Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Santa Maria island, Azores - Anjos and Barreiro da Faneca - the 7th of August 2013

As I was waiting for my colleagues I noticed a painting in the hotel lounge that I didn't recall having seen before and which close by had a written explanation that read - On the return trip soon after having discovered America the ships of Cristopher Columbus were hit by a huge storm near the Azorean islands. "Pinta" managed to sail back to Spain while  "Nina" heade ashore onto the port of Anjos. Columbus and his crew are said to have been welcomed by the local people.

Upon having found out there was a small chapel honouring "Our Lady" Columbus decided to comply with the promise made on board during the storm and kneeling down prayed at the first temple he came across dedicated to the Holy Virgin.

I found this to be rather interesting once the chapel referred to was precisely the one we intended to visit in the afternoon.

The morning was rather "sombre" and sad as I reflected upon what had happened to our family seven years ago and to which extent I still felt the survivor's guilt from time to time.

Similarly to Columbus I decided I would kneel down on the first chapel I came across and "pay my respects" to Faye.

We drove to Anjos in the early afternoon and before descending onto the village centre stopped at Columbus statue, in front of which stands the Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos also said to be associated with quite a few miraculous situations, one of which related of the unexpected burst and sudden growth of canes hiding the church where several fugitives had gathered so as to escape the invaders, who due to the canes never caught sight of them.

Said to probably the first church erected in the Azores, Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Anjos was initially constructed in 1440 with wooden walls and a thatched roof, having been rebuilt in stone between 1460 and 1747.

We then headed towards the sea water swimming-pools down by the coastline where we would be having lunch at a local restaurant overlooking them. A communal "laundry tank" dating back to the old days caught our attention. Being the oldest among the group I still clearly remembered those  my childhood

After lunch we drove around trying to locate Barreiro da Faneca, which is a rather exquisite surface of red land often referred to as the Santa Maria island red desert.

(To be continued)

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