LFTR – Portugal – Terciera Island Azores

When traveling across the pond (as travel snobs refer to the Atlantic Ocean) I always get terrible jet lag. Talking with people about jet lag is akin to home remedies for the hang over. My father swore that coming home and making fried bologna sandwiches at 2:00am, cured a hang over, but I digress. Every person has thier own method of beating jet lag and lives to dispense thier knowledge on the subject. For me, I quite by accident recently discovered the cure for jet lag. Stop in the Azores on your way to Europe. The flight is only 4 hours. Typically, flights to Europe are scheduled in the evening. This trip was scheduled to depart at 10:00pm EST. Knowing this I got on the plane ready to sleep. I had brought ear plugs and a sleep mask. I was all set. Of course, I could not have anticipated the 2 children sitting directly behind me. They were around ages 4 and 6. They are switching seats with each other. They kept hitting the back of my seat. At one point I believe they were kicking the back of my seat on purpose just to watch my head hit the window. Bottom line is I got zero sleep on that flight. I was not stressed or angry because I love kids and figured it was kind of a karma moment. My oldest son was notoriously bad on planes when he was little, one time he started crawling under the seats on a plane and got about 10 rows down before I was able to catch him. (true story). The flight to Terciera Island in the Azores was only 4 hours in the air. Then there is a 4 hour time change. We left at 10pm EST from Boston and arrived at 7:00 am. local Terciera time. After luggage retrieval, customs, and the ride to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel by 9:00am. 2 bus loads of Americans (god bless them) all (including myself) jumped on an outstanding Travel zoo deal. R/T airfare, hotel with a very hearty very good breakfast $499.00. So I’d been up all night but instead of crashing like I normally would want to do and be sick for 2 days recovering from jet lag. This time I’m oddly awake and ready to explore Terciera Island. Technically the Archipelago of the Azores have 9 islands, however the Portuguese like to say that the Azores are 8 islands and 1 amusement park. The amusement park being Terciera Island. They are known for their friendly atmosphere and the never ending parade of festivals that occur all year long. Terciera Island did not disappoint. It really is a wonderful place with history and friendly people, great food and I hear even better wine. Although I was sadly low carbing it while I was there. With that said, the food I was able to eat was all outstanding! I was not disappointed by anything I encountered while I stayed there. It would have been even better if the weather could have been better but it did give me the opportunity to find one of my 2 favorite dining experiences while I was there. I went exploring in town one day that was a very rainy cold day. I’m trudging along repeating the mantra, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear… About a kilometer or so down the road I decided I was very cold and I was looking for a reprieve from the weather. I noticed a sign with a menu in it
I must have passed that building 6 times by now and never noticed it before, I suspect because on good weather days I was marveling at the architecture always looking up but on this day the rain was preventing me from looking up and so I saw the town from eye level. The menu looked good so I went inside. The entrance was unassuming just 2 narrow doors that looked like you were walking into a person’s home. I decided to give it a try and went on in. The restaurant is beautifully rustic, sunk in to the ground with rough timbers and fieldstone everywhere. It felt like being in someone’s fancy wine cellar. It came complete with an open kitchen and an older woman cooking with care. She was working on something that was in the biggest pot I had seen using the biggest wooden spoon that more resembled a canoe paddle then a spoon. She turned and stirred whatever was in that pot lovingly and continuously for at least 30 mins. All I could think was that this woman probably had some serious upper body strength and I pity the fool that took her on in a fight. Thankfully, almost everyone in Terciera Island spoke pretty good English. After establishing if he could speak English, I immediately ask the waiter what they had for soup and if it had flour in it. He said vegetable soup, no flour. I ordered that. The soup came presented in a beautiful soup turine which after all my years of entertaining, I always thought that piece of dinnerware was a thing of ages gone by. The soup was really good and you could tell it had been cooking for days the flavors were really good but interestingly it had a few really big chucks of beef in it. So all vegans and vegetarians take note, if you visit you might want to ask about what is in the soup. After the soup the waiter asked me if I’d like to try some traditional Portguese food. I said I would. He tells me the dish name which was completely undecipherable to me. I am sure as a foreigner if you go there you will be asked if you want a traditional Portuguese meal, beef in a clay pot this is what you will get. When the dish came out it was presented in a clay pot. It was huge pieces of beef that reminded me of Pot Roast, only better. It was super good and totally hit the spot. The prices are very inexpensive as it relates to dining in the United States but was at the top end of the prices as it related to Acorean prices. What a treat.
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Margaret Webster

What happens when an upbeat, sociable, single, empty nester in midlife, outdoor enthusiast, critter gal, science geek, history buff, treasure hunter with an addiction to brown signs and the wanderlust, embarks on a 4 month road trip in her Chevy pickup truck, loaded with a tent, kayak, bicycle, 5 changes of clothes, her laptop, and cell phone, by herself, that essentially turned into a fulltime lifestyle?
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