Walking and Walking and Walking in Ponta Delgada, Portugal

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Land!

When you’ve been on a ship for 6 days, even a nice ship, it’s no surprise that stepping on to firm land is a pretty big deal. Our first stop of the transatlantic journey was in Ponta Delgada, Portugal. Maybe it sounds like it’s close to Europe, being a part of Portugal, but it’s really not as close as one might think. Facing another couple days on board after the brief stop in Ponta Delagada, I was determined to set my feet on ground as early as possible and stay there as long as I could.

Ponta Delgada is an island way, way off the coast of Portugal. I figured that there were adventures to be had there, and lovely places to see. But our time was limited, so what interested me most was a nice, long walk. Why not? My plan was to walk enough so that I would be content on board the ship for another two days. Would the town be big enough? Was the port area close enough to walk to town? Would there be guidebooks or maps? I had many confounding questions, all pointing to the fact that I really should have done more research ahead of time. As it turned out, my research – which consisted of looking at the location of the island on Google maps – was sufficient.

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Sunday morning Harley Club

We got off the ship, set our feet to the ground and strolled. The weather began cool and got steadily warmer and warmer, the streets appeared wondrously cobbled and tiled, and the people, what few were out on this early Sunday morning, were mostly a group of motorcycle enthusiasts. Why would this surprise me? I have no idea. But their presence sold me on Ponta Delgada, a place where you can walk along the harbour, watch waves crash against an ancient stone wall, admire the beautiful tile work on the sidewalks, and march right up to a group of shiny Harleys.

Then we walked and walked and walked. We visited the glorious gardens at Jardim Antonio Borges. This free city park is like no other I’ve ever seen, filled with glorious plants, enormous trees and grottos with sunken gardens.

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Antonio’s Garden

 

At the Governor’s Residence, we paid a small entrance fee, and were delighted by the gardens surrounding the house. Colorful and nicely planned, we even got to see the potting shed and seedlings on display. What a lot of work these gardens are. So, it was nice to find a lovely spot to sit.

Afterward, we walked the pedestrian-only streets with their elaborately-designed stonework. We climbed up the aged stairway of the old harbour walls. We walked neighborhoods of tightly-spaced homes trailing wrought-iron balconies from their upstairs rooms.IMG_3095

The weather was temperate and pleasant on this island, and locals said that was common. But after a while, the sunΒ took its toll. When I needed a break, there appeared before us a modern shopping mall. An air-conditioned store? Yes, please. There was even a fabulous public restroom, with the most amusing wash basin I have ever seen.

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Real or not real?

Before the visit, I felt confident that knowing Spanish, I would be able to handle Portuguese. No doubt others have made this mistake. Even the written words tempted me into believing more of my language skills than I should have. It was not the writing that tripped me up, it was the spoken word. Sign posts and street signs presented no problem. But I could not understand one single spoken word, no matter how slowly spoken or oft-repeated.

Luckily, the people of Ponta Delgada understood me. They provided a marvelous day-long walking path with wonderful weather. Obrigado – it meansΒ thank you, I think πŸ˜‰

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Next up, Cherbourg, France

Stop by Restless Jo’s Monday Walks for more…

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30 thoughts on “Walking and Walking and Walking in Ponta Delgada, Portugal

  1. It does indeed, Susan, but as you’re a lady, it’s ‘obrigada’. One of the easier words to catch when it’s spoken. πŸ™‚ Your post is exactly why I love Portugal. Those tiles that appear in their various forms in so many streets, be it city or village. Faro in the Algarve has them, Lisbon and Porto do, and Funchal of course. And then there’s azulejos…. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Such a cultured nation. I love them! Even though I too struggle to converse. Thank you for this. It brings much joy. One day, maybe πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  2. Ponta Delgada? I did a Google search and there it was – smack in the middle of the Atlantic. We’ve never been to the Azores, but it reminded us a little of Madeira, another Portuguese island in the Atlantic, where we spent a lovely month. Lucky you! What a pleasant place for a walk! We’re looking forward to Cherbourg, another place we’ve yet to visit.

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  3. What a wonderful walk, just love that Indian Rubber tree, and yes Portuguese is quite different in its pronunciation, and each region also can be very different just to make it even more interesting πŸ™‚

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      1. Becky – unfortunately, on this trip it was only one stop in Portugal. We loved the itinerary, but it was mostly one day in each country. Fast-paced after the crossing, but covered a great region that we will probably never be able to go back to.

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  4. Thank you for taking me to Ponta Delgada’s pedestrian only streets! It looked like a place I would like to walk around in. I understand that feeling the terra firma under your feet after 6 days at sea is in itself a lovely experience πŸ™‚ What an adventure you had, I look forward to reading more…mostly after coming back from my trip.

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  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : City of Birmingham (24 hours in Brum) | restlessjo

  6. Love the Harleys, Susan! I imagine that was a true “Huh?” moment. πŸ™‚ There are some similarities between Spanish and Portuguese (not that Portugal will agree however!) and it can come in handy, like you said for the written portion, but oh what a difficult language to try and wrap one’s tongue and mouth around! We had hoped to be more diligent in learning the language when we moved to Portugal but, sadly, are finding too many excuses to procrastinate! Anita

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      1. One of the reasons we liked the Algarve was that English was very wide spoken and, actually, it’s not difficult to find someone who can speak a bit elsewhere in Portugal, too. Unfortunately, being first rate procrastinators, that means that we haven’t put the time into learning the language that we’d planned. Probably a good resolution for 2017! πŸ™‚

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    1. Lucid – there actually were a lot of people there the day we visited (and not all were on our cruise!) – but the island seemed to handle all of us without feeling crowded. I loved Ponta Delgada – and would recommend a visit if you are able!

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