At full moon 🌕 we'll have been on Faial island nine days. All nine islands are distinctive, and we've see this between Santa Maria and Faial.
On Santa Maria, pop. 5500, the lifestyle is slower. Roads are narrow and winding, and cows are regularly mooved on them, so drivers tend to be slower in the countryside. It's on the edge of the archipelago and has a remote feeling. Weather is in microclimates — generally cooler and windier at higher elevations, sunnier warmer and calmer at the sea in my short experience.
Faial, pop. 14,000, is the regional center of three islands called the Triangle. Horta has half the island's population and scenic ports for yachts and ferries. It's ocean view is dominated by Mount Pico of neighboring Pico island — the highest mountain in all of Portugal.
Roads we've seen on Faial are wide and mostly straight so even with no shoulders on them we've felt safe walking the 3 km (2 miles) to the market/cafe every day that weather permits.
The roads are straight but not level where we are in the remote north, so our legs get a good workout on the incline.
In the past week or so we've ventured out twice by bus to Horta town, about an hour ride. The second trip was especially lovely as we were more relaxed and could take in some of the highlights. The bus schedule allows us about four hours in town and our journey begins by getting up at 5:45 a.m. and walking half an hour in pitch dark with flashlights to the bus stop where local kids gather for their daily transportation to schools.
The schoolchildren on Faial seem especially polite and respectful. When a tissue fell from my pocket to the bus floor, a young boy going to primary school and sitting by himself across the aisle reached to pick it up for me. Later — with his own appreciation — he pointed me to the stunning light of sunrise behind the looming presence of Pico mountain. We arrive in Horta before 8:30 and the return bus picks us up at 12:30 or so.
Overall this evening we're quite content and appreciate this shelter from the brewing weather. Our bodies have felt the walking, and we wanted more exercise and stretching, so it's all good. On our way back from Praia da Norte, a young man in a pickup stopped without our asking and gave us a ride to the house. Those spontaneous acts of kindness help make life rich.
OUR VISION IS TO LIVE ON A PLANET WHERE ALL LIVES ARE TREATED WITH LOVE AND RESPECT
Photos by Nicole