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May 13, 2012

The Azores

Portugal is not the first European country that I visited but it was definitely the first country I stepped in after a 2-week crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. And I didn't even reach mainland Portugal. I only found myself in the Azores, a chain of Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I was very excited to visit this place. I decided to venture out on my own and walk around the place.

There are actually 9 islands comprising the Azores. It is actually an autonomous region, one of only 2 autonomous regions in Portugal. All of these islands are volcanic. Our ship docked at Ponta Delgada, the city located in Sao Miguel island. Based on population, it is the largest island.

As soon as I stepped off the international port, which by the way is very beautiful, I immediately found my way to the Baixa or the downtown area where the municipal hall is also located. In the middle of the square is this stern-looking statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

I then decided to take my early morning coffee in front of the Sao Jose Church. A few meters away is the Portas da Cidade, the ancient and historic entrance to the city of Ponta Delgada. What I loved about the place is how their streets are "tiled with artwork".

My only regret is my failure to visit the rural side of the island and see the natural wonders of the Azores. My prayer is that my wish of going back to the islands will come true.

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