This post is inspired by a friend who has just moved to New York City from California, after living in California for most of his life. Talking to him reminded me of my first thoughts when I moved from the temperate climate of California to a place with true seasons,
Oh. My. Goodness. What is this disgusting humidity and why won't my sweat evaporate? No, please no, the subway is 4 minutes away and I need to wait in this sticky and odd smelling subway station as I wait. What is that smell? Is it trash? Is it body odor? Is it the subway rat's leftover pizza that is growing mold?
Ahhh, I dig this weather. Sunny and mild weather. Wow! The trees change color here and it's not because of a drought. What a beautiful sight! Can it be this season forever? This is what I'm used to. Time for apple cider donuts? What?!
Winter is coming, they said. Buy long underwear, they said. Why did you move here, they asked. I don't know, I replied.
Snow is so beautiful...let's go outside! *cue the regrets*
20 minutes later... WTF. I cannot feel my face or my toes. My beautiful leather boots are destroyed! My ears hurt. My nose is running. Time to go inside...
Okay, this is not bad. It's a little rainy and slushy on the streets but you know what, it's not bad. There are no more snowstorms ahead and think of all of the Central Park picnics and rooftop bars! Summer is coming...
On on our first full day on Sao Miguel island, we were ambitious and tackled a couple of lengthy hikes sandwiched between visits to the hot springs in Furnas (See my post on the caldeiras of Sao Miguel).
I was admittedly a bit nervous tackling double digit km hikes, since it had only been 8 months since I broke my ankle and had not done a hike with elevation since the surgery. Thankfully I had my pack mule/human GPS/boyfriend who was very aware of my limitations and basically carried all of my belongings. (You the best!)
In terms of the trails, the paths on Sao Miguel island were extremely well documented with the clearest and simplest trail signage I've encountered. The weather and atmosphere was the epitome of moodiness, with the air getting mistier and colder as you approach the peaks, even though you have just left a sunshine filled road at the bottom of the trail.
Per the recommendation of our Airbnb host, we rented our car via Auto Ramalhense, a local car rental business that operates on the Azore islands.
What we were looking for:
Traveling through Portugal was a breeze, with the exception of getting from Coimbra to Conimbriga (which did not turn out too difficult but it was not the most obvious to us). Because we searched and failed to find useful references on how to get from downtown Coimbra to Conimbriga, I decided to document that here.
Conimbriga is the site of ancient Roman ruins that would make for a great half day trip from Coimbra. You can do a full day and tackle one of their long trails there but we did not have enough time. We took the earliest bus in the morning, spent a few hours wandering through the ruins and their small on-site museum, and returned on the early afternoon bus.
Bus Service & Times
While walking from the Castle of Leiria to Sé de Leiria (Leiria Cathedral), we came across the most adorable cafe! This was unexpected as it was not on any tourist map that we had but was the most welcome surprise as it allowed us to continue our 2-a-day caffeine addiction (sometimes 3-a-day for Andrew).
The price was in line with what you would expect anywhere else in Portugal for um cafe expresso or um pingo (< 1 euro). To learn how to order coffee in Portugal, I had to... google it...ha... but found this handy website (http://www.portugaltraveltips.co.uk/food-and-drink/how-to-order-coffee-in-portugal/) describing the types of coffee one could order. Coming from the states, I was used to a simple black coffee (no milk or sugar) but this is not really an option in the rest of the world (we had similar lack of black coffee in Australia).
The seating consisted of a mix of short stools and benches! We saw a young teen couple sitting here and I had to refrain from taking a creeper photo of them.
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