Wanderlust Azores- Octopus, Limpets and Ice Cream with Azorean Hospitality!

I am a big fan of Octopus. Let it be grilled, roasted, or stewed, I love them all. When I realized that one of the popular dishes in the Azores is Octopus, I was ecstatic. image Look at the tentacles. Rosted in olive oil and garlic from the Terceira Mar Hotel. Unfortunately, they are over done from being in the buffet tray.image This is what my plate looked like. Gluttony…
imageThese are limpets in sauce from a corner restaurant in Praia do Vitoria. When the tour bus stopped for the souvenir shop, I headed straight for the local food. It’s very tasty but so little meat. The cup is filled with mostly shells. Some of the shells have the mossy growth on them. Although I’m a girl of seafood, the mossy growth decreased my appetite.imageOctopus salad from the same corner restaurant. This was delicious. I like it more than the roasted octopus because the vinegar brought out more of the octopus flavor. The octopus was cooked just right.imageAmazing Magnum ice cream bars, made with the Terceira cows’ milk. Terceira’s dairy products are amazing.

Do you know how amazing the Azoreans are? The owner from the corner restaurant in Praia da Vitoria knew not one word of English but we managed to communicate that it’s a to-go order, I needed them in plastic containers in a bag for the bus ride, I needed to heat up the limpets in a microwave before eating but I couldn’t since I am in a hotel, and I needed a plastic utensil. Since they don’t use plastic utensils, he handed me a stainless fork instead! So much love exchanged. Simply amazing.  

P.S. Since the first writing of this post, I had gone back to the corner restaurant in Praia da Vitoria and found the name of the restaurant. It’s called Tropical Point!

This experience took place at

Terceira Mar Hotel
Angra do Heroísmo
Phone:295 402 280

Tropical Point
Rua Álvaro Martins Homem 11,A
9760-412 Praia da Vitória
Tel. 295542167
Tlm. 91 820 86 49 / 91 990 88 83
Sub-gerência: Manuel da Silva Rodrigues
E-mail: gerencia@tropical-point.com

Wanderlust Azores- Singing in a Sao Sebastiao Church on Christmas Eve, Reflecting on Wants and Needs

I am in this tiny tiny tiny little town that is called Sao Sebastiao, settled in 1503 now with a population of 2,000. It has one main square, one tiny main street, one ATM, a couple of churches and cafes and a big tour bus that brought me. image Main Street image A colorful place of worshipimage The outside of the church with the service

Pastor singing? image Fresco that was destroyed and is being restored.

Sao Sebastiao or Terceira is remote and unspoiled by the tourists. It’s very quaint, quiet and simple with natural beauty. It’s making me think of how life should really be if I were not committed to the New York metropolitan area the next six years. Our way of life is not everyone’s way of life. I have a choice.

The average Azorean’s monthly salary is 700€ or 8400€ a year or $9240 USD. In NY, an annual income of $12k USD puts one below the poverty line. The houses in the upscale and desirable northern coast of Biscoitos cost on average between 85k€ to 250k€ and they are darn nice; they are by the ocean with a micro climate to stay warm and sunny. The Azoreans seem to have everything they want and need.

Wanderlust Azores- Caldera of Guilherme Moniz on The Terceira Island, Portugal. Go Milk Your Cows Where Your Cows Are.

The Terceira Island is a center island among the nine islands that belong to the Portuguese Azores Archipelago, located in the North Atlantic ocean. Azores are only a four-hour flight east of Boston, MA, and a two-hour flight west of Lisbon from the mainland of Portugal.

In the middle of the Terceira Island is the Cauldron of Guilherme Moniz, with 15km diameter, formed by the eruption of the Algar do Carvao volcano. This is the panoramic view of the caldera.image

Here is how windy it is at the lookout point for the caldera.

With the population of 56k, the Terceira Island has double the number of the cows. Milk production is the primary output for the island’s economy. The cows are free range and feast on the vegetation of the caldera. The farmers bring their mobile milking device to the cows, twice a day. This is a true definition for being MOBILE- Go Milk Your Cows Where Your Cows Are.
imageSadly, most farmers are considering changing milk production to meat production because their profit is only about 20 cents per liter with each cow producing 40 liters of milk on average per day.

Even sadder, the Terceirian farmers used to produce wheat for cereal, exporting to the rest of the Europe which was highly profitable. However, since joining the European Union, Portugal had to agree to cease wheat production and change to milk production. Now, their milk only supplies the Azores and a few supermarkets on the mainland of Portugal.

This is an injustice caused by a socialist economic practice, benefiting the strong and the ones in power.

Wanderlust Azores- Day One Food Adventure. Well, Disappointment is More Like it.

Because of jetlag, I made no effort for food. Instead, I relied on Terceira Mar Hotel restaurants for breakfast and dinner and a random cafe by the bank for lunch. They haven’t been poor but they also haven’t been what I came for.imageHam and Cheese Crepe with a Boiled Egg from Petiskaky Cafe. Not bad but also not memorable.imageLemon Frize drink. This was the highlight of lunch.imageCheese Burger with Fries from Terceira Mar Hotel. Decent, my photographer says.imagePrawn and Pineapple Salad from Terceira Mar. It’s a shame that they are called prawns. They are the European prawns where everything is downsized from the American standards. These are not even large shrimps! The salad was lame and bland.

Luckily, I’ll be hungry again tomorrow and will have another opportunity to right this wrong.

These experiences took place at

9700-016 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal

Terceira Mar Hotel
9700 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal

Wanderlust Azores- Town of Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO Site

It was a beautiful day. My little photographer and I went hunting for an ATM machine in our rented Opel Corsa in the town of Angra do Heroismo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With the windows down, warm breeze through our hair, sunshine on our faces and the Corsa making its way up the hill on the cobblestone main street, we felt like two wonder girls who could achieve anything.imageTerceira Mar HotelimageOn the way to center of townimageIsn’t this gorgeous?imageMain streetimageThe pedestrian’s perspectiveimageClimb to the topimageArtists united, a homageimageThe old daysimageThe fishing traditionimageIt’s a Catholic country.imageMy photographer

This felt like another world. We found a slice of happiness from nothing and nowhere. This is Wanderlust.

Happy holidays from Terceira Island to my friends and loyal readers. May your holidays be filled with warmth and light. Love and hugs to all.