São Miguel, Açores

During Thanksgiving, Ryan and I took a week off to do some traveling. We hit 3 main destinations, with the Azores being our first stop. Upon arrival back home in Hawaii, I inserted my SDHC card into my Mac and it was corrupted. No pictures. Nothing. I was just looking at them on my Canon, and now they were gone. I barely took photos with my iPhone, so I literally came home empty handed. I don’t ever even buy myself souvenirs from the places I go; all I want are my photos to remember the trip. After a literal meltdown, I messaged my brother to see if by some miracle he could program something to recover these. He seemed fairly confident that it could be done, so all I needed was to get the memory card to him.

Fast forward to Christmas Day, and after a surprise visit home, the vast majority of my pictures were recovered from the corrupted memory card, in less than 20 minutes too! Seriously, thank god for genius older brothers. ❤

So, the first official stop on the Mega Trip 2016 was the Azores. Little known to most Americans (at least me) the Azores is a mirror image of our own Hawaiian islands, right in the middle of the Atlantic, sans the tropical climate. A wonderful place for whale watching in the springtime and canyoning in the summer, the Azores have quite a bit to offer. There are non-stops from Boston and Oakland on Azores Airlines and most of the time, the prices are incredibly reasonable. Like, $465 RT reasonable.

We only had a day on the island, and the first half was unfortunately spent sleeping as we flew ahead 9 time zones in a little less than a day. We were #blessed with wonderful weather (it can get quite rainy this time of year.)

It’s recommended to rent a car there, as there really isn’t public transportation. A few warnings:

  1. All car rentals in Europe are standard transmission. Not an issue here (thanks Dad/Chris/Cody) but for some this can be quite the struggle  (…or entertaining for everyone but the driver.)
  2. Portuguese are INSANE drivers. So fast and aggressive. Perhaps I’m used to how slow Hawaiians drive now, but my oh my was I overwhelmed.
  3. Blind turns everywhere. Almost smashed into a lorry coming around a corner. Thank god for defensive driving lessons.

Most of the main island (São Miguel) can be seen in a few days, and there are flights between the other islands as well. This place is absolutely incredible, and I encourage everyone to take this destination into consideration when planning a vacation!

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