4-day Terceira itinerary. Day 2. Monte Brasil, casa de pasto and a vocal class

Day 2

Monte Brasil hike in Angra do Heroismo

Our host kindly offered to drive us to Angra do Heroismo on her way to work. We left the house at eight, armed with sandwiches, fruits, and water, for a long hike on Monte Brasil. This extinct volcano dominates the landscape of the city, and offers spectacular views of the bay and the ocean. She dropped us off at a viewpoint called Miradouro do Pico das Cruzinhas. The sun was just rising, and everything around us was sparkling with golden light. We could see the whole city below us, with its colorful houses and churches. From there, we followed the trail to all the peaks of Monte Brasil, discovering its natural and historical treasures. We walked around an emerald-green caldera of an ancient dormant volcano. Along the forest path we noticed a family of timid deer who ran away as soon as they saw us. We climbed up to a whale lookout, where a sign informed us of all the marine life that can be spotted around the island. We scanned the horizon, hoping to catch a glimpse of a blue whale or a striped dolphin, but we didn’t see any. We didn’t mind, though. We paused for a while and spent a peaceful moment admiring the vastness of the ocean. We continued our hike to another viewpoint, where we found an old observation post from World War II. It was a reminder of the island’s strategic importance in the past. We decided to have our breakfast there, relishing the picturesque view of the western part of the island. We then completed the loop around the mountain, and descended to a small chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony. We rang a bell softly to celebrate the beauty and serenity of this magical hike.

Monte Brasil hike in Angra do Heroismo
Monte Brasil hike in Angra do Heroismo

We met our host again at a casa de pasto, a local eatery where you can get a hearty meal for a cheap price. She recommended ‘A Canadinha’, a family-run place with a cozy atmosphere. We ordered a meat dish of the day each, thinking it would be lighter than yesterday’s full menu. We were wrong. The food was scrumptious, but the portions were enormous. We barely finished half of our plates, and packed the rest for later. We felt like we had eaten a whole cow, and needed to walk it off. We looked at the map, and saw that we were close to the upper part of the Duke of Terceira Garden, a famous park in the city. We decided to go there, hoping to find some shade and a bench. We were not disappointed. The garden was a green oasis, full of flowers, trees, and fountains. From the top of the classical staircase we enjoyed a 360-degree view of the city above its red-tiled roofs.

Lunch in Angra do Heroismo

We felt refreshed after a much needed rest, and decided to explore the center of Angra do Heroismo. We strolled along the cobblestoned streets, marveling at the old buildings. We felt like we had stepped into a different country, not Portugal, by how well-preserved everything was. As we were wandering around, we received a message from our host inviting us to have ice-cream in the harbor. We happily agreed, and made our way to the bay. Did we mention how heavenly the dairy products are in the Azores? That ice-cream only confirmed it. It was as creamy and flavorful as the one we used to have in Sicily.

While we were still savoring our treat, our host surprised us with another invitation: to join her for a vocal class at her music school. She said that she had arranged it with her teacher, and we would be welcome as guests. We were curious and excited, and followed her to the school. We spent a delightful hour and a half listening to three ladies practice different rhythms and sing scales. It was the kind of experience that we love in our travels — the kind that adds another dimension to our journey. This was a completely authentic encounter that was impossible to plan ahead, a rare glimpse into the local life.

View from above of colorful buildings of historic Angra do Heroismo