We had an early start to the morning today, with the alarm set for 05.30. I'd arranged for us to hand our rental car back at 06.45, ahead of our 08.25 flight to Terceira. We're a little bit nervous about car rental now after a negative experience in Mallorca earlier this year, but today everything went fine; the car was checked and pronounced to be fine and we got a slip to prove that the deposit had been released from Tim's credit card.
The advice was to be at the airport 90 minutes before an inter-island flight, but in reality it felt like that might be overkill. We didn't wait more than 5 minutes to drop off our baggage and getting through security was similarly quick, so we had a while waiting around until it was time to board. That did give us time to have a second breakfast in the airport though
It's only a short flight from Ponta Delgada to Terceira, so within 35 minutes of taking off we were landing on a new island. How exciting! Our first hour or so was admittedly taken up by not very exciting tasks, like waiting for our bags to come off the carousel and taking photos of our new rental car. But by 10am we were on our way, ready to explore Terceira.
Our first stop was a viewpoint called Miradouro da Serra do Cume, which we reached by driving steeply uphill on a single track road.
I should say at this point that we're not expecting Terceira to win any prizes as most spectacular island of the holiday.
It's the third largest island in the Azores in terms of size and the second in terms of population.
We've seen it described as the party island of the Azores, although I think anyone coming here and expecting an Ibiza-style clubbing scene would be sadly disappointed.
Mainly it's an agricultural island with vast quantities of green fields.
There are also a lot of cows on Terceira, with the mild weather on the island meaning that they can graze outdoors all year long. We even got stuck behind a small herd on our way up to this viewpoint!
Once we'd finished admiring the views we drove back downhill, towards the island's main town: Angra do Heroísmo.
After parking by the waterfront, we started climbing uphill towards the town centre. On the way we caught sight of this unusual-looking building.
It turns out that this is Angra's bullring.
Outside there's this rather unusual statue, showing a man being gored by a bull.
Bullfighting is popular on Terceira, but it works differently to the traditional Spanish variety. Here, it sounds more like the bulls are let loose in public squares and then the local men try to run away from them.
It sounds rather dangerous! And that wasn't the only bull-related statue that we found; as we drove into the town we went around this traffic island, complete with a sculpture of three enormous bulls.
Leaving the bulls behind, we turned off towards the town centre.
We walked down some pretty little streets...
...and there were some really colourful buildings.
We soon found ourselves walking through beautiful gardens.
The plants were quite exotic and the weather was so humid today that it felt like we were walking through a hothouse.
The colourful building which you can see above the gardens is the Convent of São Francisco, originally founded in the 15th century.
The gardens are built on quite a slope - which luckily we were walking down, rather than up.
As we did so, we got a glimpse of an interesting church in the distance and decided to walk towards it.
We were soon down in the lower part of the town.
Everything was really pretty here too.
This blue church, Igreja da Misericórdia, was particularly stunning.
It was set in a wonderful location, right by the sea.
We walked along more pretty little side streets...
...and eventually tracked down the church we'd seen from the gardens.
We had lunch in Angra before driving back across the island in the direction of the airport. We're staying in an aparthotel, on the outskirts of a town called Praia da Vitória. Having been up at 05.30 we were quite tired by lunchtime and hoping to check in at 14.00 and have a short nap. But despite that being the permitted check-in time, our room was still being cleaned when we arrived and so we had to wait in the hotel bar until closer to 15.00.
Never mind, we've got a nice little apartment with a living area...
...and sea view
So far Terceira has been good. We're looking forward to exploring more tomorrow!