The weather was much brighter when we woke up this morning than it had been for most of yesterday. It was so good we were actually able to make use of our terrace, sitting outside to eat breakfast with this amazing view of Faial.
And Faial was where we were going to be heading very shortly! We packed up our things and drove a couple of miles up the road to the port at Madelena, where we handed back the rental car and checked in our luggage at the ferry terminal.
We had plenty of time to spare before the ferry departed at 10.00, so we sat outside with a view of the harbour...
...and enjoyed a second breakfast!
There was a ferry to Velas departing at 09.45 and after that it was time for our boat to set off.
We got a seat towards the back of the ferry, which meant that we could spend the journey looking back towards Pico.
And because the weather was better today, we could make out the shape of the volcano much better than we'd been able to when we were actually on the island itself.
This was a short ferry journey of around 30 minutes, so it wasn't long before we could see Faial getting close behind us.
We pulled into the port of Horta, which is the biggest town on the island.
Once we got off the boat we retrieved our luggage and picked up our new rental car. The lady who sorted out the car for us was very helpful and recommended that we drive up to a viewpoint just above Horta.
This viewpoint is called Miradouro de Nossa Senhora da Conceição.
We had a great view back down to Horta and the port where we'd just arrived.
And finally we had a really good view of Pico
I read somewhere that the best thing about Faial are the views of Pico and that may well be true
The island of Faial itself looks very green and attractive though.
We carried on a bit further up the road to a higher viewpoint.
There were some pretty cool views from here too
Faial seemed very sunny at the moment, but we knew that wasn't set to last; there was heavy rain forecast for this evening and for tomorrow too.
We decided to try and make the most of the sunshine and continue upwards towards Faial's highest point, the Vulcão da Caldeira. As we progressed further up the road, the views started to become cloudier though.
The highest point of the volcano is at 1,043m and there is often a lot of cloud up here.
We parked the car and followed a little bit of the trail which leads around the rim of the caldera.
We could look down into the big hollow at the centre of the volcano, which is 400m deep.
It was the initial eruption of this volcano, many thousands of years ago, which formed the island of Faial.
Today, the inside of the crater is a protected nature reserve.
The cloud was getting worse at this point, so it didn't seem worth us walking around any further. We decided to head back down to the sunshine!
Before too long we were back down at the port of Horta
We had a stroll along the sea front, into the centre of town.
The marina at Horta is quite famous, being a place where yachts typically make a stop when crossing the Atlantic.
It's traditional for the crew of each yacht to paint a picture in the marina before they depart.
The harbour walls are therefore covered in all kinds of different pictures which record where different boats came from and when they visited.
It's quite an unusual custom, but it certainly makes the harbour area look very colourful!
By this stage we were hungry, so we walked through the town centre looking for places to eat.
We eventually found a place serving hot food. We've almost exclusively eaten beef so far on this holiday (there are a lot of cows on the Azores and beef is generally the only alternative to fish!), so we were excited by the prospect of getting some variety. Tim chose pork, while I opted for a chicken skewer which ended up being slightly more dramatic than I'd anticipated
For pudding I had a chocolate cake...
...while Tim had this enormous coconut concoction.
The apartment which we're staying in for the next two nights was just around the corner from here. We checked in and found that it's at the more basic end of the accommodation we've stayed in on this holiday so far.
The decor looks a little bit old fashioned.
However, it does have air con and WiFi - plus there's a small balcony from where we'll be able to see Pico if the weather permits - so it could be worse!
Shortly after we checked in there was a burst of torrential rain and the rest of the afternoon has been rather wet. The forecast isn't great for tomorrow, so I'm not sure how much of Faial we'll be able to see. But we've certainly had a good start seeing it in the sunshine today