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Monday, September 26, 2011

Hike Terceira PRC4TER 19 Monte do Brasil September 2011

19 September took the 1000hrs nr 2 bus from Praia da Vitoria to the capital, Angra do Heroisme, arriving there around 1100hrs.

View of Monte do Brasil from the city
After walking through the city we arrived at the narrow neck of land connecting Monte do Brasil to the mainland - the start of our hike.
Monte do Brasil is the largest coastal volcano in the Azores and was formed at a later date than the main island.
Monte do Brasil provides relatively sheltered waters between it and the mainland  creating one of the few good natural harbours in the Azores. As a consequence, Angra has been an important  port from the 15th century and served the Portuguese East Indies trade which brought considerable wealth to the city. It used to be the capital of the Azores.  Nowadays it is too small for commercial shipping and only has a marina for pleasure craft. Commercial shipping uses the man-made harbour of Praia do Vitoria to the east of the island of Terceira, where we are currently moored.
In order to protect the harbour and city from pirates, the isthmus has a large fort, which is still in use as a military barracks. The area outside the walls has square pits which it is thought were built to make attack using ladders more difficult.
World war II anti-aircraft guns are still visible above the fort. 

After walking round the outside of the fort, one accesses the peninsular via an archway in the fortification walls - still the only way onto the peninsular.
A few flowers caught our eye
From time to time one has views of the marina and town of Angra
The hike took us over the four peaks around the central caldera.

On this peak, Pico do Facho, there were old World War II gun emplacements. 
Views to the west.
The signalling post was used to alert the city of the arrival of ships.
The hike continued down to the central caldera
Views to the south east
The remains of Fort Quebrada at the south east of the peninsular - built to ensure that no undesirable ship could seek shelter off this part of the coast.
The route then took us through a shady wood
The next peak , Pico da Quebrada, has a bunker-style lookout building used for spotting whales 
View through the viewing slit in the lookout
Time for a rest
The lookout area on Pico do Zimbreiro
Another view of the caldera
The world war II gun emplacements on Pico das Cruinhas
and the stone monument erected in 1932 commemorating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Azores
Just below the monument there is a tiled panorama, with the actual panorama in the background

View of Angra harbour
View to the west
Once outside the fortifications, we found an alternative way back to town via a a passageway under the road.

and caught the 1700hrs bus back to Praia having had a very enjoyable hike.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hike Terceira Porto Judeu to P Martins 4 September 2011

Caught the 1000 hrs bus from Praia towards Angra. At 1035hr we were at the Espirito Santo Imperio of Porto Judeu, close to the south east tip of Terceira,  ready to start the hike to Porto Martins. We wanted to find a route which kept as close as possible to the coast.

The hike took us along the small harbour of Porto Judeu - there is normally too much swell here for boats to remain in the water so the few boats that operate from here are all lifted onto the hard when not in use.

Further along the seafront we passed a rockpool swimming area - very common along this rocky coast.

Time for lunch on Ponta das Contendas, the south eastern tip of the island, with the Lighthouse in the background
and read a book

In the island's tourist information booklets, descriptions for  the official hiking routes 1 to 4 and 8 are available. Hikes 5,6 and 7 are missing - probably as they are no longer maintained. However, we came across some old faded marks and decided to see where the trail would lead us.
and had a good view of this eroding peninsular

Soon lost the trail but found a steepish track to the top of a bush covered crumbling cliff.

leading to even better views

and a well defined route through a small forest

Someone had cut slivers of bark off the trees to mark the path - maybe not too good for the trees.Views of the crumbling cliff

Out of the woods into fields

Finally re-found the trail - faded yellow and red painted stripes.

Views back to Ponta Contendas

and views towards Porto Martins , our destination

After this, we lost the trail once more but managed to find a route through the fields to the road which we followed to Porto Martins where we caught the 1540hrs bus back to Praia.