I had heard about the Azores years ago after my family visited on a cruise ship, I hadn’t heard much about it since and certainly knew nothing more.
When I was contacted to participate in the 1st edition of the Azores Trail Run I was excited to see and learn more about these islands. What I learnt and saw was amazing.
After being in the Canary Islands for nearly a month I was used to the volcanic type rock, and here on Faial Island, one of the central Azores Islands, was indeed volcanic but green. Everything was green and big. Any space where a plant could grow, it would grow; the cool and wet climate mixed with the fertile land meant this place was ideal for growth.
The 10 volcanoes, coast to coast course was a mix of all of this. Crashing sea, farmed lands where cows and dairy farmers starred in amazement of these crazy bright coloured runners going by, native and mixed continental tree forests, volcanic rocks and sand, the crater and views of Pico summit and Island in the distance, the black volcanic heat and the sea wind, the supporters and excitement of sharing their land with these runners from all over the world. USA, Italy, France, NZ, Germany and obviously Portugal. As beautiful as it was it was also a tough course. Climbing and descending 2000m with some technical and some fast running. All but one runner of the 250 participants finished. Arriving to a swim in the sea, a beer and a traditional sardine salsa.
Our exploration didn’t stop there; we went whale and dolphin watching, finding a beautiful show of a Fin and Blue whale playing together and then being joined by a pod of dolphins who wanted some fun too. We saw a Humpback whale who then showed us her enormous skill as she breached right there in front of us.
We went sailing, cave exploring, climbing up Pico – the highest point in Portugal at 2531m, museum, lighthouse and aquarium visits and of course enjoyed the local wines, cheeses and typical food especially the fresh seafood.
This was just a taste, this place really requires weeks of exploring, by foot, bike, car, boat, camping what ever it is that you prefer. It can be done here in the Azores!
Thank you to the Azores Trail Run organisers for creating such a special memory of true trail running spirit!
Azores inspired jewellery @ Frosty’s Jewels