Sunday, May 21, 2017

Day 5 - Volcano Tour

Another morning started with a gorgeous view of the cliffs and ocean (I loved the wall length windows in the dining area so you could look at the view while you ate breakfast). 

Our guides came and picked us up for today's adventure, The Volcano Tour. 
We started out on this cliff overlooking the ocean that is perfect for Whale watching. He radios back and forth with a boat out there sending them to where the whales and dolphins are. 

Then they took us to out to get fresh gelato, as fresh as you can get it would seem. The cows were downstairs where you could watch the workers make the gelato and other dairy products.

We were HUGE fans of this creamy deliciousness. Happy cows make us happy.

There must be something in the gelato...

Algar do Carvao, this volcano was MASSIVE! Pictures can't do it justice, it was crazy! There were three parts to the volcano and one was called the cathedral (I believe). It was in one of the huge dome shaped areas and they had instrumental music playing to demonstrate the great acoustics. At the bottom on the volcano there was a lake on the bottom which you could actually scuba dive in. At the top of the Volcano there was like a rainforest growing around the opening.

Down the winding staircase

Plant life is spreading through the volcano and covering the lava tunnels.

Then we went on a drive and learned more about the volcanos, the plant life, and we went to the windy's spot on the island where you can actually be lifted off the ground at times. The guys LOVED it and when you leaned into the wind it would lift you and it felt like the simulation sky diving, it was CRAZY! The moment I stepped out of the car my hat when flying (then I stuffed it in my jacket).


Check out Trav's cheeks!

It was raining off and on this day so we didn't get very clear views the rest of the tour but what we could see was beautiful.

Their infamous bulls. They are big on the running of the bulls and have it going on from May to October. They told us different stories of how people said it got started but this is the Darcio told us. The guy who raised bulls would need to take a bull down to the butchers in town and when he did the bull would go crazy in the streets sometimes and people would run to get out of the way and it became an event, instead of dreading it they made it a festival. It seems to be a testosterone competition or something. They put things on the bulls horns so they cant skewer anyone, most injuries happen from tripping or stumbling while running and yes people occasionally die during the running of the bulls. They have 5 running of the bulls that day but the 5th one is not an actual bull but it's the most dangerous one (the one that causes the most hospitalizations as well). The 5th bull is where all the houses on that designated street have to load up on alcohol and everyone goes through all their houses drinking and get completely plastered. Yeah, not exactly my kind of party but I'm sure it makes for entertaining stories.
Bull pastures.

We went to this stop where they had holes in the mountain/volcano that were blowing steam and we were walking across the path along the area.

It was too cold and we all wanted to wrap things up here though.

Then we went and filled our tummies full of lots fresh cheese and bread and fig jam. I love cheese and it was all so delicious!

We got a few pounds of vacuum sealed cheese to take home with us and it goes great with their sweet bread. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 4 - Church, Christmas Cave, 5 k hike

We woke up to another beautiful morning and had a yummy breakfast. Sunday it rained off and on but it was still so nice, it just made it more of an adventure in my book.

We looked up the church building closest to us and the time so we could go to church here in Terceira. There was one about a mile away from out hotel so we just walked to it. It was up hill through the streets of Angra do Heroism. Once we got there we were welcomed with open arms and puckered up lips... literally. A set of sister missionaries and elders were there and other members who were so nice. They would kiss you on one side of the cheek as a form of greeting (obviously the Elders didn't do this) but one guy from the island named "Elder" (who is less accountable) completely took me by surprise and planted a big lingering smooch on my cheek. I was a little shocked but he went on to greet the rest of our family. We were all trying not to laugh out loud. He sure loved the cute sister missionaries as well. This Sunday was stake conference so it was like a video conference that was projected on the wall, we didn't understand a word of it. While we were sitting there Elder came over during the meeting and gave me another big wet lingering kiss on my cheek. I'm sure the look of surprise and shock on my face was partly the reason I heard so many little chuckles and covered laughs. Since we couldn't understand the meeting we decided about 15 minutes in to go into a classroom and have our own little Sunday School/testimony meeting. We had to set a chair in front of the classroom to keep Elder from coming in and out (because he first came in and planted another big kiss on Jessica and then left... only to try to come back again). Travis shared what  he had prepared in our last Stake Conference (which he didn't have enough time to share) and we had such a great discussion. It was a highlight of the trip and I think we all felt the spirit so strong.

Then we had lunch at this bakery that had great sandwiches and got some fresh fruit from the market on our way back to our hotel.
Our guide this day was Jeanette and she was taking us on a tour through Christmas Cave and a 5 K hike around one of their volcanoes.
This first area outside the cave was covered with towering pine trees, ponds, and reminded me of foggy mores.

 Christmas cave was awesome. There is a larger area in the cave where there is a podium type thing constructed out of the lava rock in the front where the priest conducts mass on Christmas Eve and the group will sing hymns and bring candles with them down here. So cool!

We went through some smaller tunnels, which were optional.

Then outside the cave we started our hike.

I was taking a picture and Travis was making us laugh with his poses.

The scenery changed so much on this hike it was amazing!

After the pines, ponds, and fog we came to these short bright green and orange small trees and plant life.

I love this picture of my parents.

These hand rail can be used to work out with, I was trying to be creative with how you could use them. Smooth right? (insert sarcastic emoji)

Then this went down into this area of moss covered trees, it kind of reminded me of the trees in the Fire Swamp from Princess Bride. Crazy cool.

Jeanette was showing us this important kind of moss that holds so much water an moisture to feed the trees. You could squeeze the moss and water would just pour out of your hand, it was like a sponge.

We got to this beautiful area an we all thought she called this "Death Lake"... We all nervously laugh, Why is it called that? We teased about alligators being in this water and when she went to take this picture she would tell us to step back... step back... until we were met by the deadly alligator. Yeah we laughed about it for a while but what she really said was "Depth Lake". Not quite as entertaining but beautiful nonetheless.

Love this picture of Johnny and Jess

OUR GROUP! Taylor and Sheena didn't come because they thought they should be careful since she's pregnant (so they went exploring the city, the gardens, and eating out at the different restaurants).

That moss is so pretty!

Then it started to rain, it was light rain but it still made us cold. So to keep things fun we started belting out songs (mainly Disney songs) and dancing around being silly as we hiked. Jeanette got quite a kick out of our group.
Our goofy lot.
Mickell next to this monster volcano. We were happy we all had rain jackets and/or ponchos!

The end of our expedition.The finish line of tall pine trees.
My gorgeous mamma.

Then we got to the hotel, showered, ate a nice dinner at the hotel and played games together in the lobby before heading back to our rooms for the night. The game was really fun, it was boys against girls and you had to work together to get your team to guess what you were explaining but you had to explain it with a partner and only saying every other word. It was so much FUN!!!