When I woke up this morning I felt excited, because it looked like we finally had a genuinely sunny day This was great news because there was one view in particular that we hadn't managed to see, even on any of the other reasonably sunny days, because the relevant part of the island is frequently shrouded in mist: Lagoa do Fogo.
We set off immediately as soon as we'd finished breakfast, and began the somewhat torturous drive to the lake, up a winding mountain road. While there were clouds in the sky, they all seemed to be reasonably high, so as we made our way up the mountain, we thought we were in with a good chance of getting the view.
Sure enough, we soon came to the first of many viewpoints which overlook the lake, and got our first glimpse
As you can probably tell, I was quite happy to finally be here
There was also a good view in the opposite direction from the lake. It hasn't come out very clearly in these photos because the sea is merging into the sky again, but we could see all the way down to the harbour in Ponta Delgada.
The edge of the viewpoint was a little bit alarming, with a sheer drop down!
I managed to stand by the edge briefly for a photo.
Then we moved on to the next viewpoint, which was only a few hundred metres down the road. The view from this one was even better!
Lagoa do Fogo means Lake of Fire in English and this is yet another lake situated in a volcanic crater.
The following viewpoint gave us the view which I've seen on postcards of the island.
We could see the sea from here as well.
At the final viewpoint we were a bit lower down and closer to the lake, which meant we could appreciate more clearly the amazing shade of blue of the water.
It was truly stunning.
It's hard to choose a favourite lake on this holiday, but this one is definitely in the running.
Apart from Lagoa do Fogo, the other part of the island which we really wanted to visit today was Nordeste. This is the northeastern part of the island, and it's supposed to be the wildest and most remote. We started in the small town of Nordeste itself, which is the main population centre.
We found somewhere to park the car and had a stroll through a park with a big cactus tree...
...and plenty of palm trees...
...before emerging in the main town square, complete with church.
There were lots of beautiful flowers around the town
...and some lovely views out to sea as well.
We'd read that there were some really great viewpoints outside Nordeste. The first one is by the lighthouse, Farol do Arnel. We arrived there and found a picnic spot...
...with some views out over the surrounding green countryside.
What we couldn't see was any sign of a lighthouse!
We soon realised that we had to follow a steep road downwards towards the sea in order to find the lighthouse itself. This sign recommended that we go on foot, because the road has a 35% gradient.
Hard to capture in the photos, but it really was a very steep path indeed.
As we got further down, we were rewarded with some amazing views of the cliffs though; first on the left...
...and then on the right.
Tim got to the end of the path ahead of me and eventually located the elusive lighthouse. It opened in 1876, making it the oldest lighthouse in the Azores.
No sooner had he got to the bottom, then Tim realised that he had left the car unlocked with the SatNav on display, so he decided he'd better sprint(!) back up the hill to make sure it was okay. That left me to attempt to get a photo of myself with the cliffs...
...and with the lighthouse itself.
Luckily, when Tim got back up to the car park, all was well with the car.
We were soon on our way to the next viewpoint: Miradouro da Ponta do Sossego.
We didn't know what to expect from this viewpoint in advance, but it turns out that it's a beautiful garden overlooking the sea.
The views were absolutely stunning....
...and the flowers made them even better.
I was definitely wishing I'd paid more attention to the chapter in the guidebook about flowers.
There were some very unusual trees too; look at this one with the red spikes!
I could have stayed at this viewpoint all day, but there was one more viewpoint to go.
The next viewpoint was Miradouro da Ponta da Madrugada.
This one was also very pretty...
...though it didn't have quite as many flowers.
We were pretty hungry at this point, so we decided to drive towards Furnas, on the basis that it was reasonably close and we knew we would be able to park and get something to eat there. When approaching the village, we accidentally took a wrong turn and discovered another location with volcanic activity!
There was an awful lot of steam here!
We also found a spot with water that was gurgling even more violently that the stuff we had seen the other day.
Once we'd admired the volcanic activity for a while, we set off in search of somewhere to park alongside Furnas lake.
Finally we were able to see it in the sunshine and confirm that it is indeed a very beautiful place when it's not raining
We hadn't really been able to appreciate on Monday what a beautiful shade of blue the lake really is.
Finally being able to see it in the sunshine was a perfect end to what has been an absolutely amazing trip to the Azores
We've had a fantastic time here and had so many incredible views that I think anywhere else we go is going to struggle to measure up! Hopefully we'll be back here again one day, and maybe even be able to visit some of the other islands