By admin on February 23, 2012 in Blogs

Getting ready to leave for the Azores seems to have turned into lunches at L’Espresso Bar Mercurio, my favorite haunt in downtown Toronto, where I am catching up with friends with links to the Azorean community in Toronto and learning about all the delights the islands have to offer me as a traveler, writer, and soaker-up of culture. Tara regaled me with stories of her own adventures in play writing and teaching English to Portuguese women in a factory setting in 1990s Toronto. Anthony, who is nothing but generous with his time and assistance, is I think a little jealous that he cannot be in the islands to show off his home. I cannot wait to see his hometown on Sao Miguel. Terceira is apparently the party island, I am told.

American and Canadian tourists rarely visit the Azores despite the great connections from Boston, Toronto, Montreal, and Oakland. This may be a blessing for the islanders because they appear to be visited mostly by eco-tourists from Europe. My guidebooks are arriving from England (walking tours) and Germany (auf Deutsch). It’ll be interesting to be on the islands particularly as the summer tourist season wanes in September. Apparently the flight to the Island should be mostly filled with Azoreans from the GTA, so I am hoping to make some friends on the way. Else I might just be hanging out with Germans and Swedes during the traveling phase of my trip.

Of course, as my European friends tell me, the way to recognize a Canadian is by the MEC gear s/he is wearing, so I have ordered up sturdy hiking boots, the requisite walking poles, a Suunto Compass from Finland, and downloaded the latest walking trails into my iphone. Now if only the doctor will give the A-OK on my knee tomorrow, then I will be clambering in and out of volcanic Calderas and hope to scramble up the sides of Mount Pico, the tallest mountain on the islands and if you measure from the ocean floor, the tallest in the world. The weather in Ponta Delgada right now is perfect – mid seventies and sunny — now if only it will stay that way when I arrive at the end of the month.

Fingers crossed!