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Friday, October 21, 2011

Hike Santa Maria PRC-3-SMA, Entre a Serra e o Mar, 20 October 2011

 Left the marina at 12.15hrs Thursday 20 October to catch the 12.40 bus to Santa Barbara
in order to do the Hike PRC-3-SMA, Entre a Serra e o Mar (Between Sierra and Sea)
Got off the bus at just after 14.00hrs close to the church in the village of Santa Barbara
The notice board giving details of the hike was closeby

Map of the hike downloaded from (note the link to this very useful website is now given on the top right of my blog homepage. All the official hikes on all the Azorian Islands are described here.
After a few minutes trying to work out where the trail actually starts (not completely clear from the info board) we struck off in the right direction, confirmed by the usual yellow and red painted stripes.

Went past the first of many of the "Steam" design of tall cylindrical chimneys typical of this island.
Past more houses with "Steam" chimneys
On top of the hill overlooking Santa Barbara are the ruins of two old Windmills

Unlike Terceira where almost all of the cattle are the Black & White Friesians, most of the cattle here seem to be the light brown Jersey collour.

Down a rough shady track
withviews of deep ravines
Came to an old quarry which had been used to provide stone for some of the local buildings

Wonderful colours - Light blue sky with puffy clouds, deep blue sea and green green grass
One of the many chaffinches
and more light brown cows
more chimneys
with the beautiful Yucca Filamentosa, also known as the Spanish Dagger due to the shape of its leaves
could not resist this photo
and, of course the "meninas para a escola" - the wild Amarylis Belladonnas
Just as we were thinking that there were no Friesian cattle on the island we came across this
The trail is a mixture of tarmaced road , farm tracks and rocky and muddy paths
We are now on a detour to .........

a natural viewpoint high above the magnificent Baia de Sao Lourenco
Breath-taking view

zooming-in to see the sone terraced vineyards spreading from the sea up as far as possible to the cliffs behind
Back from the detour to join the main route
The old church of Nossa Senhora do Lourdes with ... yes, a light brown cow in the foreground
This church is the only church in the Azores with its doors facing North
The few houses of the hamlet of Norte along the cliff-top

and again
Looking back at the church of Nossa Senhora do Lourdes
These houses are unusual. Istead of them all having the cylindrical "Steam" chimney, the one on the left has the Terceira style "Praying Hands" style, and the one in the middle is square
more super views

another shady muddy stony trail

and a stepping stone stream crossing

through a cut through the rock

more fields

Finally a view of our starting point, Santa Barbara


a welcome sight - a taxi just waiting for us by the church at 17.10 hrs
Unfortunately, buses are few and far between on Santa Maria. However, as part compensation, the taxis are quite cheap - it cost us just 11 euro for the 15 minute taxi ride back to Vila do Porto.
There we treated ourselves to a Pizza.

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