Jo’s Monday walk : Ponta Delgada

Off to a flying start in the clouds last week, today we’ll have our feet much more firmly on the ground.  I’m taking you back to the beginning of our Azores adventure, and arriving in a rather dull, grey Ponta Delgada.  Quite a contrast to the sunny Algarve we left behind, but I was full of optimism and happy to finally be there.  It was mid-afternoon when we landed.  A 10 minute taxi ride from the airport, check-in, and we were out on the streets.  I needed a flavour of Sáo Miguel’s main city, and capital of the islands, because I would not be returning.  The following day we were flying onwards, to the island of Sáo Jorge.

My initial impression of Ponta Delgada was not kind.  Much of it looked neglected and unloved, the architecture reminiscent of an outdated Madeira.  But first impressions are not always fair, and my judgment was clouded by the heavy skies.  Nevertheless, the display at the airport should have alerted me that something special was happening here.  The billboards in the street were a definite clue.

The penny still not quite dropping, I wandered on.  The doors stood open on the church in the main square, and I ventured up the steps.

Sáo Sebastiáo, the Igreja Matriz or Mother Church, was magnificent.  I said a quick thank you for my safe deliverance and continued, drawn towards the waterfront.  I peered at the distant hills, willing the cloud to clear.  Down in the marina I was surprised to see paintings along the quay.  I associated these messages of goodwill with Horta, on the island of Faial, but the tradition must have spread to other islands.

So often my wanderings are defined by boats and churches, and this was to be no different.  I lingered hopefully, for just a patch of blue in the sky.  It was still warm enough for frolics in the outdoor pool, but I crossed the road to mount the hill to Sáo Pedro.

When I came out of the church, my husband was chatting to a mischievous looking small boy and his older, more sensible, sister.  They were giggling over their 4 or 5 words of English, while he manfully practised his Portuguese.  All were delighted with the situation.  We parted ways, in need of a coffee, and were amused to then find them sitting at the bus stop opposite our café.  They waved cheerfully as they waited for their bus home, and we ate our first Azorean pastries.

Our spirits lifted along with the clouds, and we strolled on along the waterfront.  By the Fort of Sáo Brás a bustling market was in full swing.  Across the Campo of Sáo Francisco, past the fountains and beyond the bandstand, a wonderful sight met our eyes.

The Church of Sáo Francisco was adorned with flowers.  Curious, we went inside.  Living in Portugal, as we now do, we are well used to splendid panels of azulejos.  Still we gawped at the walls and ceiling before us.  Yet these were not the main attraction.  A throng of people were gathered at the end of the church opposite to the beautiful altar, with their backs turned to it.  Slowly we edged forward to find a gap.  Behind a glass panel, this is what we saw.  We had inadvertently arrived on the island for the Festival of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres.

This link contains a video which you do not need to watch all of to understand the significance of this.  We had missed the parade but could still revel in the beauty of the flowers and decorated streets.  And our first hydrangea!

After supper we returned for a look at the illuminated streets.  The City Gate looked far more imposing with its wash of blue.

And Sáo Francisco?  Well, judge for yourself.  A bit of a dazzler!

The night time shots have too much glare, but I think you can feel the atmosphere.  Perhaps I misjudged Ponta Delgada.

walking logo

I’m back in the Algarve now, but still marveling at the many sights I saw in the Azores.  Join me for more here on Jo’s Monday walk next week.  And many thanks for all your wonderful contributions.

………………………………………………………………………………………

Starting out with Ann-Christine’s beautiful homeland and a tribute to a remarkable man :

Thursday Thoughts – A Life’s Work

Then a little test for your fitness, with Suzanne :

Hiking the Henderson Tramline Loop

Something cool and soothing next, from Xenia :

A Walk at Leitir Easaidh

Not so hot in Toronto, either, but quite interesting.  Thanks, Indra!

Toronto Summer – Don River Valley

Some street art can be disturbing, but that’s part of its function, isn’t it, Ulli?

Urban Art Hall, Berlin

By contrast, lush growth and planting, from Jude.  I’ll make it to Cornwall yet!

Tremenheere Trees

Carol’s been in the wars lately, but she’s a real trooper :

More than a Battlefield

You can have such fun with photographs!  Sometimes I forget to play.  Thanks for reminding me, Lynn :

Local Walks : Wind in the Garden

The first of a series of walks by the Murrumbidgee River in Australia, in the company of a Wombat :

Molongo River Track (Crossing) – By way of Shepherd’s Lookout

While Cathy soldiers on, taking the good with the bad :

(Camino day 22) Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino

And Drake… well, he’s always off somewhere interesting.  Giverny is a favourite of mine :

Didn’t promise a rose garden

Breathing space

The following morning we saw just a little more of Ponta Delgada.  I’ll share it with you during the week.  Have a good one!

127 comments

      1. Perfect .. it will put less pressure on me to write another one… Don’t worry I have a long list of things to write about :-). Looking forward to your post tomorrow. Loved yours last week and the links were all excellent too.

  1. What a gorgeous interior of the cathedral, Jo. And – of course – I’m much attracted by the marina. This old sailor’s heart beats faster at that sight. 😉

  2. We’ve never been to Ponta Delgada during the Festival of Senhor Santo Cristo, so enjoyed seeing your photos, specially the night photos of the Church. Just stunning!! Thanks Joanne

  3. I’ve missed your posts, Jo! I love the way you capture the contrasts of weather and day and night. Gorgeous pictures as always. There’s so much optimism in this post. You made the most of your day despite your initial hesitation. I’ve tried to that on most trips and it’s surprising what you can do with an open mind. Thank you for taking me along. ❤ ❤

    1. Thanks so much, Cheryl. I was so anxious for the Azores to live up to expectations. Ponta Delgada gave me a few doubts to begin with, but it just got better, and better. 🙂 🙂

    1. We were dazzled, Tina! And it’s a complete contrast from the previous week’s walk, which was all about nature. Spoilt for choice, aren’t we? 🙂 🙂

  4. It works in the reader! Still, everything looks much better on the original site, I must find out why this is. Thanks for sharing this lovely photostory. ❤

    1. Hiya darlin! I’m such a dinosaur. I go on using the old Dashboard as I hear such stories about the changes. Whatever works for you I’m delighted to have you here 😍⛅🌺⛵🌊💕

  5. What a perfect timing, Jo! 🙂 My spirits lift at the sight of the Azorean pastries. Gosh, they look so yummy. 🙂 There must have been some new alterations within WP during our renovation break; it was impossible to send a comment or like this post on your site (safari on a Mac) Now I’m still using safari and went to the reader and it looks like it works … ?

    1. Hi Dina,
      There always are background changes in WP which we don’t know of and only realize when something doesn’t work any more. That’s what I hate with WP. Jo here fore quite a long time could not comment on my bl;ogs, and both of us couldn’t find out why, and then, all of a sudden, it worked again.
      Last week I could not comment here, but today I can.
      Conclusion: the wonders of WP are the enigma of blogging.
      Have a great day,
      Pit

  6. Thank you for a real treat – and for adding Azores to my mental map. I had no idea where it was. Fortunately my daughter has a VERY LARGE wall map. Those flowers are stunning – so many orchids in the Church of Sáo Francisco. I also love the white and gold / white and black. The white tones down the glitz. Boats and churches aren’t a bad pairing. Add in salt lakes and you have me!!!

    1. Hiya darlin! How goes it in Warsawa? Hot, I suspect. It’s 29/30C here today but with a lovely breeze. Just back from the beach, I’m swinging and thinking of a reply in Portuguese to Ana, our teacher. She’s offering a 2 weeks intensive course when term finishes tomorrow. Fortunately I have a ready excuse as we will be celebrating Mick’s birthday in Aveiro.

      1. Warsaw is warm in a number of ways. A bye today, once Jaś went off to school. Lots of sleep and no alarm clock. Tomorrow I’ll walk the boulevards, very early, and have Maja overnight. Thursday night my usual treat – Chopin in the castle kitchen. One of Ro’s friends from Broken Hill arrives on Thursday – she too has twins. It’ll be interesting seeing a pair of 18 year olds in the 40 year olds!

    2. I just discovered unread jewels in my Reader. Haven’t had much time to go there lately. Will savour and comment later. Phone’s a bit rubbish for that 😍⛅🌺🌊⛵💕

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