After having told you of the enchanted places of Saõ Miguel you could not miss our fairy tale lived in Santa Maria, island where Christopher Columbus stopped on his return from America. This is the closest island to São Miguel, which can be reached in just 30 minutes by plane.
When we arrived in the little Santa Maria island Francisca and Christian of the B&B welcomed us.Their sympathy and joy immediately embraces us. After having accompanied us in our accommodation, really cosy, to leave our suitcases, they transported us directly into the history of the island.
Catholic families are used to thank God for the good events that happened to them. So they sacrifice their livestock to make a big meal for everyone indiscriminately. After a short celebration, they offer a soup of meat and bread accompanied by local and non-alcoholic wine at lunchtime and at dinner time. Everything is consumed on long tables to accommodate the largest number of people. All this is a great event, where old and new friends meet and know each other. Outside the houses, long queues are visible, and in groups you will enter and share the lunch offered, one really close to each other, really fast, but it’s really pleasant and convivial.
During the 5 days spent on the island we have participated twice: on the first evening, where Francisca and Christian presented us their friends, and one the following day, when we rent our bikes and we went towards one of the numerous barreiros. The barreiros are red paths immersed in the green woods and near the cliffs overlooking the sea. If the bike may seem too difficult for you to tackle all the steep climbs on the island, do not worry, many people usually hitchike with their pick-ups to tourists and their bikes.
The beaches are quiet and the landscape really varied. Thanks to our hosts we managed to discover the rough diamond Santa Maria. They showed us his potential and communicated their love for this island. Their vegetable garden, rich in innovative ideas for a good cultivation of avocados, plane trees and many other plants, have fascinated us.
The B&B of Francisca and Christian is located near Almagreira, a tactical position to reach the most beautiful sandy beach of the island: Praia Formosa. Along the way you can stop to observe the coastal panorama from above. Nearby there is the beach campsite.
Baja dos Anjos is another of the main beaches we visited: formed by concrete platforms and natural pools that allow swimming despite the rough sea of the northwest coast. For those who prefer uncontaminated landscapes it is sufficient to continue along the coast beyond the platforms where, after passing a gate, you can take a path between meadows and black cliffs, ideal for photography enthusiasts.
Santa Maria is a very rich island for its geological heritage: there are marine fossils in Pedreira do Campo and the thousand-year basaltic lava flow wall of Ribeira de Maloàs. Christian has also started us fishing, taking us to the adventure, we got to fish along the cliffs using small crabs as baits and learning the historical fishing technique with bamboo. We are finally returned with few fish but really enriched.
Our thanks were homemade ravioli stuffed with freshly caught fish and shared outdoors with a good bottle of wine. At the end of the dinner Christian and Francisca decided to plant the tuft of the small pineapple that we brought, giving us an excuse to return soon to find them and see our little plant. What to say, an unforgettable island, even as we all know, it’s really the people you meet that make special a trip.
On the day of departure, we boarded in Lisbon, where we spent the last three days before returning home.
I hope to have you intrigued and made fall in love with this truly unique island.
If you missed the story about the unmissable island of Sao Miguel, you find it here.