Praia Do Norte & Capelo Photo Collection

The hike from Salão to Praia do Norte proved to be the hardest part of my week long trip around Faial Island.

The road to Praia do Norte inclined steadily with each curve. Though it helped me in the long run, trekking uphill in the cold, grey hills was challenging. The worst part by far was feeling water in the soles of my boots soak into my socks.

As the sky cleared towards the end of the day the sun reached out to the surrounding landscape. By then I had reached Praia do Norte and my goal for the day was complete. My reward was a complete sunset overview of the youngest part of Faial.

This set of photos is part of a larger collection named Por Caminho that I created during my backpacking trip around Faial Island.

Photos taken mid November, 2019

Miradouro da Ribeira Funda
Miradouro da Ribeira das Cabras

“The Ribeira das Cabras Viewpoint shows the complete landscape of the youngest area of Faial Island, the peninsula of Capelo being 10,000 years old. In here are the most recent volcanic cones of the island. On the right, it’s possible to see the Fajã, a portion of land created by lava flow that cooled down on contact with the water. The two historic eruptions of Faial happened in here: Cabeço do Fogo in 1672 who’s lava flows formed the Misteiros and finished the formation of the Fajã causing a great destruction in the parishes of Praia do Norte and Capelo and the emigration of several families to Brazil. The Capelinhos Volcano eruption in 1958 devastated and caused a large emigration flow of almost all the population of Praia do Norte parish to the United States.”

-Tourism board


Capelo

The next morning I packed up camp and headed to Capelo where I planned to spend the entire afternoon at the famous Vulcão dos Capelinhos (Capelinhos Volcano.)

I enjoyed every step of the way through the little town of Capelo. There were numerous traditional-styled homes (pictured below) and the view of the ocean was always to my left.

Along the way I noticed how far I had already come. I was more than halfway around the Island of Faial and I was about to gaze upon what all the Azores travel magazines advertised as the “Mars-like landscape of the Azores.”

Green field farm house and Cabeço do Fogo in the background.
Boa tarde!
Ponta de Castelo Branco
Traditional Azorean home
Backpacking grants you the time to think about life in symbolic terms.
Casal do Vulcão- Hostel
Sign to Vulcão dos Capelinhos: a natural reserve and Azores GeoPark
The lighthouse at Vulcão Dos Capelinhos now acts as an interactive science museum. You can walk around the exhibit or climb to the top for a 360 view of the surrounding landscape. More on this in the next blog post.

Previous:

  1. Horta
  2. Horta’s Marina
  3. Praia Do Almoxarife
  4. Salão, Cedros, and The Road to Praia do Norte

Next: Vulcão dos Capelinhos

Por Caminho: Salão, Cedros, and The Road to Praia do Norte

From Praia Do Almoxarife I hiked 10.6km(6.5 miles) to Salão.

If you plan on backpacking Faial I recommend stopping here. I stayed at the campsite which had fireplace cabana and a direct path to a natural swimming pool.

This set of photos is part of a larger collection named Por Caminho that I created during my backpacking trip around Faial Island.

Photos taken mid November, 2019

I reached Ribeirinha mid-day with enough sunlight and energy to continue hiking towards Salão
The Islands in the distance from left to right are São Jorge and Pico
One thing I noted on my backpacking trip were how colourful and vibrant some of the houses were.
From Horta to Salão- 15.7 km or 9.7 miles
Parque de Campismo (campsite)
Fireplace Cabana at Salão’s camp site (parque de campismo.) Although I was here alone in November, I could imagine sitting around the fire with friends during the summer. It’s a perfect location day and night.
The boardwalk leading down to the natural swimming pool
São Jorge in the distance.

I woke up the next morning to wind dashing against my tent. Water droplets dotted the roof and one by one scurried off the side. After a few minutes more laying there watching the raindrops race each other, a warm glow cloaked the tent. I unzipped the door, flung my feet onto the wet grass, and laid there a while longer.

Nothing ever lasts. Grey clouds were gathering in the distance. I packed up camp and headed out. As soon as I turned onto the main road it started to rain. Luckily, there was a Casa do Povo which is a sort of gathering hall/cafe for locals. I waited out the rain there, having breakfast and making small talk with the older gentleman behind the bar. When the clouds cleared, I took my chances.

Xavier Cafe- Modern restaurant and cafe in Cedros where I stopped for a meia de leite
I took this photo right outside Ribeira Funda, 9.7 km (6miles) away from Salão. Fortunately for me, it didn’t end up raining even though the entire day was dark and cold. What was challenging however, was the slight incline of the roads. Each turn seemed to be steeper than the last This actually worked in my favour since it increased my body temperature.
3 miles out
From Horta to Praia do Norte: 29 km (18 miles)

There wasn’t much to look at as I passed Ribeira Funda and not three miles away was the next major town: Praia Do Norte.

That’s where I would set up camp.

I was determined to make it there.

In the distance I could see large mountains hiding behind a screen of mist. I knew I just had to keep walking and I’d eventually make it there.

Miradouro do Cabeço do Geraldo

The Portuguese word “miradouro” literally translates to “golden sight.” 

There are hundreds of these golden sights located across the Azores. Some of them are right alongside the road and others at the end of long, worn-down farming paths. Usually the harder they are to find the better the view, but maybe that’s just been my experience. 

 I found the miradouro “Cabeço do Geraldo” by accident. It was four years ago when I first arrived in the Azores. I just wanted to climb as high up as I could without having to summit Mount Pico. I went up the main road in Lajes towards Terras and turned onto a secondary street that the more I traversed the less houses and people there were. Eventually I came to a steep slope of loose rocks and I thought If I climbed it I would be able to find another incline to take me even higher. 

So up I went.

 At the top, red gravel paths lead left and right. I went left until I found another slope. At the top of that slope I found a marker that read “Miradouro do Geraldo.” I followed the sign through the farm gates, past the two tall antennas and found myself in the clouds overlooking the Island. The best part about it wasn’t the view, as tremendous as it was, the noise was what attracted me most. Everything grew quiet. I was sweating and breathing hard, my legs hurt, I could hear my heart beating, the sound against my chest. The wind blew, the crickets sang, the cows moo’d from ways down the mountainside but I was there in solitary. All the external noise was gone. My mind cleared without outside distraction. It was quite a beautiful moment if I may say.

Four years have passed since my first visit and when a co worker showed me photos of sunset at the miradouro I knew I had to make another trip. I knew more or less how to get there; so again I went up the main road towards Terras, turned onto the secondary street and walked until I came by a few farmers harvesting a cornfield. I asked them if they knew the best way to get there. We shared a few words and one of the guys offered to give me a ride. 

By the time we made it to Cabeço do Geraldo the sun was beginning to set. The green hills were tinted with sunset hues, Mount Pico appeared as brilliant as ever with the blazing sun to the left of its peak. And the sound-There I was in solitary again.

The wind was soft this time,

the cows yawned,

the crickets creaked.

It was just as beautiful, just as peaceful as I remembered it; except this time the light shifted from a warm spectrum of colours to a tranquil, cool blend of blues and purples. There I was witnessing it, experiencing it as if it were for the first time.

Photos taken on September 9, 2019
Pico, Azores
Cabeço do Geraldo

-Ryan Q

Sunset Rowing in the Açores: Os Mercenários!

Hey guys, I’m happy to share this collection of photographs with you!

Os Mercenários, a rowing team here in the Azores, invited me to come along with them on their afternoon practice!

I was beyond excited to accept the opportunity. The entire summer I would see them practice on the outskirts of Lajes’ port wondering what it must feel like to row with a coordinated team.

Fortunately, a week before the races that took place during Semana dos Baleeiros we drove out to the neighbouring vila Ribeiras, and I experienced the answer to my question.

I had so much fun taking the photos thanks to Os Mercenários being cool people!

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them. Cheers!

\

I sat at the bow of the boat feeling as if I was slicing through the ocean’s waves. 

As one we row

Three guys on the right, three on the left with the conductor in the middle working together to row in unison. 

The bow rises and drops with the sea

Row after row, row, the boat gains momentum. And after an eventful duration we slow down and stop. 

Stillness in the Atlantic

I felt the oceans power as our vessel rose and fell with the tide. 

We drifted for a few moments and then pointed the boat towards the colors in the sky

Rowing until day became night.


Living in Lajes do Pico, Azores: July’s Photo Collection

The twelfth of August marked two months since arriving in Lajes Do Pico, Azores, Portugal.

Besides working at restaurant Lagoa as a server, I spend my time as the locals do: cafe bouncing (from one to another), making conversation with friends, playing futebol and my personal favourite- taking photos of this town I’ve come to know as home.

In this article I share July’s photo collection with you which includes both candid and intentional images of Lajes, portraiture work I did with my good friend Barbara, and also my afternoon getaway to one of Pico’s main Vilas, Madalena.

If you want to read my travel anecdotes from July, click here

Thanks for stopping by.

I hope you enjoy seeing through my perspective (:


Lajes at Dusk

View Collection


Aromas e Sabores Pastelaria


Photoshoot with Barbara

View Complete Collection


Madalena

View Collection



The Next 35 Weeks.

What can happen in 35 weeks? Your whole entire world can change.

The last 35 weeks in Florida has been both depressing and up-lifting. It’s interesting to look back at how I fluctuated through such a broad spectrum of emotions.

My experiences were both positive and negative, yet I also see that my experiences just are; that which makes me who I am writing this now. I suppose my interpretation of my experiences are different than the experiences themselves, like Shakespeare says,

“Nothing is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.” And at the same time it is the duty of the individual to conceptualize one’s life in order to live with purpose and meaning.

Now that I’m living in the Azores and don’t plan on returning to Florida anytime in the near future, I find myself asking, What am I doing here? 

  My plan for the next 35 weeks is to continue on the path towards my goals and further more, to my dreams. 

For the past four years I’ve been able to travel a few months every summer. One of the many lessons I brought home with me was how inadequate a month or two is if you really want to understand a foreign culture. Imagine you’re a foreigner visiting the United States for a month, would that be enough time to visit and enjoy all 50 states, speak English fluently/conversationally, and understand the variety of customs, beliefs, and lifestyles throughout all 50 of them? Absolutely not.  Each time I come home and process my trip I always think how much more there was to experience and learn about.

One week in Cartagena, for example, is enough time to fall in love with the city. Two weeks in Cartagena is enough time to see its flaws and routines. Three weeks in Cartagena, well, I’m not sure. Last year I spent two months traveling through Colombia and Ecuador which was only enough time to spend no more than a week in each city/town. I started in Cartagena, then went to Medellin, Bogota, Pasto. I stayed overnight in Ipiales before crossing into Ecuador to do the same thing. My return flight was back in Cartagena so I ended up spending an extra week there. My perception of Cartagena changed dramatically during the second week and I wondered once I got home how much it could’ve changed if I had spent the entire two months in Cartagena instead of jumping around every week. 

What I’m trying to express is how I would rather spend a longer amount of time living in a place getting to know the ins and outs, than hostel hopping one city to the next. This is what I’m looking forward to doing here in the Azores and in Portugal, once I make it to the mainland. The first time I went to Pico, Azores I stayed a little more than six months. I had just graduated high school, spent the summer working and come autumn I was off to the single place I wanted to travel to since I was a child listening to my dad’s stories. I was always intrigued by how he explained his childhood, from playing soccer around the island to the vast green landscapes. He would tell me about the volcano rising above the clouds, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, always present like a guardian protecting his kingdom. Those six months I spent in Pico were fundamental to my character. It felt like it was the first time I truly answered the call to adventure. When I finally returned to Florida I remember feeling like a new person. I became self-aware of how my mind worked, how other’s worked, I tuned into my senes in a way that I wasn’t before. I could view the world from different perspectives without latching onto a single one and that’s helped me throughout the years in various circumstances. 

Ever since I started traveling I feel my purpose is to travel. Whether that started when I first moved to Florida from Massachusetts or when I visited Pico for the first time  I’m not sure of. Regardless, there’s no better way to put it: my purpose is to travel. I need to live my passion and that’s what these next 35 weeks are all about. I’m working towards my goals, following my dreams, knowing I’m doing everything in my power to live a life I’m happy about. Right now I write this from a small town called Lajes do Pico. Not five years ago this place was only an idea in my mind. Now its a familiar place. Part of me will always be right here by the ocean. The rest of me will find itself all across the world in due time.