It is the beginning of a tour of the largest island of the archipelago.
They say that there are no two people alike, except identical twins and even these have almost indelible differences, the same applies to the Atlantic islands may have
some things in common, but they are totally different. This is the case of São Miguel, the largest of the Azores islands, whose serene and undulating beauty comes through inside your eyes in various shades of green that leave us speechless. Ponta Delgada is about ten minutes from the airport, even with traffic in rush hour! I'm kidding, road traffic on this island is as quiet as its landscape, only comparable to an interregional road somewhere in the deepest Alentejo. It is worth renting a car, because thanks to the careful management of local government, the highway that crosses the island allows safe driving, regional roads are in excellent condition and even secondary accesses are very good and believe me, even less experienced drivers will not have difficulties, let me be clear that within localities the roads are narrowed, but everything is manageable, if you understand my good Portuguese.
San Miguel is worth visiting at any time of the year due to its temperate climate, where you can enjoy the micro-climates, ie, throughout the day, it rains, it is cloudy and the sun shines. In the summer, on the other hand, the humidity can be around 90% which is a challenge especially at night to sleep, but nothing that a good air conditioning cannot solve.
Leaving Ponta Delgada what draws most of your attention are pastures punctuated with spotted cows, black and white, and let me tell you, there is no happier animals than these, they graze without all day problems because it is all plane and because the weather is so mild, they eat fresh grass every day, then there are fields of transgenic corn fields that later are dried and used as fodder for the cows, so that they produce the best milk, butter and cheese at the national level, it is all a delight and you always cry for more and your diet suffers.
The first stop, as is expected, to visit the lakes, the most famous of which the seven cities with its blue and green color, according to legend the different tones came from tears shed by a princess with blue eyes of a fairyland and a humble shepherd with green eyes who fell madly in love and given the impossibility of being happily ever after they copiously mourned their sadness and magically created the two lakes together for all eternity. A story that is worth remembering in the king's viewpoint as the dense fog hoist slowly to show the unparalleled beauty of these two boilers and the surrounding green landscape. Down the winding road always surrounded by tufts of hydrangeas and covered with yellow fields of flowers known as ginger lily, we reached the bridge that divides the two lakes and the outlook is even more impressive for its scenery in depth. It is a 365 degree view where the green walls are lapped by calm and deep waters that change depending on the color of the lake, as is Sunday we only hear the hiss of a breeze, the hooting of birds and ringing the bell to call the faithful to the little church of the locality with the same name, the Seven Cities, but why this so unusual designation?
Again a legendary feature mixes with reality, one azorean named Ferdinando Telles said that San Miguel was the famous "insula septem civitatum" a medieval historical reference which ensured that there was an island somewhere in the western Atlantic, surrounded by lakes and rivers, where there were seven people in seven different cities, and how he thought this Portuguese island matched the location of the legendary Antilia, the name stuck. It is still almost improbable that two lakes inspire so many mythical stories, I would almost say that the settlers and the kings that ruled were nothing more, nothing less than romantics.
The second pond that deserves a look is the fire, the largest on the island of São Miguel with about 1,360 hectares, which owes its name to the volcano that created it and whose last eruption date 1563, and what is most impressive of this boiler its deep blue it seems that a part of the sea was lost in the ground.
The third freshwater portion that is worth mentioning is the lagoon of the caves, where are the volcanic flues where it is the famous stew, which as is tradition dish, but I must confess that I prefer the original version, Portuguese stew. The surrounding landscape is idyllic, the smell that comes from volcanic bubbling water is that it can "spoil" a little experience, but it is amazing how we have a subterranean underworld who manifests so powerfully, nature here dominates and it seems that is tame, but no, we are mere guests of this wonderful and delighted ecosystem, as the legends.