It was hard to leave Antonio and Lino's upcycled Bohemian spread and Sao Miguel, but Faial beckoned. A small island in the central group, whose only real town Horta is a famous boating harbor.
Faial is a world away, even by Azorean standards. The flight takes about 45 minutes. The sun was a lot hotter, hitting 80º with the reflection on the volcanic bricks, and just as humid.
I'm staying in a spectacular guesthouse, with a corner room looking out on Monte do Guia, the forest guide. There's a small chapel at the top.
With tropical trees to remind you this isn't the European mainland.
This fountain in the park (made of lava rocks) spurts water, not lava.
Joanie might enjoy this low-tech approach to Azorean history: post photos of people who lived and worked in this house.
Limpets in garlic butter with a perfect gin and tonic, which Peter's is known for. They're cheaper inside, but at less than $4 a piece, I'll sit outside by the boats.
Which is how I met Kai, who just brought a sailboat from Newport, Rhode Island and is spending the summer restoring it for a wealthy American.
We talked about Bruce Lee and the Milky Way and the four As (agua, alimentos, alojar, amor), and also about baseball and rum, the drink of pirates. He even ate a pirate steak. And then it was time to sober up and make my way back to a conference call with Pacific Daylight Time about a potential project.
Why yes, that is a red windmill. Azores are full of surprises.
Appropriately, my guesthouse is on a street named for Azorean writer and journalist Manuel Greaves.
On a clear day, you can see Pico through that gap above Porto Pim. Maybe tomorrow.