Four airports and nine hours later, I’m in Terceira, Azores Islands, Portugal. Yaaaass! The Azore Islands are a group of nine islands in the North Atlantic. Accessible via a 4.5 hour flight from Boston, 1 hour from Lisbon. Terceira is the third largest of the islands (terceira means the third in Portuguese), also known as the party island during high season.
The island is 24 miles by 28 miles and it takes no longer than 30 minutes to drive around the entire island. Or like 16 minutes if you drive like the locals. About 56,000 people inhabit the island. Which is a f-ing miracle considering everyone here drives at least 200kph EVERY DAMN WHERE. The sidewalks are barely wide enough for one person to walk on without fear that they will be taken out by a side mirror from a passing car. The roads aren’t straight or anything, they’re sharp and curvy, so it’s a miracle there isn’t an accident around every corner. And that driving complaint is coming from a lead-footed American.
Portuguese is the language buuuut you can get by with Spanish in a pinch. Plus, you don’t stick out so badly if you use that instead of English. Many people also speak English because they’re used to the British vacationers and now, the Americans since they are doubling incoming flight loads from Boston (from two flights a week to four).
I love the brightly painted houses and shops that line the streets. One of the locals told me that they are re-painted every year when festival time is coming. They told me about when the bulls run the streets during these festivals. Four are tied to one rope to run the streets and a fifth one is the “surprise bull” that you really have to watch out for… the one that is called “too much alcohol”. Advice of the day: don’t get too trapped by the fifth bull.
Apparently Americans are usually the ones run down by bulls most often because they are clueless, which is sadly not surprising. Americans: stop being dumb, please. Thanks! It’s also commonplace to get drunk and jump a rock “fence” into a bullpen and antagonize the bull and hope you aren’t the most drunk of your friends and catch the horns. There’s an American military base on Terceira and there is a specific rule banning the soldiers from partaking in the above shenanigans. Talk about fun-sucking.
Monte Brasil, an inactive volcano, is not only an active military area… there’s also a small zoo at the top. What? Why? Who knows. But there’s deer and a parrot and peacocks – all of your typical zoo (least) favorites. Once you get to the top, there’s stunning views of Angra do Heroismo and the Atlantic.
After a day of rappelling, we stopped with our four guides and two amigos from Spain to have a beer. Super Bock is the beer of choice, made in neighboring Portugal. It’s like Bud Light so it’s awful, but when in Azores, drink shitty local beer! They also ordered some “shrimp of Azores” …green and black olives… and I detest, despise and loathe olives. They’re like salty little assholes. But I felt bad saying “nah, I fucking hate those disgusting things”… so I ate two.
Four hours, three beers and a cheeseburger later (how very American of me) – I can still taste salty little olive assholes in my mouth and it makes me want to die.