Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pico vinho

Winemaking in the Azores doesn't look like winemaking in California. First of all, on Pico the grapes are grown in corrals of lava rocks. But as we've noticed, the humidity and climate and soil in Azores are very fertile.
 Everyone, it seems, is growing grapes, or tomatoes, or hydrangeas by the side of the road.
The crest of Madalena. I took the ferry across from Horta in the morning, for a layover en route to Sao Jorge. A taxi driver offered to give me a tour of some of the island highlights for 90 euros, then got annoyed when I said I was going to walk around town and sneered at me. (Way to go, taxi dude.)

Madalena is noticeably upscale, with more gates and fences. 

And fierce dogs.

 One of the highlights of visiting the Pico Wine Museum is seeing this enormous dragon tree.
 Smaller dragon tree

 Also this crazy pink pineapple, with many heads.
The old alembiques used to make fig brandy are now in the garden looking like giant Aladdin's lamps.
 Another notable part of wine on Pico: lots of unfamiliar grapes.
They display bottles of all the wines made on Pico, but no tasting.

 Gratuitous hibiscus

 A small shrine to lost fisherman

Obligatory cheese course at lunch, overlooking the sea, served with olives, homemade bread, and herbacious local honey
West toward Horta.
 Small dogs are more efficient. Be careful!
For the most part, Azorean islands don't have splendid beaches. But many of them have sea pools on the edge of the coast.
To the left, you could walk into natural pools formed from the laval rocks. In the distance, one of the ferries that goes between Faial and Pico and Sao Jorge sprang a leak, and now it's being taken apart.
 The distinctive church of Madalena.
 And the sun setting over Faial, as my ferry leaves Pico for Sao Jorge....