Portugal Trip Day 17 (Tuesday, Oct. 2)

Restaurante da Associação Agrícola de São Miguel comes across

Steak in pepper sauce
is Restaurante’s fare’s boss.
Mmm. An absence loss.

The day started out with lots of rain but that changed to torrential rain before it went back to lots. We took the opportunity to relax, organize, eat a nice breakfast, do some work and dishes.
Manny and Michael met us in Ponta Delgada at the Convent called Santuário de Nosso Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres (Avenida Roberto Ivens). To get there we had to cross the Praca 5 Outubro with its famous bearded tree supported by pillars to keep it aloft.
The Chapel of the Lord of Miracles in the Convent was an ornate space of honour for this famous statue but I found the church through which you have to proceed to get to it more interesting and beautiful. The story of the nun who made the place famous is beautifully told in azulejo tile paintings on the walls and the ceiling and altar area are gorgeous. The nuns there are cloistered and you can only see them extramuros on very special occasions. However you can donate through a turntable offering device. I put a 5€ note in it and spun it about. Back came a rosary and prayer card.
The next places Manny wanted to show us were on the northern coast. We stopped at the Miradouro de Santa Iria for a great view of the coast which has a colony of stray cats (and we learned later this wasn’t the only scenic spot with a feline component). There aren’t many wild animals in the Azores left: most are ‘domestic’ like the ever-present climbing cows and sheep.
Our next stop was the only place that grows and makes tea in Europe: Gorreana Tea Factory (Plantações de Chá Gorreana) with its beautiful tea hedges all lined up and the very interesting factory where they treat the leaves to make tea. Manny’s ex once work there and we were introduced to his sister-in-law who still does. Michael was interested in all the old equipment in the factory and in the huge spiders outside it.
Very close to where Manny was born is the Restaurante da Associação Agrícola de São Miguel in the Campo Do Santana which had the best steak I’ve had in Portugal! The four of us had a delightful meal and Manny told us many stories about the area including the beach where he’d frequently swam as a child. We went down to check it out after parting from our guides. The beach was completely washed out and there’s no access down to the water any longer.
As we drove back we stopped at the mall in Punta Delgada to get supplies and so arrived in Sete Cidades once again in the dark, though this time we used the correct road.

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