I set the alarm for 7am this morning so that we'd be up on time for our flight to São Jorge. It didn't feel too early compared to some of the early starts we had when we were in the USA, but it was early enough for us to see sunrise
We enjoyed a large breakfast in the hotel before checking out and driving to the airport. We handed back the rental car without any problems, but the rest of Terceira airport turned out to be a bit chaotic. There were multiple inter-island flights departing within minutes of each other and so there was a long queue to check in and drop off baggage. The queue was so long that it actually went outside the airport building! But luckily they did put more staff on the desks to try and get everyone through, so we were ultimately at the gate with plenty of time before our flight.
The flight itself was a short one - around 30 minutes - which was good because it was incredibly hot on the little SATA plane. And it really was a little plane!
It was around 11am when we arrived on São Jorge and picked up our new rental car. We couldn't check into our apartment until 2pm so our plan was to drive towards Velas, the largest town on the island, which is only a few miles away from the airport. As we drove along the main road towards Velas, we passed a viewpoint called Miradouro das Velas and we had to stop to take a look at the view.
We were looking across the sea to the island of Pico.
As you can tell from the photos, the island is defined by its volcano, Mount Pico, which is the highest mountain in Portugal at 2,351m. I think it's often obscured by clouds, so we were lucky to get such a good view of it.
We could also see down to the town of Velas, where we were heading next. And further in the distance we could just make out the island of Faial.
We drove down into Velas and found somewhere to park, not far from the sea front.
More great views of Pico here
The town of Velas itself was bright and colourful, but it's pretty small. The total population of the island is less than 8,400 people, so there aren't any big metropolises.
We strolled along the sea front for a while and enjoyed the views.
There were some bathing pools here which were a bit reminiscent of Biscoitos on Terceira yesterday.
The waves weren't quite as big though!
I'd read that there was a beautiful natural arch just outside Velas and we soon tracked it down.
It was very impressive and the water was a gorgeous shade of blue.
My original plan had been to get lunch in Velas but we weren't hungry after our large hotel breakfast, so we decided to explore the western side of the island.
We found a small forest park, which was really pretty, and we appreciated the shade on what was quite a hot and humid day.
We found another little pond, full of ducks...
...and some ducklings hiding under some bushes too.
We started walking along a pleasant trail along the western peninsula of the island.
We still had views of Pico as we walked, though it was getting a bit cloudier now.
At this point I got a message saying that our apartment was ready to check into, so we decided to turn around and head back to Velas. It's a studio apartment, so not the biggest in the world; in addition to this bed we've got a small kitchenette.
The best bit is the terrace though - look at our view!
We settled in and enjoyed the air con for a while, before driving back to Velas to stock up on supplies at the local supermarket. We're definitely looking forward to exploring more of São Jorge tomorrow