By Inge Perreault  e-mail Inge at


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 Azores-Journal 05


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Beautiful wildflowers everywhere

Well, while the world keeps spinning and becoming more and more bizarre it seems, I am happy to report that our GREEN CARDS (blue) finally arrived. We are now legitimate permanent residents of Portugal. A day to celebrate because the longer We are here, the more we like it.
The weather has continued to be mostly beautiful with a little rain thrown in now and then feeding the amazing profusion of flowers (Birds of Paradise on their second blooming cycle) Bottlewashers, Azaleas in full bloom and fragrant Freesias galore Along with Wisteria and poppies of a size and color I have never seen before.


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"Winter" planting of the fields

This is main planting season (of three) and farmers are busy every day of the week. Yes, even Domingos (Sundays) planting every square inch of the rich volcanic soil with every conceivable type of vegetable your imagination can conjure-up.
The speed at which they grow leaves me speechless yet again as well as the diligence of the farmers. This is NOT the time to stop for a friendly chat, they are very BUSY!
If not planting then they are fishing with the traditional long bamboo rods which is their passion and as you know, I shall never interfere in THAT area again unless something is caught and worthy of praise. Often they go home with dinner for that night or to put into the freezer as the catch is so very plentiful at this time.

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Did you know bananas grow upside-down?

The other day I stood on a cliff about 150 feet above the water, the ocean was relatively calm as the Azores go and I could see schools of fish, some rather large, right from where I was standing playing in the 3 to 6 foot high waves. With the brilliant afternoon sunshine reflecting  a Mediterranean-blue sky it was quite a spectacle.

On the way to my special spot I had stopped by my burro friend and fed him some carrots, apples and sugar. While not crazy about the apples, he firmly established his love for carrots and sugar as desert, licking my fingers clean and left a sloppy mess on my hand but heck, what are friends for?

My landlord provided me yet again with another big treat, a huge bunch of Azorean bananas which are delicious though small but much more flavorful that the foot-long bananas served-up in American supermarkets imported from South America.

It is staying light longer out and in the late afternoon, prior to going home, he showed me the other day that the entire vineyard which is large going all the way to the edge of the cliffs by the ocean has been staked properly and leaves are appearing rapidly on the low-growing vines. Unlike in the Rhineland orin California these vines are pruned to grow close to the ground in order to protect them from the salty winds coming off the Atlantic which tends to burn and damage the leaves of the precious old vineyard as well as other vegetables. Maybe one of the reasons my lips get chapped easily is caused by the wind and the salty air from the sea?


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Low grapevines staked to reeds (nothing goes go waste)

Spring is near (not that according to my experience now I would consider what we had a winter) and the summer-homes in this very pretty and exclusive location of Caloura are being spruced-up and opened for the approaching summer season.

Apparently more cruise-ships are stopping in PD (that is that all the natives call Ponta Deltaga) since we see more huge busses with tourists heading for Caloura Harbor and watching them having to turn around on these narrow reads is often quite interesting – they don’t know that a new water-drainage system is beinginstalled.


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One of many annual religious processions during lent
called Romeiros

Crews of municipal workers are constantly busy keeping the sides of the roads clean and free of excessive growth, something that makes a lot of sense because of the curvy nature of the roadways.
Temperatures have been ranging in the high 60s up to 75 degrees, most pleasant but at night it usually drops to good
sleeping temperatures in the high 50s or low 60s.
One of the more interesting features of the Lenten season are the annual pilgrimages called Romeiros dating back to 1522 when a heavy earthquake took half of the then capitol, Vila Franca do Campo, into the sea where ruins can still be found by divers.



This also created the interesting islet of Ilheu you can swim inside of in rather warm water, getting there by a small boat at a very low fee and inside this ring of the mountain you will find a small eatery, sanitary facilities and small beaches.
Again this is another of those dichotomies and proof of the fact that the Azores is straddling the past and the presentwell, old customs are being preserved and even have increased as reported over the past 10 years. Now likewise Romeiros for women have been instituted though they do not walk around the entire island.

 Each town or village sends out a group of young men lead by an elder in the front of the procession as well as one at the rear who walk in all kinds of weather with a staff and a colorful shawl wrapped over their shoulders. They walk around the entire island stopping at every church (and there are many) to say a Rosary. They pray for the sick, for healing of friends or family members along the way and at night are taken in by families who provide them with a good meal, a bed and dry or wash their clothes. It seems to be sort of a right of passage as well and much like watching a horse-drawn milk-wagon alongside a BMW. On the streets these groups of pilgrims are well watched over and cared for.

It provides a feeling of accomplishment for the participants considering the unyielding terrain to be covered in some areas as well as the feeling of support and freely sharing by the people who provide shelter for them at night. Hopefully an earthquake of the size that destroying Vila Franco do Campo killing many people will never happen again as long as the Romeiros continue. Though still one of the largest towns, the capitol was moved after the earthquake to Ponta Delgada where it has remained ever since.

Oh why can’t the entire world be this peaceful and get along, giving and receiving freely I ask?

 Until the next time when I shall report from the Furnas Azalea Festival where intricate “carpets’ are woven using flower petals in front of every home before a religious procession begins and where we will participate in the creation of theflower arrangements from the picking of blossoms to the finished product in Journal number VI.

Tumbleweed Journal – Copyright 2006 Inge Perreault

The Tumbleweed Journals reflect the views, opinions and experiences of the author.