Greater Calhau, South Pacific
Grande Terre, New Caledonia

South Pacific Great Boulder

James Cook thus named distant New Caledonia because it reminded him of his father's Scotland, whereas the French settlers were less romantic. Endowed with one of the largest nickel reserves in the world, they named Le Caillou the mother island of the archipelago. Not even its mining prevents it from being one of the most dazzling patches of Earth in Oceania.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Cape Espichel, Sanctuary of Senhora do Cabo, Sesimbra,
Albufeira Lagoon ao Cape Espichel, Sesimbra, Portugal

Pilgrimage to a Cape of Worship

From the top of its 134 meters high, Cabo Espichel reveals an Atlantic coast as dramatic as it is stunning. Departing from Lagoa de Albufeira to the north, golden coast below, we venture through more than 600 years of mystery, mysticism and veneration of its aparecida Nossa Senhora do Cabo.
Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa the Empire of the Sun, Japan
Okinawa, Japan

The Little Empire of the Sun

Risen from the devastation caused by World War II, Okinawa has regained the heritage of its secular Ryukyu civilization. Today, this archipelago south of Kyushu is home to a Japan on the shore, anchored by a turquoise Pacific ocean and bathed in a peculiar Japanese tropicalism.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Horseshoe Bend
Navajo nation, USA

The Navajo Nation Lands

From Kayenta to Page, passing through Marble Canyon, we explore the southern Colorado Plateau. Dramatic and desert, the scenery of this indigenous domain, cut out in Arizona, reveals itself to be splendid.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Ross Bridge, Tasmania, Australia
Natural Parks
Discovering tassie, Part 3, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania from Top to Bottom

The favorite victim of Australian anecdotes has long been the Tasmania never lost the pride in the way aussie ruder to be. Tassie remains shrouded in mystery and mysticism in a kind of hindquarters of the antipodes. In this article, we narrate the peculiar route from Hobart, the capital located in the unlikely south of the island to the north coast, the turn to the Australian continent.
Leisure Channel
UNESCO World Heritage
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From Channel to Channel in a Surreal Holland

Liberal when it comes to drugs and sex, Amsterdam welcomes a crowd of outsiders. Among canals, bicycles, coffee shops and brothel windows, we search, in vain, for its quieter side.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Vietnamese queue

Nha Trang-Doc Let, Vietnam

The Salt of the Vietnamese Land

In search of attractive coastlines in old Indochina, we become disillusioned with the roughness of Nha Trang's bathing area. And it is in the feminine and exotic work of the Hon Khoi salt flats that we find a more pleasant Vietnam.

self-flagellation, passion of christ, philippines
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Hippopotamus in Anôr Lagoon, Orango Island, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau
Kéré Island to Orango, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

In Search of the Lacustrine-Marine and Sacred Bijagós Hippos

They are the most lethal mammals in Africa and, in the Bijagós archipelago, preserved and venerated. Due to our particular admiration, we joined an expedition in their quest. Departing from the island of Kéré and ending up inland from Orango.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.