Monday, August 21, 2023
Sunday, August 20, 2023
|Travel Day! (we had a lot of groceries we were bringing onwards)|
|Erin's Swimming Report Card LoL|
|We got to that castle F wanted to see|
|Three bags and lots of groceries!|
Saturday, August 19, 2023
We had a lot of fun looking at fish through our goggles. We saw many fish that were colourful, a flounder shuffling in the sand, and a few sea cucumbers!
|The blue hydrangeas that were everywhere!|
We stopped for lunch in a small town, Fonte do Bastardo (Bastard Fountain in English apparently, though we cannot find the origin of the name). At the restaurant our lack of Portugese was letting us down, and when we were asked a question we assumed was about food we just said yes again assuming that we would be brought menus. Instead we were brought a delicious stew of local meats (deduced from looking at their menu online). Thankfully Erin carries cash because we had neglected to read the large sign on the patio which indicated that they do not accept cards.
From there, we drove up into the hills to the Furnas do Enxofre, a site with lots of volcanic activity. Walking the path feels like you're in a mystical realm. Smoke from underground wraps up around you, as mist from the clouds blankets you from above. The various types of moss look like nothing you've touched before, all colourful and varied in texture. It all looks like a place that fairies would live in.
Our next stop was the Algor do Carvao. This is a cave created by the volcano long ago. You first walk through a narrow tunnel down into the earth. It opens to this specatcular cave adorned by moss and small plants. We weren't expecting its impressize size and lush vegetation. We descended further to a natural pool and admired the cave's opening from many angles.
Onwards we went to the Gruta do Natal. This time we were given hard hats to wear and shown on a map where the tunnels would lead. There was an "easy" and "difficult" path. Not sure what to expect, we embarked on the easier trail and found ourselves navigating along a (well-signed) path underground in tunnels created long ago by lava. It was fun to feel the sense of adventure once we hit the "difficult" part of the path and needed to crouch down and crawl. Many a "thunk" could be heard echoing through the tunnels as people hit their hard hats on the stalactites above.
We finished the day by driving back home along the many hydrangea-lined pastures, back towards the coast and our cosy home.
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
|The Guggenheim! |
We drove by it twice just to get a good look at it
(not at all because we made a navigational error)
|Flying into Terceira|
Sunday, August 13, 2023
The next morning we rose early and jumped in the car, ready for a border crossing. As we drove along the mountain road, there was barely a sign to indicate that we had crossed the border and were now in France, Adventure Girl's tenth country. Shortly after, we pulled into the Artouste gondola station and swung our way up the mountain to board an alpine train.
|The view from the bottom of the gondola|
|Yup, we'd fall|
To our surprise, the first thing the train did was tunnel through the mountain, coming out on the other side, meaning Adventure Kid was buckled in sitting on the cliff side for the entirety of the ride!
Were there moments when we thought we might plummet to our deaths? - Not really. But it was exciting and promoted a good cuddle for the ride to ensure everyone stayed inside the tiny open-air train compartment.
The ride was spectacular. Uninterrupted sweeping mountain vistas the entire time. We'll let our pictures speak for themselves.
If you find yourself in this area of the Pyrenees, this is a must-do!
The ride was approximately 45 minutes long. It was smart to take the first train of the day because it meant no stopping for trains coming from the opposite direction. When we arrived at the mountain station, it also meant that we were the first people up and headed towards the alpine lake. (Pro Tip: sit at the back of the train...it's quieter, has better visibility, and means you are the first up the stairs towards the lake).
|The trail to the alpine lake|
The lake hike was easy, with options to add on further distances if you wanted to spend the day.
Seeing the meadows and valleys in different light on the return trip was just as stunning. It made for an incredibly easy and rewarding day!