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Clare
Clare

Day 9: Pico

It was a bit wet and cloudy when we woke up on Pico this morning. Our plan had been to drive across the middle of the island on what was supposed to be a very scenic road which crosses the island and passes a number of lakes. It didn't look like the best weather for it, but it wasn't raining too much by the time we'd finished breakfast so we decided to give it a go and see what happened.

It turned out not to be the best of ideas! We soon drove into the clouds and we stayed in the clouds for an hour or so as we made our way from one end of the island to the other. We turned off down a side road towards the first of the lakes, but it was raining so heavily and the clouds were so low that we couldn't even see the lake from the lakeside car park!

Once we got to the far end of the island and began to descend towards the coast, things began to brighten up though and the lower we got, the better the weather seemed to become. We were driving towards a small village called Manhenha, which is located at the eastern tip of Pico.

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It was on the verge of being sunny here :) 

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We were walking towards a lighthouse on the edge of the island, Farol da Ponta da Iha.

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The landscape here was very obviously volcanic; so much black rock!

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We saw signs for a trail leading off through the lava field.

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It was quite difficult climbing over all the rocks though, so I didn't get very far.

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Tim made it a little bit further before turning round and coming back.

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The lighthouse itself was very pretty and well maintained.

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The best of the weather definitely seemed to be by the sea, so we decided to follow the main road around to the town of Lajes do Pico on the island's southern coast.

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We parked in the centre of town, next to the church.

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We strolled through the town, down to the sea.

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The clouds were beginning to lighten a bit and we could just start to make out the shape of Mt Pico's volcanic cone in the background.

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The view was a bit better as we got further around the harbour.

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It must be spectacular here on a clear day.

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Lajes do Pico felt like a tiny little place, but I think it's actually the third biggest settlement on Pico.

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Historically a lot of people here were employed in the whaling industry. Since that was outlawed in the 1980s, whale-watching has become big business instead and we passed a lot of signs advertising tours.

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Something I haven't figured out is why there are so many of these little red windmills on Pico. We saw one at Sao Roque yesterday, we've driven past several of them and there was another one here on the edge of Lajes do Pico.

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We enjoyed the views of the coast for a while, but we were starting to feel hungry.

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We couldn't find anywhere to eat in Lajes, so we jumped back in the car and drove back around the island to Madelena, Pico's biggest town. Unfortunately the weather had taken another turn for the worse by this point, so when we got to Madelena it had started to rain. From the harbour, we could barely see across to the neighbouring island of Faial.

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We found the church in the centre of town but we failed to find any restaurants which were open.

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Eventually we resorted to eating in a branch of Burger King which we'd spotted next door to the supermarket we went to last night :D 

By the time we'd finished eating the weather had started to look a bit more promising again so we decided to try and re-do a part of our scenic drive, as far as a lake called Lagoa do Capitão which is located in the middle of the island. The drive started off promisingly, but as we got closer to the lake we found ourselves surrounded by clouds once more. Never mind, we decided to carry on to the lake anyway and see what we could see. When we eventually arrived at the car park, we were greeted by a family of ducklings!

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They were very cute :) 

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The lake was still pretty much submerged in cloud.

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This was a huge improvement compared to how little we'd been able to see on our first visit here this morning though!

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We found an info board showing us that on a clear day there would be a view of Mt Pico behind the lake.

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Today was definitely not that day :D 

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Before heading back to the apartment, we decided to try one final lake. Somewhere over the edge of this hill is supposed to be Lagoa do Caiado, the biggest lake on Pico.

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This was about as much as we managed to see of it.

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Never mind, as we turned to drive home we did get a glimpse of a bonus lake :) This is Lagoa Seca, a small volcanic crater lake just around the corner from Lagoa do Caiado.

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We haven't had the best possible weather for seeing Pico today, but I think we've made the best of it. Tomorrow we'll be moving on to Faial, the island we can see from our terrace :)

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