Angra Do Heroismo - Teircera
We’re now in the lovely new marina in Angra Do Heroisimo on Teircera Island.
The marina is right on the doorstep of the city – it’s a small city by mainland standards but it is very beautiful with many old buildings (although they had to be repaired about 30 years ago after an earthquake). It is actually more picturesque than Horta I think.
The people of Teircera heard it was my Birthday and decided they would lay on a 10 day festival in celebration – I think this is pretty civil of them. . . . they didn’t call the festival after me.. they called it Sanjoaninas – but I don’t think that matters.
We have arrived mid-Festival, they have music on every night at different stages set around the centre, various parades, sports competitions etc in the day and the highlight (probably) – Mister and Miss Azores 2012.We’ve watched some of the parades through the streets. There is a live band on every night at a stage at the end of the harbor. There are drinks and food stands and the old streets have all been decorated and are lit up with festival lights every night. I got over excited by it all on the first night and made the mistake of trying some Brazilian spirit .. and suffered all of the next morning – so that hasn’t happened again!
Yesterday we went on an excellent walk around an old volcano crater which was also fortified in the past as part of the city defences – it is called Monte Do Brasil. We expected a short walk to the top as the whole hill which is on the south side of the harbor looks small from where we are, but the trail went up and all around the central crater. It goes through a forest park with lots of flowers etc and there are various things to see like the old defences and old lookout posts for spotting whales in the days when they would go out and hunt them. It is a really nice walk out there. You can’t go into the main section of castle though as that is still a military building.
Yesterday afternoon was the ‘bullfight on a rope’. We’re not hugely keen on exploiting animals for fun we did go to watch with some mixed feelings and reservations, but the good news is that in the Azores these are ‘fights’ in the loosest sense of the term and don’t injure the bull. We knew they happened since Al, who we met on our travels last year, bears the scars of too much beer . . . and of being a feisty lad from Burnley – he spent 5 weeks of daily hospital visits after his attempt to give the bull a slap on its backside resulted in it jumping up and down on him for about half a minute.
There were no ‘Al’s’ at this one so things were quite tame. Essentially they have a Bull, it is controlled to a degree by a halter and a group of chaps on the end of a very long rope. The bull is then let to roam around the beach or dockside and the locals attempt to goad it by waving beach towels, jumpers and the likes. They had 4 bulls on today – each only out for about 15 minutes or so before being loaded back into it’s horse box thing. The bulls are very impressive animals with huge neck muscles and they look tough, they charge anything waved at them and they are surprisingly nimble on their feet. No one got gored in the end – but the event was by the waterside and a group of locals had made a raft which they waved flags from – the bulls seemed to dislike the raft intently and the 3 rd Bull out of 4 (2nd biggest) destroyed the raft completely sending the locals flying in all directions into the water. I don’t think any of the locals was actually brave enough to try and even touch the bull but they seemed to enjoy the sport of simply running away from it as soon as it made one step in their direction. the bulls didn’t seem to concerned by people, but I think I preferred the celectrations we saw on the mainland last year in Sanxenxo with Human vs human boat fights.
Last night was the parade for children themed on traditional stories, the streets were packed and a lot of effort had gone into creating floats to represent different fairy tales – the kids seemed thrilled to get their picture taken with people dressed up as different characters , I still hide now from dressed up people!! The float for Snow white was very good and suitably scary
Today all is very quiet as I think they all had a very late night last night – we’re off to wander around the ‘historic walking tour’ of the town, at least the sun has also been shining in Teircera since we got here.
Monte Do Brasil Crater
Angra Do Heroismo bay and marina from Monte Do Brasil
Excellent snow white / wicked queen float in the Parade for Children
Dressage horses (and their ‘output’) in the parade of sports clubs
Mister and Miss Azores 2012 in the town hall square (a very popular event with the more senior Azoreans!)
Old Fortifications at Monte Do Brasil