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The Azores – the last hidden treasure of the Atlantic

Situated halway between Lisbon and Boston the archipelago of the


Azores stands as an almost intact garden paradise with exuberant
greenery and breathtaking landscapes with a promise that you will find
there the peace and tranquility you long for when you are dreaming
about a perfect holiday at your desk.
The 9 islands belong to Portugal thanks to the relentless discovery efforts of King Henry the
Navigator,the great initiator of early voyages to the uncharted waters of the Atlantic and the brave
Portuguese seamen who reached their uninhabited costs in 1427. After the settlement of Lusitanian
and some Flemish pioneers in the XV.-XVI. centuries ,the Azores became a trading center and an
important port safehaven at the maritime crossroads of Europe ,the Americas and India.
During later centuries it lost its importance as naval hub due to the increased range capacity of
clippers and liners, and almost submerged to oblivion, leaving its diligent dairy farmers and
fishermen labouring for a hard living in deep isolation only holding a thin umbilical cord to mother
Portugal.
Nowadays, apart from dairy farming the Azores find their identity as an
outstanding sanctuary of pure nature,with astonishing volcanic ranges
with steep green grass-covered slopes, hot springs and misty thermal
water lakes, hortensia gardens and a rich marine wildlife, which make the
Islands a must-see for ecoturism,quiet,romantic escapes and anyone with
a need to escape the buzz of the World to enjoy freedom in an open place.
You will probably start your adventure in Ponta Delgada, the most
populated (50.000 habitants) capital of the Azores on the island of Sao
Miguel, the Green Island. You will have the impression that Sao Miguel is a mix of Switzerland and
a tropical island. There are not many places in the world where you can swim with dolphins and
watch whales while you hear some cows mooing on the slopes in the background! You can not even
exploit all outdoor activities offered by the island in one visit: fishing, snorkeling, walking and
trekking,sailing,bird watching and many more. When you return from your adventurous land or sea
day-trip, you will enjoy the embrace of the historic atmosphere of turn-of-
the-century architecture and cobblestone streets back in town, and as a
reward at the end of a perfect day taste a cup of vinho de cheiro – a light
and characteristic local vine, along with speciality dish caldeiradas de
peixe ( fish stews) and a delicious queijada (cheese-cake) for dessert.No
wonder local gastronomy is based on fish and fruits of the sea plus
manyfold uses of famous local goat and cow milk, resulting for example
in a piquant specialty cheese, the queijo da ilha.

Your exploration of the Azores is not over yet ! Find cool tips and intresting details about the other
islands here :
Sao Jorge- The green backbone
Graciosa – The gracious island
Faial - The meeting point of ocean-wanderers
Pico - The volcano and the whales
Flores - A garden of flowers
Corvo – The ultimate escape to solitude

Written by Csaba Hajdu as a sample for project bid.

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