Portugal

After Baiona we sailed down to Lexion just north of Porto, Portugal, not much wind but we had some very nice visits by Dolphins.

Leixoes is a good place to stop at, it offers a low-cost marina 32 Euro a day for our 53 feet, or you can anchor safely just outside the marina.

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It is a nice walk along the waterfront to this famous restaurant (the building with read roof) Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, designed by one of the world most famous architects Pritzker Siza Vieira, We assumed the cost for dining there was above our budget so we had a Pizza on a nearby restaurant instead. If the restaurant does not interest you, there is a nice chapel just nearby, and a light house.

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Along the waterfront there are nice beaches but water temperature is not so welcoming to our new standard for leisure swimming

Leixoes Beach

Porto

From Leixoes it is easy to get to Port, a bus stop just outside the marina and after ca 50 minutes you are in downtown Porto

Porto Town

Porto is an impressive city with ca 240.000 inhabitants. Porto is a very old town, during Roman time it was know as Portus Cale a name that later gave name to Portugal. 1392 the famous Henry The Navigator was borne in Porto, or as he is called in Portugal Henrique o Navegador.

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Both impressive buildings and interesting narrow alleys, as well as street arts

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But I assume the Douro water-front area is the most popular area

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Porto Bridge

Brave kids jumped from the bridge into the water, then they collect money from the tourists. It is almost 20 meters down to the water, that is high!

On the river Douro, Port wine was transported down to warehouses in Porto

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Now the traditional boats transport tourists instead

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I can recommend strolling along the water-front and of course buy a bottle of Port-wine

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It tasted great with some well matured cheese and crackers when back on Kerpa.

Douro trip

We rented a car for a few days, the first trip was along the Douro Valley

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Very beautiful

Douro 6

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Further up the valley the grapes become the major crop

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Douro valley is the most important wine area in Portugal

It attracts a lot of tourists traveling on the river, they must then pass this massive lock

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It was a very nice and beautiful trip but the highlight was our stay in a small and old mountain village Poiares, we stayed at what we guess was and old rectory house

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The building was more than 300 years old

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With an impressive courtyard

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where we enjoyed a plain dinner and a glass of wine

Inside it was not less impressive

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The breakfast area, not too bad.

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View from the village.

We do recommend you to try AirBnB if you have not done it yet, it is often much cheaper than a hotel, definitely more interesting and it give you the opportunity to get in contact with local people.

Coimbra

Next Stop was Coimbra an important town in Portugal, it was the capital city 1139 to 1260, but now more known for Portugal’s oldest and one of the largest universities from the 13:th century.

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The university

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The town itself is very beautiful

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With many old and nice buildings

Coimbra AirBnB 1

We stayed at an AirBnB in the house to the right in the picture, VERY central and interesting

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The flat had a nice roof terrace, suitable for breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening

In Coimbra they have a miniature “city” with models of important places both in and outside Portugal, well worth a visit especially if one has kids.

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the miniature city

Nazare

The next day we went to Nazare, but first we stopped at the Batalha Monastery, which is one of the most impressive religious buildings of Portugal. This Gothic monastery was commission by King João in gratitude for the decisive victory in the battle of Aljubarrota (1385), and the grand designs took over a hundred years to construct.

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The unfinished part, not the carving in the columns.

 

Nazare is an impressive place with fantastic beaches on each side of the massive cliff

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Nazare light house 1

With it’ famous lighthouse

Nazare is a very popular tourist place the southern beach is packed with people

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But of course Nazare is famous for the largest waves in the world and surfers came from all over the world to surf the massive waves, the largest waves ever surfed was in Nazare, 32 m high

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The lighthouse is 60 meters above sea level, by the arrow is a surfer

Surfer 1

Please Notice the surfer in the red circle

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An other surfers, and a few more..

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a 2 minutes film well worth to watch

a 14 minutes film about two Australian wanted to surf the most wildest waves on the planet, do not miss it.

 

On our trip we saw many scares from wild and forest fires, but also several smaller and larger fires some of them along the Douro Valley, with helicopters fighting the fires.

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took these pictures on the way back towards Porto

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Fire on distance when sailing further south along the Portuguese coast, a lot of smoke, sad.

Next stop Cascais ….

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Galicia

After we left A Coruna, we continued south to explore some of the Galician rias. One thing we quickly noticed, the weather was not very warm on the contrary it was rather chilly, and I have also understood that we had some luck with the weather, it could be rather windy and rainy, so we should not complain.

Camarias

Camarias is a small village not without some charm, it was some kind of festival when we arrived.

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We saw a procession of kids walking and playing bag pipes or Galta as it is called in across northern Spain. Until now I thought bag pipe was merely Scottish, but they do play it in Galicia as well.

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Camarinas town

We found this construction in the town

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Very nice construction does not know what it is used for, we guessed they were used for food storage in the old days, but later on we saw similar constructions and they looked more like tombs.

Of course, we have to try the local cuisine

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Have never been any big fan of scallops, but fresh out of the sea they taste good, so I will give it a few more tries.

 

Muros

Anchored outside the village Muros, we saw “harvest” of mussels

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We saw a lot of people walking in the water, first we did not understand what they were doing, but later it became very clear. They rake through the sand and mud looking for clams. It looked as a hard work

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The catch, which we of course tried later on at the local restaurant tasted great.

As you could see the area is very tidal, we anchored to close to the shallow area, so in the morning when we woke up we had to move rather quickly not to be caught on falling tide.

Just when we got our anchor down on the new spot another boat thought we left a good spot and dropped his anchor close to where we have had ours.

Not a very good move

I and another sailor tried to help him getting of the “ground” I took his halyard to my dingy with the 15 hp engine and try to heal him, but the mud held him in a firm grip.

A few hours later the tide lifted him of the mud and the only damage was to the captains pride.

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There is a marina if one does not fancy to anchor.

Muros has a beautiful church, Igrexa San Pedro its foundation is 13th centuries.

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Very beautiful stonework

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Old Tomb? Outside the church, construction very much like the” food store” we saw in Camarinas

From the clock tower one has a nice view of the harbor and anchorage.

The village itself is very nice indeed.

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The local “Mercado”

Isla De Arousa

 

South Anchorage/harbour Isla De Arousa

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Yet again festival, this time it was a clam festival, and of course we had to test the sea food

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Tasted good

There is also a north harbour, with a brand-new marina not yet opened, but haul out for the winter is possible for a rather reasonable cost.

After feast on mussels we enjoyed this magnificent sun set

Just south of our anchorage there is a small island Arenoso where locals spend the day enjoying life.

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And it is not difficult to understand why.

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It is very interesting rock formations on the island, looks as if they were shaped during an is-age, try to google but could not find anything about any ice coverage of Spain.

Leaving the island we passed this old Swedish Folk-boat

We wondered how it got there, but the owner did not spoke any English so we could not found out how.

 

Ensenada de Barra

A good and sheltered place to anchor just north of Baiona.

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De Barra anchorage and beach. One should not be prudish taking the dingy to the beach as it is a nudist beach, crowded with naked people. But it is well worth to land with your dingy because there are some nice trails out to the light house at Punta Robaleira

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Punta Robalei

On the walk we saw some very large pine cones

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And a chestnut tree

Baiona

Baiona is an old town founded 140 BC, currently ca 12000 inhabitant, well worth a visit.

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The harbor with its old forth, on one of the pictures one can see a replica of Christopher Columbus Caravel La Pinta, which was the first of Columbus ships to return from America to Europe, thus the people on Baiona was the first port to know about the discovery of America.

A tile wall describing the voyage of Columbus.

Walk around the castle is very nice

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Yet again we saw the strange isolated “tombs”

If anyone know anything about the please let me know.

It offers a great view of the Atlantic.

The town itself is well worth a visit

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Plenty of restaurants to choose from

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And we choose the right one, the calamari’s was one of the best we ever tasted.

Baiona was our last anchorage in Galicia, next stop will be in Portugal.

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A Coruna

I have read about A Coruna since I was a boy. It was always the port all sailors which started their cruising in Scandinavia made land to after crossing the fierce Bay of Biscay, seeking a well-deserved rest after encountering violent gales and massive waves. In their tales it was often with great relieves they found shelter in A Coruna, but I can’t remember anyone describing A Coruna, it was only about the crossing, I guess they were occupied with recovering themselves and repair what was broken. Of course, I built a picture of A Coruna in my head. I saw a small rugged but also cosy fishing village inhabitant by a handfull seasoned fishermen.  As we started our trip in the Mediterranean 4½ year ago I never got  the opportunity to visit A Coruna. Hence the detour via A Coruna on our way home to Lagos Portugal.

When arriving I quickly realize that my picture could not be more wrong, we arrived to a major historical town with ca 250 000 inhabitants

La Coruna

A Coruna Harbor

A Coruna is a very old town, 62 BC Julius Caesar visit A Coruna at that time called Brigantium. Another example of the very old history is Torre de Hercules, it is the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today. It’s structures 55 m was built in the second century and renovated 1791.

Torre de Hercules overlook the North Atlantic Coast and has helped many ships to safety over the centuries. Viking Björn Ragnarsson stop in A Coruna as he thought he saw a tower of Gold

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According to a myth that mixes Celtic and Greco-Roman elements, the hero Hercules slew the giant tyrant Geryon after three days and three nights of continuous battle. Hercules then in a Celtic gesture buried the head of Geryon with his weapons and ordered that a city should be built on the site. The lighthouse atop a skull and crossbones representing the buried head of Hercules’ slain enemy appears in the coat-of-arms of the city of Coruna.

Maria Pita

Maria Pita

Maria Pita (1565 1643) is a town hero from the battle against England and the privateer Francis Drake 1589. She took active part in the battle. She was at the defense line with her husband, after her husband was killed from a cross bow shot in the head, she toke a weapon and shoot an English soldier with a banner and then shouted “Whoever has honor, follow me!” ; and then they manage to drive the Englishmen off the land.

She was married 4 times, she must have been tough not only towards Francis Drake and his soldiers but also towards her own husbands!

Anyhow to her memory they have a festival lasting most of August, there are several scenes spread out in the city with various artist performing at no cost for the audience. To our surprise there was a concert with Patti Smith (if any young person read this she is a legendary poet and pop singer age 73)

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It was a lot of people attending on beach a very nice venue

 

A Coruna is very nice place indeed with both nice and impressive buildings

Such as the city hall and Square

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A Coruna is as most towns in Europe made for people and not for cars, which is a delight

A Coruna street view 4A Coruna street view 5

Street art is part of the city

Food Culture

The best of all by being back “Home” to Europe is the food culture. It is fantastic. Excellent raw materials

Such as

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Cheese, ham, wine and bread all excellent quality

or Sea food

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If you do not fancy to cook yourself, visit one of many good restaurants and enjoy very good food

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And all this excellent food at very reasonable prices. We have gormandized all kinds of delicious food, not good for waistlines but good for life.

Well there is a harbor in A Coruna also, I almost forgot that in my excitement for the place

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Part of A Coruna harbor in the Old Town.

We had e very pleasant time in A Coruna, meeting other yachties, A Coruna is highly recommended even if it far from an old weather-beaten fishing village that was pictured in my young head a long time ago.

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Azores part 2

It will be a lot of photos this time, I have difficult to decide which to exclude as most of them show the beauty of the Islands, therefore the many photos. When we left The Azores we said to each-other, what will Top this? It will be a challenge, definitely the most beautiful area we have seen. We just say go there does’t matter how you get there, just go there and enjoy

 

Pico

Pico is another beautiful island, known maybe for two things, the highest mountain in Portugal 2351 m high, and for wine production. Population is ca 15 000 people and not very touristic.

Pico Climb 4

Of course we had to pay the island a visit, and climb the top of the volcano

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The top of Pico as seen from Horta.

On the way up to the “base Camp” one passes a very beautiful landscape where the cows feast on the green grass and admiring the view, it looks as very ecological milk production?

Pico 6

Further up we came to this very special volcano crater

Pico 1

If you look carefully you see a gate in the entrance, our guess they bring the cows to the crater for milking.

Inside one has a great view of the top of Pico

Pico 3

Inside is very green and beautiful, I have used the word beautiful so many times describing the nature on Fajal and now Pico, and I can assure you I will use it many times describing the other islands that we have visited, it is amazing.

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inside the crater

Pico Climb 7

”Base camp” Pico is on 1100 m height to the right in the picture you see the broken volcano where we stopped on the way up.

At the base you buy a permit to climb and they give you a personal tracker so that they can keep track on everyone on the mountain. From here it is rather steep and demanding climb,

Pico Climb 1

Witch for the feet very sharp and aggressive volcano rocks and gravel make it sometimes very slippery. Often so steep than one need to use both feet and hands to climb not only walk.

Pico Climb 12Pico Climb 5

We had our daughter Emelie with her husband Axel visiting us, now they are smiling but further up their faces show more fatigue and admiration for the stunning view

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Pico Climb 11Pico Climb 2

A bit further up

A very strange thing we saw among the lava rocks at high altitude was spots with flowers,

Pico flover

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At the top of the crater 2300 m

The Top

There is an extra 70 meters to climb to get to the highest point, it is very steep and take maybe 30 minutes up and 45 minutes down, we felt very tiered and it was with great hesitation we decided to stay and admire the view and rest after ca 3,5 hours climb.

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On the way down I was very pleased we did stop a bit short of the peak, we were all very tiered and the way down is more demanding than the walk up and the risk of falling and hurt one self should not be taken easy on.

A few days later we returned to Pico for a more leisure full trip walking around the wine area. They started to produce wine already in the middle of the 15th century.

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And they have over the centuries worked very hard to cultivate the land picking rocks to protect the plants

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They are more proud over their white wines, which is much more expensive than the red wine.

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A windmill for grapes to become juice.

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The local cooperative for production of wine had ca 250 members and they produced just over 500 000 bottles of wine yearly so very small scale and manual production, they had a target to reach 800 000 bottles a year within a few years.

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Oak casket for storage and maturing of the wine, they had both French and US Oak casks

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And of course, we had to try and purchase a few bottles

 

But we also took a nice walk to one of the natural pools that exist on most of the Azores islands

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A nice walk to the Natural pools took us past these nice places

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Below some more pictures from Pico

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Sao Jorge

Sao Jorge is a smaller island with about 10 000 in population. We know of Sao Jorge before from the cheese they do produce, a fantastic delicious cheese, with a very pleasant and powerful aroma.

On this island we also got in close contact with the cows

Sao Jorge Cow

It was probably in excess of 100 cows walking from the field to the milking place that we had to pass, it took it’s time.

But we did not mind at all as we know how fantastic cheese, they produce

Sao Jorge Cheese 1

Cheese tasting at the local cooperative, and of course we had bags with cheese with us when leaving

Later on at an Airbnb

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We enjoyed the cheese and a bottle of Pico whine on the terrass

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Below some more pictures from Sao Jorge

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Terceira

Is a much more develop island with ca 50 000 inhabitants, larger villages better roads and more tourists.

We sailed to Praia Da Vitoria on the north side of the island, a well-protected harbor, luckily one boat just left when we arrived and we could take his place the only one free.

PDV MarinaPDV Beach

Praia Da Vitoria beach and marina “combined”

PDV House 2PDV House 1

The village itself is rather colorful and not without some charm

PDV Monument stairs

Climbing up the “stairs” one reach a monument

PDV Monument 1

And from up here one has a nice view over Praia Da Vitoria

PDV Monument view

Terceira has much more to offer

Angra Do Heroismo The oldest city on the Azores founded 1478 and an UNESCO world Heritage

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A very nice place and we could easily understand why it was an UNESWCO world Heritage

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The harbor loos well protected but there was a lot of swell coming in.

Heroismo Harbor 3

Heroismo Seafarer

Two seafarers one a bit more famous than the other Vasco da Gama

Angra Do Heroismo has a very nice garden as well.

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Of course there are Volcanoes also on Terceira

Volcano 1

Volcano Crater

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A tunnel into the interior of the Volcano, below the crater

 

Volcano 3

Now we are in the Volcano looking up to opening where the lava once up on a time was coming out.

Volcano 4

Stairway further down to the bottom where there is a small “lake”

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A cool place to visit

On the way “home” again we encounter a lot of cows on the roads

Terciera cows

And natural pools for swimmers

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Sao Miguel

The largest island is Sao Miguel with ca 140 000 inhabitants, a much more modern place with plenty of tourist and motorways, so our first impression not so impressive as for the other islands, but we were wrong.

The main port is Ponta Delgada with ca 45 000 people residing

The waterfront is not very charming with hotels etc, but just a block in one found a charming old town.

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Traveling on the island offers many interesting places one is the hot springs

Hot Spring 1Hot Spring 2

Smoke coming out of the ground on many places

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Boiling water

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Kerstin enjoying a warm shower in the Waterfall

Hot Spring 4

Pools with warm water

All this in a stunning environment

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Walk along a water pipeline

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And another walk to a waterfall

Waterfall 1

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Now we are tiered

Waterfall beer

so enjoying a well-deserved beer

Are you tiered of all the pictures? if not below follow several pictures to illustrate the beauty of the island San Miguel, but no text only pictures remaining

Sao Miguel 1Sao Miguel 2Sao Miguel 3Sao Miguel 4Sao Miguel 5Sao Miguel 6Sao Miguel 7Sao Miguel 8Sao Miguel 9Sao Miguel 10Sao Miguel 11Sao Miguel 12Sao Miguel 13Sao Miguel 14Sao Miguel 15Sao Miguel 16Sao Miguel 17Sao Miguel 18

 

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Arrived

Yesterday we arrived 22:15 after 890 Nm, we called the Marina Real and they gave us a good place to more Kerpa, the marina is in the middle of the old town which we will explore with great pleasure. Looking forward to have some nice sea food. The coming days will be  very windy but we are securely moored.

cof

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