On a clear day ...................................
Trip Start Mar 17, 2012
80Trip End Jun 26, 2012
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Where I stayed
I have arranged to meet the other 2 couples on our tour at The International Café (the 24 hour eatery on board) at 11.30 AM. I will be wearing my new purple Polo top so as to be easily recognised.
Once together we head for the lifts to take us to level 4 for disembarkation. “I am sorry sir! You will have to join the queue at the stairs for disembarkation” says an official in white. I thought it was too good to be true. We find the queue and start to walk toward the end. At the point where it disappeared beyond a far corner, I thought “that will do” and whilst the people in queue were not looking I shuffled my way into line and (amid some mutterings) the other 5 joined in.
Our first stop is a Pineapple Plantation and unlike the pineapples we are used to eating, these are organically grown in greenhouses using smoke instead of pesticide and have a different taste (we are told) and smaller leaves.
We then take a mountain road route toward Sete Cidades and stop frequently at sights and vistas along the way. We arrive at the top of the rim of the volcanic crater and the views are the even more breathtaking than the accompanying photos portray. We descend (by car) into the mouth of the ‘mother crater’, of which the other 6 are encased (Sete Cidades literally translated means 7 cities but refers to the 7 craters).
At the level of the twin lakes (one blue and one green) lies the little town of Sete Cidades. From there we drive out of the crater and along the north coast of Sao Miguel, the Island of which Ponta Delgada is the capital. More breathtaking vistas are exposed as we journey along the route back to our start where we bid our gracious tour guide Rui farewell. The last 90 minutes of our onshore experience is spent wandering around some of the sights of Ponta Delgada before we make a last minute dash for the 6.00 PM sailing of our ship.