Last Saturday morning, we started the day by heading to the organic market. Since I have taken so many pictures there before, and I have blogged about it here, here and here, I did not take any new pictures when I went with my sister and Chris. We did however get these yummy fresh baked apple muffins there. Boy were they delicious.
After running some errands, Ryan and I went down to the beach to pick up my sister and Chris who I had dropped off earlier for a little shopping and looking around. While we were waiting, we grabbed some quick lunch.
After we got us some tasty “fuel” we headed out to see what nature has to offer on this island, which is composed of not one, but rather 4 volcanoes. To get a taste of the intense nature that occurs with volcanic activity, you need to head to the center of the island. The scenery here is totally different from what you see on the coast line here.
As we headed in the direction of the caves, we found some farmers herding these goats into a field. I have never in my life seen so many goats at one time.
The first stop was Lagoa Negra and Gruta Do Natal (AKA the Christmas Cave).
This is Lagoa Negra and it sits just in front of the entrance to the cave. In the interior of the island, the outdoor temperature drops, so I always make sure to bring something warmer with me.
Here is the cave entrance.
For this cave, because of some low ceilings, you must wear a hard hat, which they provide.
This cave is known as the Christmas Cave because it was first opened to the public on a Christmas eve and they held a mass inside, at the altar, which is pictured below.
Sorry they are blurry. These were taken before I changed my camera setting. This picture just below is of ropey lava formations. The caves are basically lava tubes and other volcano related openings.
The next stop was to Furnas do Exofre, which are basically fumaroles, or sulfur pits. The fact that it still vents sulfur and steam from below makes me wonder if the volcano is still active, although all reports I have heard say these volcanoes are dormant. Either way, these fumaroles are an awesome display of nature.
These are some shots taken leaving the pits and heading to the next cave.
This is the area where the next cave is just below.
It is more than just a cave, it is a hollowed out volcanic lava tube and only one of two in the world that ever formed in this way. The other one is in Indonesia and not open to the public, so this becomes the ONLY volcano you can actually climb inside. The local people worked to build an entrance that would allow for people in the future to enter through a tunnel and then use stairs built inside. The picture just below was taken down on the first platform and is looking out the “blow hole” of this volcano.
Inside you can see the work of the lava.
Rachel and Chris are heading down to the lake. Now it was only 7 meters of water, but after the rainy winter, this lake grew to 20 meters deep.
If you look closely, there is my sister at the top point inside, after you walk down and into the volcano, there is another area that you can actually walk up on the other side of the entrance.
Look who we found as we were leaving Algar do Carvao (the last cave that is a volcano):
This time they were without a farmer/herder and I think they were escapees. they were just walking down the road, entirely in our way, so we got out and took pictures.
After a fun day of exploring the islands interior nature, we headed to a bull fight. After searching for a place to watch from, we found a nice family with space in their yard and we made ourselves comfortable there. As this is a small island, we soon discovered this house belonged to a relative of a relative to this girl who was on my sister’s flight to the island, and would be on their return flight. She is from the US and this was her first time visiting the island to see her family here.
At the bull fight we tried out some of the foods that the walk around vendors sell to the crowds. This was like kettle corn.
These are fried fava beans (like potato chips almost but much smaller and made of favas), and then baked broad beans, I think, although the non-English speaking vendor said they were favas too.
This guy is about to jump the fence as the bull is headed his way.
These “professional” street bull taunters put on a great show right in front of us.
There you have it…another fun filled day with our visitors.
QUESTIONS: Have you ever visited an area with volcanoes? What is your favorite display of nature?