Friday, 9 August 2013

Terceira island, Azores - Praia da Vitoria - The 4th of August 2013

Having been sent to Santa Maria island in the Azores Cristina I., Cristina M. and I had a long stop-over at Terceira island (prior to having boarded another aircraft to São Miguel until the final destination), which we took full advantage of - we decided to hire the services of a taxi driver who in a very professional-like attitude acted as our guide from ten in the morning till a quarter to five in the afternoon.

We first stopped at Praia da Vitoria, whose importance is mainly associated with its architectural richness.

As we walked into the centre we noticed most streets had been decorated since the latest days of July for the religious Joanine festivities in honour of the patron Saints but would be further used for the Saint Spirit festivities, which play an important role in most Azorean islands.

Our "guide" called our attention to a notice on one of the pedestrian street corners praising one of the local poets known to have "fabricated" rhymes when unexpectedly asked to about equally unexpected themes.

The fifteenth century village Church was rather impressive not only because of the ochre yellowish colour with which its exterior was decorated but also because of the two architectural styles used. We were unfortunately not allowed in once it was closed.

The decorations around the Town-Hall were particularly impressive. We couldn't help looking at the meticulous flower arrangements placed around the central Town-Hall square but also by the bay.

In one of the back side streets of the bay area stood the "proud-looking" Church of Senhor Santo Cristo erected in the sixteenth century though it has since then been refurbished. 


Right in front of it the house of the aunts of one of the most outstanding Portuguese figures - the poet and writer Vitorino Nemésio, who played an important role in the life of every person of my generation.

We drove up to the highest peak of the village so as to have a magnificent view over the bay, before heading towards Angra do Heroismo.

Just as we were driving out of the village we came across an amazingly beautiful "Império" of the Saint Spirit, which each Azorean village is proud of having. They almost inevitably catch people's attention because of their decorations, but above all it is the spirit of sharing which lies behind their existence and the festivities in its honour that do touch people.

(To be continued)

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