7.17.2016

A Visit to the Azores

When we traveled to the Azores Islands this past week, I had a lot on my mind. It was my first trip across the Atlantic, as well as our children's. 



My great-grandparents, (who I had the pleasure of growing up with), were born in the Azores, an archipelago of volcanic islands 5 hours east of Boston by plane, and about 2.5 hours west of Lisbon, Portugal.  My Portuguese great-grandmother was born on the island of Sao Miguel, Azores  in the late 1800's. As we embarked on a 7 day journey to her homeland. I wondered, would I feel her presence?


Sao Miguel is also the home of my husband's grandfather, and my father-in-law generously invited us to visit his father's homeland.



I struggle to put into words what this visit meant.




It was the innate existence of a bygone era...


…untouched landscapes and 360° of natural beauty.


It was winding mountain roads bordered by long expanses of overflowing hydrangeas painted the color of the sky.


It was beauty formed from an angry Earth...



 …lakes filled with jewel-toned waters and jagged rock formations reminding us of the dawn of this paradise.


It was dairy cows scattered across steep hillsides and wide open fields of corn and tobacco.



It was rolling hills, steep mountains, pastures, lakes and seashore. It was sun and fog and sudden raindrops.



It was swimming in a volcanic crater….magical sunsets and LOTS of batatas fritas.


It was parks and rare ferns and topiaries and sulphur pools.


It was a land of gracious hosts and roundabouts and taking the road less traveled.


It was Sao Jorge cheese for the win and codfish and good wine.



It was swirling chocolate pops in hot milk and wanting to take home A LOT of stray dogs and cats...




It was the milkman stopping to let people pet the horse drawing his cart of milk...





…it was praying for lost loved ones in churches where God seemed just a breath away...


…it was tall waves on surf beaches and outdoor cafes.


This island called Sao Miguel was...






family time….




…espresso long and galao.


It was salt water swimming pools,  narrow streets and crazy drivers.






It was blistered toes and sandy feet...


               

...traditional foods and humidity.




It was Agua de Pau and Faixo de Baixo...




…it was Nordeste and Mosteiros and Furnas...



…Logo de Fogo, Vila Franca and Lagoa.



It was Ponta delgada, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.



It was horses we wanted to untie

                 

Grandpa's stories.



It was ladders in the streets and fresh bread...


…new coats of paint and African Lilies...



…it was trailing down paths and black sand beaches.



It was a sense of community and Nestea Peach...


… Portuguese steak and crazy hair.


It was pineapples and passion fruit...




…coincidences and synchronicity.



It was aromas and tastes...





…palm trees and emotions.





It was fogged in airports and first passports...


It was  differences and similarities...




…and eyes open wide.




Although I am not sure why my vovó left Sao Miguel in 1905, I am certain of one thing, she must have spent the rest of her life remembering the beauty of the island she had called home, the kindness of the people and the magical way the salty ocean air crossed the fields and spun magically up the mountainside. 

She was there in every velvety petal, in every sparkling lake…she was there in the beauty that is Sao Miguel, Azores.

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So happy the kids got to visits the homeland of their great-great grandmother on their mother's side, and their great-grandfather on their father's side. 
So blessed.
Thanks Grandpa Edmund.

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20 comments:

  1. What a beautiful place! It looks like you had an amazing time!

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  2. The trip of a lifetime. To go to your family's homeland had to be an incredible feeling. And the beauty of that place....Wow!

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  3. Oh Monica, those photos are absolutely breathtaking! I have heard off the beauty of this island and seeing this has added it to the top of my want to visit places. Thank you for sharing a precious piece of your history...
    Something that I'm sure you will want to engross your self in over and over

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    1. Lucy, I will carry the beauty in my heart !

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  4. Yes, too beautiful. I'm glad your family got to go there and make memories.

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    1. Thanks Donna! It was such a privilege!

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  5. What an amazing and wonderful trip for your family! I never knew it was so beautiful there. I bet you hope to go back soon. Thanks for sharing. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. Thanks Teresa! I'm not sure I will ever get a chance to return,which makes it all the more meaningful!

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  6. What a gorgeous country. And, how special that it is part of your family history.

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    1. Yes, the fact that it connected to our heritage made it sooo special!

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  7. What a beautiful slide show, it is a trip I must take, as my grandmother also left St. Michael when she was 20. Thank you for sharing your story and the pictures makes me know I am a part of what is there as well.

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    1. Hello my much missed friend! You HAVE to go!

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  8. Wow, how wonderful for your family to experience so much beauty and history. I'm glad to see your amazing pictures.

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    1. Thanks Stacey! Sharing the photos was like sharing the journey! Glad you came along!

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  9. Seriously. Amazing. Pictures. And Writing. Wow! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much Larry! Glad you popped by! Miss your blogging!

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  10. What a great trip... and wonderful it had so much meaning. Beautiful photos!

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  11. Wow! I'm so happy you love the azores. I was born in the us, but now I live in mainland Portugal wich is the country that "owns" the Azores. And it makes me feel so happy when someone gets in love with any part of this beautiful country! Now you have to come and visit the capital of Portugal, Lisbon! I'd be happy to give you a tour ;)

    I'm following your blog!
    Xx

    The-not-so-girlygirl.blogspot.com

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Thanks for chatting!

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