Activity note: Today there is an easy slow walk around the Botanical garden during the visit followed by a walk through the town on the way back to Hotel
Morning: Transfer to hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a drink and warm welcome and lead introductions. He will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.
Lunch: At the hotel, we will have lunch before check in.
Afternoon: After 2:00pm checking in and getting your room, take some time to freshen up and relax. Depart to Faial Botanical Garden for a guided walking lecture by Joao Bettencourt one of the resident Botanist explaining the endemic and introduced species of the Azorean Flora. Return to the Hotel on a walking excursion led by your local expert instructor Nuno Garcia.
Dinner: Tonight walk across to a local restaurant where you will literally have to “work for your meal” by cooking your own dinner on the hot basaltic stone placed in front of you with a selection of meat, fish and vegetables to cook.
Evening: The timing of this morning Orientation Session/Welcome drink and meeting will depend on when participants arrive and could be this evening or tomorrow. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motor coach. Ferry ride 4.5 nautical miles to Pico Island, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1 mile at moderate pace, approximately 1 hour; mostly level terrain, some hilly areas, uneven surfaces.
Breakfast: Buffet Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Transfer by motor coach from the hotel to dockside and board the ferry for a field trip to Pico Island, named for its dormant volcano. At a height of 7,700 feet (2,350 meters), the volcano is the highest point in Portugal. One of the most beautiful islands in the Azores, Pico is on the UNESCO World Heritage List for the landscape of its vineyard culture: “an outstanding example of the adaptation of farming practices to a remote and challenging environment.” Long stone walls called “currais” running inland around the northern and western edges of the island were built to form and protect thousands of small plots for grape vines and other crops. Pico was also an outpost for whale hunting and today is part of a movement for the fair treatment, study, and observation of whales and other sea mammals. From the principal town of Madalena, we’ll take a motor coach with our local expert to see several villages along the mountain road en route to the Museu dos Baleeiros (Whalers Museum) in Lajes. Whaling was a major segment of the Azores economy until the European Union banned it in 1982. Ending the whaling industry was one of the necessary conditions when Portugal joined the EU several years later. The Museum contains original tools of the trade and occupies the site of several 19th century boat houses.
Lunch: At a local restaurant.
Afternoon: Continuing our exploration this afternoon take the mountain road up to 900meters/2.700 feet at the foot of the tallest volcano “Pico” which gives the name to the Island towering over 2.000 meters /6.000 feet. After a brief stop at “Lagoa do Capitao” continuing to “Sao Roque do Pico” where our expert instructor will lead an explanation of the old Whale factory and its machinery. The Azores islands are nearly 1,000 miles from the mainland of Portugal, yet surprisingly have been producing Cheeses & wines since shortly after the first settlers arrived in 1439. Today there are nearly 2,500 acres of vineyards We’ll also stop at the small wine museum where you be introduce to cheeses & wines from the Islands and be able to taste of some. On our last stop in Madalena a visit to the church of Santa Maria Madalena (Saint Mary Magdalene), dating back to the 17th century and notable for its beautiful tile work. Returning to the hotel, to refresh and going out to “Peter’s Café” an iconic local restaurant with a unique history.
Dinner: Walk across to “Peter’s café” near the Hotel where the owner Jose Henrique will welcome the group and share the History & stories of his family and this iconic restaurant. He will also lead a visit to the private collection of scrimshaw house above the restaurant. Then we enjoy a dinner with traditional dishes .
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer tomorrow, followed by our flight to Ponta Delgada.
Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile at moderate pace, approximately 30 minutes; mostly level terrain; at Capelinhos volcano site, uneven rustic path.
Breakfast: At the hotel, and checkout of your room.
Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and set off on a field trip to the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation. It conducts continuing research on the volcanic eruption of 1957-58 and monitors activity of the Capelinhos volcano. It also has exhibits on volcanology locally and around the world. This unusual and futuristic looking scientific facility was built under the ashes, adjoining and incorporating the first two floors of the old light house covered by the ashes. The original tower of the old lighthouse still stands above the bare landscape. There are caldeiras (volcanic craters) around this and the other islands, each with its distinctive landscape and scenery. Weather permitting we continue driving to reach the Caldeira do Faial via the road rising nearly 3,500 feet to a viewing point over this vast volcanic crater at the center of the island. Marvel at its dimensions and the surrounding panorama. The Caldeira is nearly a mile (1.5 kilometers) wide and more than 1,200 feet (370 meters) deep, now a nature reserve and an impressive reminder of the volcanic origins of the Azores. According to some theories, these islands are the last vestiges of Atlantis!
Lunch: At a local restaurant.
Afternoon: After lunch we’ll transfer to the airport in Horta for our flight to Ponta Delgada. On arrival, we’ll transfer to our hotel and check in.
Dinner: At the hotel.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile at moderate pace, approximately 2 hours with stops; mostly level terrain, some cobblestones.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Lecture at the Hotel: After the lecture your local expert will lead a walking visit to the Local market where you have an opportunity to observe the local people and be introduced to local agricultural and food products. Tasting some products and the way of life of the Azoreans.
Lunch: At a local restaurant in town
Afternoon: Our local expert will lead a walking field trip through Ponta Delgada and some of its main attractions. starting with the Church of Saint Sebastian, we’ll stroll through the principal commercial area of Ponta Delgada. We’ll stop at the Senhor Santo Cristo church and learn about the most important and respected religious image in the Island, a wooden carving of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (Christ of the Miracles). Brought from Rome in 1530 C.E., it has been venerated for miracles that people of faith have attributed to this “Ecce Homo” image of Jesus. Every year, a great procession follows the image as it is paraded throughout the town. Continuing, drive to Gorreana Tea Factory next to its plantation, the oldest and the only one in Europe. You will learn about the machinery and observe the workers selecting preparing and packing the leaves. After the visit transfer to the owners residence where an afternoon tea tasting will be served hosted by a member of the family Return to Ponta Delgada .
Dinner: Meet your group leader at the Hotel Bar for a drink with your fellow participants, while discussing and deciding where to go for your –Dinner on your own. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile at moderate pace, approximately 1/2 hour at a time; some uneven terrain.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Our field trip this morning will take us to “Miradouro da Vista do Rei” lookout point, named for a 1901 visit by the King and Queen of Portugal, overlooking the lagoon of “Sete Cidades” considered one of the most beautiful natural settings in the Azores and one of the notable Natural Wonders of Portugal. The valley of Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), so called by ancient navigators who believed there were seven settlements around the crater. Enjoy the views over the magnificently beautiful twin lakes — largest fresh water resource in the Islands that filled the caldera of a far older volcano. The two lagoons, side by side - Lagoa Azul (Blue Lake) reflecting the skies, and Lagoa Verde (Green Lake) that appears green due to lush vegetation . Drive down to the North side to Capelas where your instructor will introduce a small private ethnographic museum, the result of the work of love by a couple dedicated to preserve for future generations, memories of every possible craft, profession and daily work from around these Islands and Portugal mainland.
Lunch: At a local restaurant
Afternoon: After lunch drive up the mountain to "Caldeira Velha "(old Cauldron)to explore this narrow gorge inside the old crater with lush vegetation and small hot water pools. Depending on the weather we will continue driving further up the mountain to the edge of "Lagoa do Fogo" (lake of Fire)at 949 meters (3.114Ft) high with surprising views over the crater lake (1.6 X 1.9 miles across) and unspoiled nature surroundings. On the return to Ponta Delgada stopping at “Faija de Baixo” to visit an “Ananas” plantation (small Pineapple) and learn about the slow growing process and stages in the greenhouses, that makes them very sweet.
Dinner: Transfer to a local restaurant in the Marina for a Farewell dinner .
Evening: Tonight before dinner, meet Sr Alberto Cymbron a local author to learn about the book He wrote about the Azores traditions to his grandchildren to learn the History of the islands. He will sign a copy of his book for participants
Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile at moderate pace, approximately an hour at a time; uneven tracks.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Depart and Stop at Ribeira Grande and free time to explore. Continue to “Miradouro dos Picos de Ferro” for a photo stop, observe and enjoy the great views over “Lagoa das Furnas” before descending to “Furnas” inside the Cauldron with its lake, Hot Springs & Thermal Water Center. We’ll learn about the various types and characteristics of its more than 32 varieties of calcareous, sulphurous, hot, cold, murky and clear stream waters, then drive to the edge of the lake to watch our lunch “The Cozido” being retrieved from the earth where it has been cooked for 6-8 hours on the hot steams emanating from underground.. Continue to the Hotel for lunch
Lunch: Enjoy your “Cozido” at a local restaurant.
Afternoon: After lunch check in to your room. Mid afternoon we transfer to “Gorreana” tea plantation and factory to learn about the oldest and only tea plantation in Europe. After the visit transfer to the owners residence for a private afternoon tasting.. Return to Hotel and free time to enjoy the Hotel gardens and facilities
Dinner: We’ll enjoy a farewell meeting followed by dinner together. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: After dinner meet at the bar for a farewell drink with fellow participants and share your stories and memorable moments
Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveller (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.”
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: This morning a guided visit of the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens, led by Carina, one of the resident botanist introducing the various species in the garden, its history and the family who created it. After the visit, check out of your room and time free to enjoy the Hotel and lunch on your own
Lunch: Free time to enjoy lunch on your own.
Afternoon: Transfer to Airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!