Ruth: We are back on Sao Miguel and once again I am blown away by the diversity of the island. This morning we went on a short hike that did a circuit of the Gorreana tea plantation.  (Gordon tells me that it isn’t pronounced like an S.T.D.)  The plant that produces tea, it turns out, is a member of the camellia family.  After visiting the farm and tasting a couple of their varieties of tea we went in search of our midday meal. We were not disappointed in Ribeira Grande, where for just 6 euros we had a splendid feed. 

We are now staying in Furnas, the Banff of Sao Miguel. The town is situated in a volcano caldera that still has boiling springs steaming right in the center of town. We spent the afternoon at the Terra Nossa garden, which was started more than 200 years ago.  It has an extraordinary collection, including enormous Norfolk pines, a long avenue of ancient ginko trees, and 800 varieties of camellias.  We are here at a good time of the year to enjoy the blossoms of the camellias and the azaleas.  The garden also has several hot springs to soak in, which we enjoyed after all of our walking during the day.

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