Ponta Delgada. The green island. An island with 140,000 people and 140,000 cows. Really. And known for the twin lakes, one green, one blue. We saw them. They both looked the same colour but beautiful all the same, especially from way up top looking down. Lush. The island is lush. And sadly in bad economic shape. Young people have no jobs, on average people make little in the way of income, as low as 400 Euros per month. About $500.
On the positive side it is cheap to live there. We bought 1 litre bottles of water for under 40 cents. We had a snack at one of our stops, bought an espresso a piece of cake and a yummy Portuguese tart. And the cost was just over 2 euros. Crazy.
Back to the cows. Milk production is a major industry, but oddly they do not drink fresh milk. They drink boxed milk. And they reduce the milk production into powder and ship it to the continent. Cows at everywhere. And they are beautiful. Well, as beautiful as a cow can be. Lush conditions mean big healthy cows. Our guide's husband works on the island in cow genetics and is responsible for making the industry grow. They are Canadian and American cows that her husband brought in. Our guide is Canadian, from Ontario.
We had a lovely authentic Azorian lunch at John and Geretti. Again, Canadians. In fact I know what they own back in Canada, a fish market at Palmerston and Dundas in Toronto. I used to live on Palmerston so I am very aware of their store. Now their daughter runs it. They visited Ponta Delgado and decided to stay.
I can see why. Weather is a factor. And then there is that ocean thing. And the food. And the incredible landscape. When you stand on their back deck you see the white caps of the Atlantic come crashing to shore. And I love crashing shores. I suspect on a clear day you can yank your lunch out of the ocean with your bare hands.
They have whales (but we didn't see any), yes they have Dolphins (err...didn't see them either), and other fish (I ate one for lunch). And hey, did I mention the ocean part? Sandy beaches, waves, warm ocean water (I went in up to my knees)- all the trappings of an island are all there with a green back drop. Greener than the colour green. More like green green. All other earth bound greens pale in comparison to theirs. Sorry Ireland.
Mellissa and I walked through the gates of the city of Ponta Delgada, and we were told if we did we would return to Ponta Delgada again. Crap we already have to return to Rome because of that pesky Trevi Fountain. Now this! We had better be careful in the next ports...
And finally...there are the rainbows. As we cruised to shore we saw a giant rainbow that went from one part of the ocean right to the other. And a double rainbow. Then when we left it was out again in all its splendour. Beautiful. Perhaps the real treasure the rainbow points to is the Island itself. I would not be surprised.