Obrigado, Azores.

The Jordan family makes it back to the Azores and Pico Island to discover their roots in August 2019. We all fell in love with these islands and their people and can’t wait to return.

My family and I started this quest with a small bit of knowledge, few expectations, and high hopes for having a great time and learning about our family roots as we explored a place that I had only heard about from my dad’s Azorean family – the Garcias.

Claudia, our Epico tour guide did some research for us and after talking with several old timers in the town of Lajes do Pico, this is the lot and perhaps part of the house where the Leal family had once lived. Gloria de Leal and her brother came to the US in 1870. Only a majestic fig tree remains in the vacant lot. She would marry a Monese and their daughter Marie Monese married Manual Joseph Garcia who were my dad’s grandparents.

Japan was first on the list. When we started planning a summer family trip, my original thought was to take the whole family to Japan. My mom and dad, Bob Jordan and Doris Mason, had actually met in Yokohama in the fall of 1945 after the war was over. My dad was part of the occupying force and my mom was a nurse. I had been to Japan once, but no one else in the family had so I thought it would make the perfect August trip. However, as I started doing research and talking to friends who lived there, I discovered August was the worst time to be in Japan – too hot and muggy, typhoon season, many things closed as the Japanese themselves are on vacation.

“Let’s go to the Azores,” I thought! We all have been wanting to go. But Italy and Ireland had been getting in the way. I pitched it to the tribe and the trip was on for the end of August.

Pinterest Planning. As I began planning, I discovered that many of the best and most current resources could be found on Pinterest. There are a ton of travel reports along the lines of “30 Things to Know Before You Travel to the Azores,” “18 helpful Azores Travel Tips,” and “Ten Places You Can’t Miss in the Azores.” I also found some enticing vlogs on YouTube that showcase many beautiful thing to see and do. My favorite was the series on the Azores by Hare Le Bare that included my inspiration “Pico Island- I SURVIVED CLIMBING MOUNT PICO ! 🗻 (Barely..) ” Eventually I bought one travel book as part of the planning. I still like to have a book with me for reference when I am there.

This is the tour group we booked to hike up Mt. Pico. Nuno was our guide up the mountain.

Our Perfect Azores Itinerary. The itinerary I landed on was for 11 nights – One day and night traveling – on Delta SLC – JFK – PDL; Three nights in Saô Miguel; Six nights in Pico with day trips to Saô Jorge and Faial; and a final night back in Saô Miguel before we headed back home the next morning. From all I could gather Delta has only had this route for a little over a year. Both flight were totally full and hopefully this route will continue. When I had researched going in previous years, most of what I found were charter flights out of Boston. But I am told there flights from Oakland to help all the Azoreans in California get home every summer.

Perfect Pico Planning with Claudia at éPico. In the research I did, I got connected to the company that could hook you up with guides to help you climb Mt. Pico – Monica and Nuno at atiPICO http://epico.uractive.com/activities/b897233f-86b9-4f27-80af-2d3a60463cec and also Claudia at ePico http://epico.uractive.com/.

Claudia and Monica were working together, but are now separate businesses. Claudia was the person who helped plan all our time on the islands of Pico, Saõ Jorge and Faial. I can not say enough great things about her. If you want to travel with a guide while you are on Pico, you can not find any one better.

Travel Day – Monday, August 19, 2019 • Sacramento • Salt Lake City • JFK • Delta Airlines. Our big upgrade was that we bought Delta’s Comfort Plus seats at Christine’s insistence. Good call. The best part is that you get to board early and the extra leg room is wonderful. We were all extra tired. Kate, Robert, Zoe, Sue and I had all been in Santa Clara the night before seeing the Rolling Stones. We didn’t make it home until after 1 a.m.

Day One – Tuesday, August 20, 2019 • Saõ Miguel • Pedras do Mar Resort • Lagoa do Fogo. Once at JFK, it’s a less than five-hour flight to Saô Miguel. We left around 10 p.m. and arrived in the Azores before 9 a.m. We picked up our nine-passenger Renault standard-shift mega van right at the airport and were off on our adventure. Cap’n Christine was our driver as she is an ace with a stick shift.

First accommodations – Pedras do Mar. I took a recommendation from one of the Pinterest sites (Travel Geek) and booked a place on the north side of the island opposite from Ponta Garda at a resort called Pedras do Mar in the town of Fenais da Luz. This turned out to be a great choice as it was a great hotel with a restaurant, pool, steam room, sauna, a killer breakfast and easy access to great ocean views. After we picked up the car, it took us a little more than half an hour to get there. The two things we noticed. Volcanic rock walls and hydrangea bushes. Everywhere.

After checking in (our rooms wouldn’t be available for several hours), we decided to drive around and see what we could see. The very helpful woman at the front desk recommended we head to the Lagoa do Fogo area as it was closer, but I really wanted to attempt to see the beautiful views of Sete Cidades that I had read so much about. We headed toward Sete Cidades but it quickly became obvious that the roads were too narrow and the fog too thick and Christine was too tired that this was not the wisest approach. So we headed back the other way toward the other side of the island and Lagoa do Fogo another great lake in a volcanic crater.

Lagoa do Fogo

We drove up a steep mountain road and after a few minutes it began to clear a bit to give us this view. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be on a clear day. Some days you see a lot. Some days all you are going to see is fog and mist.

I think Miradouro means “this is a place to see a beautiful view.’ What a beautiful word.
The view from our room.
Had a quick lunch and a great dinner at the resort.

The only down side to the day was Christine clipped a wall and turned the mirror in and popped the mirror out. We pushed them both back in to place and it was definitely no harm, no foul.

Day Two – Wednesday, August 21, 2019 • Saõ Miguel • Morning Ocean Walk • Furnas • Furnas Fumaroles • Cozida at Tony’s Restaurant • Exploring the Town • Terra Nostra Gardens and Mineral Baths • Gorreana Tea Plantation • Infinity Pool I began the morning with a walk down by the ocean, and this would be my routine the three mornings we were there. Each day the views were more and more stunning. It would have been so easy to have missed this. It’s always worth it to get out and explore where ever you are staying.

first morning walk and view

Look what I found. You know how often I look for a four-leaf clover and never find one. Well today was different. This trip will definitely be filled with great luck for all of us.

Found a four-leaf clover.

Free breakfast. Yes please. Robert loved this breakfast most of all. So many great things to eat.

Carbarama. You like bread. We’ve got bread.

Quest for Furnas and its culinary delight, Cozidas. Our first goal was to see the town of Furnas and its famous hot springs. On the road we saw the amazing display of greenery a and colorful hydrangeas. From all we heard the hydrangea is not native to the Azores, but was imported from Asia. They have definitely taken over. Gorgeous to be sure. But the natives do not love them because they are not indigenous.

Fumarole. First stop was the fumaroles ad Lagoa Furnas where they cook the cozida by natural steam heat.

Tony time. We had the hotel make a reservation for us at Tony’s, a restaurant where they serve the cozida. It was wasy to find, but parking our mega-van was a bit more of a challenge.

Mr. Limpet. For an appetizer we also tried another Azorean delicacy – Limpets.

Furnas Cozida. The Cozida is made up of cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, pork, chicken, beef, sausage and blood sausage – all cooked in the ground geothermically. We made the mistake of ordering TOO MUCH FOOD. Two orders, even one, would have been plenty,

Exploring in Furnas. After lunch we headed out to expore what we could of this could of this cool little town. Cloudy with a little rain.

Furnas Park. Next, we were going to head to the famous mineral baths, and we found a beautiful garden that we had to check out in the afternoon drizzle.

Discovering great beauty along the streets of Furnas. Next we headed to check out the famous mineral baths at the Terra Nostra Gardens. We tried to drive there, but then realized it made more sense to leave the car where we had parked it and walk to the gardens. So much cool stuff to see along the way as we walked the streets of Furnas.

Terra Nostra Gardens and baths. It cost 8 Euros to get in. We were brave and decided to take the plunge into the warm and murky waters. Hundreds of people were enjoying the waters. We loved it.

Thermal Water Jacuzzi. The first place we got in was at two smaller pools with warm bubbling water.

Brown water time. From there we moved up to the huge mineral bath. Would you get in water that was THIS COLOR. We did.

Gorreana Tea Plantation. As we drove back toward Ponta Delgada, we stopped at the Goreanna Tea Plantation and its stunning views. We got there just after the last tour had started so we made the best of all it on our own.

Tea for Two. Son and mother enjoy a cuppa.

You though the day was over? Not so fast. We still had much fun in store back at Pedra do Mar. The girls and I had to check out the infinity pool. I’d SEEN them in magazines, but had never Been IN one.

Instagram beauty.
Mr. Instagram. So dreamy

Day Three – Thursday, August 22, 2019 • Saõ Miguel • Morning Ocean Views • Caldiera das Sete Cidades • Arruda Pineapple Plantation. Today’s quest was to see the incredible views of the caldiera and two lakes at Sete Cidades – one blue, one green. For me these sights were the symbol of the volcanic beauty of Saõ Miguel and were definitely number one on my must-see list. Some days however nature does exactly what she wants to do when she wants to do it.

Morning Ocean Walk. Began the day with my sea side walk and the views were even more stunning than yesterday.

The first adventure of the day was just getting to Sete Cidades. The very helpful woman at the front desk basically told us to drive West from Fenais de Luz and when we got to a town called Santo Antonio, turn left at a red restaurant. OK. We did that and were soon climbing up narrow roads bordered by hydrangeas, volcanic rock walls, and mist! My goal was to find the place that you had to hike to to find that spot that everyone said had the perfect views.

This is the spot. It was super confusing to know for sure where exactly the viewing spot was. The Sete Cidades sign is directing you to the town and the name of the lake on the big sign makes it seem that where you are is at Lagoa Canario. The key is the big gate. Some guidebooks say it is closed at times and you have to walk all the way in. If the gate is open drive as far back as you can. We did not realize this and had a nice 20-minute hike in.

Team Jordan HIKING in the rain on their quest of discovery.

Jordans on the move. Sue, Christine, Kate, Robert, Zoë all hiking in the rain!!!!!

The lakes at Sete Cidades – Azul and Verde. We decided to head down the mountain to the town of Sete Cidades and we found an over look where we could actuall see the two lakes

Sete Cidades. Next stop was the town of Sete Cidades for lunch. Fun respite in the middle of the busy day.

Final stop – Arruda Pineapple Plantation. Believe it or not there is a hot house pineapple plantation in the outskirts of Ponta Delgada.

Shooting a game during dinner. Shooting pool with the boy. Kind of rough since the cues had not tips!

Day Four – Friday, August 23, 2019 • Saõ Miguel • Morning Beauty • Turning in the Van • Hanging out in the Airport – One long day • Making it to Pico. Began our last day in Saõ Miguel by walking the other way along the shore toward the town. What amazing views lay in store.

Bread Delivery. On the Azores you can have bread delivered daily to your home. As I was walking that morning, I actually got to see the bread van out making deliveries

Sunrise and the clouds. I was able to catch the sun as it rose through the cloud cover.

I made it back to the hotel but I could have explored for hours. What a beautiful little village. We had one more sumptuous breakfast then we were ready to fill up the van and turn it in and catch our 11:40 flight to Pico.

We turned in the car with no problems and they did not charge us for the dinged mirror. We got all checked in for our flight and were all set. Then I got a strange message from Claudia, our guide on Pico, and she said our plane had been cancelled. Strange since we through security and were sitting in the waiting area.

The airport wait begins. Sure enough we were informed that the flight had been cancelled and we had to go back out through security to rebook. I should have been in the front of the line, but I hesitated and we wound up toward the very back. Rookie mistake. We did finally get rebooked on a flight that left at 8:30 p.m. but we were going to have to sit there for over eight hours. Good news is that they promised us two meals.

Eight hours in an airport. The best part of the free meals were that were filling. Free wine too,. Lunch was fish sticks-like fish or chicken strips. Dinner was three chicken legs! Between meals we sat around and enjoyed our free wifi and checked out the stores. Not a horrible wait really.

Pico here we come. We finally got on the plane and were on our way to my family island. Too bad it was dark.

Pico at last. Claudia, our guide from ePico had a taxi booked for us and we made it into Jeiroes do Mar by 10 p.m. She had also bought us food and water for our Pico climb the next morning. We had planned to have all day there to prepare for the hike but we had to make do with how it all played out.

Day Five – Saturday, August 24, 2019 • Pico • Our Ascent of Mt. Pico • One of the Most Rewarding and Challenging Things I Have Ever Attempted. We had no breakfast food in the house so we had one of the granola bars that Claudia bought for us. She bought for us a loaf of sliced white bread, seven slices of ham, nine slices of cheese, a a box of “energy’ bars. This would have to fuel us up the mountain.

Team Jordan gets ready to climb.
Mt. Pico. Does not seem that formidable from this angle.
Mountain House. The mountain house where the climb begins
First View. Looking down across the parking lot from the mountain house.

The truth of climbing Mt. Pico. I had seen the video and though it looked difficult every one seemed to be saying that if you are in AVERAGE shape you will be able to make the climb. The fact that I can ride hundreds of miles and had been working out on the stair climber at the gym told me that I was in that kind of average shape. SHOES.I also had prepared by going to REI to find the perfect pair of hiking shoes. In the end I decided on a pair that were more like stiff running flats than heavy duty hiking boots. BIG MISTAKE, To make this hike you need to have off trail kings of books with a stiff Vibram-type sole. You will need grip and you need the stiffness of a over the ankle boot. STICKS. They also said that it would be a good idea to have sticks. I wasn’t sure that was true because I thought only old people who were afraid of falling really needed poles. How wrong I was. On this hike you definitely need them. If you are used to them, both are needed going up, but if you have never used them you need at least one. And going back down you definitely need two. WATER. You need as much water as you can carry – at least two big 1.5 liter bottles per person. FOOD. You need to think of this as a century bike ride or a marathon. Bring energy bars, blocks, goo – whatever works best for you. You need to be prepared so you will not BONK!

The hike begins. They said the first section was the easy part – a shakedown to see your well you are prepared.

Full of hope and enthusiasm. The journey begins.
Nuno. Our guide Nuno led the way.
The view back down the mountain.
We got to rest.
We got to explore a small cave.
Sustenance. Robert and I were so hungry we had a ham and cheese sandwich on the way up. One fewer sandwich for lunch.
Rays of light. Zoë relaxes before we restart the climb.
Island view. The closest island Faial in the distance.
Robert in the clouds.
Slowest in front. When you are the slowest, they put you right behind the guide. Look who is in the second spot now.
Still smiling. Even when you are tired, you still have to smile that you made it this far.
Coming out of the Clouds. Zoë, Kate, and I keep climbing.
Mountain beauty. A rare species of azorean wild flowers.
One step at a time. No matter how tired you are, just keep making progress one step at a time.

Pico Summit (part 1) – The Crater. There are really two summits of Mt. Pico. The first comes when you have climbed between pole 1 and 45. The terrain flattens out and you can see into the crater. It looks like a gorgeous moonscape with blazing blue sky above.

Moonscape. The crater was flat and beautiful.
The Final Ascent. This crowing peak is called the Piquinho

The Final Ascent. (part 2) – The Piquinho. This part of the climb requires that you leave your sticks behind and climb with your hands and feet. Robert was willing to sit this out, but I said I was going, he was all in too. No way would I come this far and not make it to the top. This was the part I was so glad I had my cycling gloves. In fact I would say that that light gloves are essential for the entire hike. Any time your hands touch anything you are in danger of cutting them up. the rocks are like cheese graters. Instant ripped skin.

Mt. Pico three. All your kids on Mt. Pico. Doesn’t get any better than this.
I got in this one!
Getting ready for the final climb to the top.
View down back down over the crater.
Climbing stickless now.

WE MADE IT! How exhilarating to make it to the summit after nearly five hours of climbing. From this vantage point we could see five of the islands – Pico, Faial, Saõ George, and Graciosa.

Back Down to the Crater. All good things must come to an end so we hiked back down to the crater for lunch and a rest. Our sandwiches were great and all but it just wasn’t enough fuel for the task at hand.

Ham and cheese time. Pull up a piece of lava and enjoy the view.
Couple from Finland
Couple from Italy.

The Descent. You are thrilled to have made it to the top. But don’t forget there is a 4+ hour descent below you that may be even tougher than the climb up. On the descent you definitely need two poles for stability when the trail gets covered with loose gravel. Nuno instructed us not to put out hands into the loops and they could get caught. Better to lose a pole than to break an arm.

Hanging on for dear Life. You do not take many photos when you are putting all your concentration into every step of getting down the mountain. Eventually the couples from Italy and Finland and Zoë went ahead which left Kate and Robert and Nuno to coach me down. As we went Nuno would show me with his walking sticks the places I need to step so I wouldn’t slip. I got into that mode where I would ask “How much longer?” And the answer always seemed to be “About an hour.”

We Made it! After four gruelingish hours, I made it to the Mountain House. We even got our certificates of completion.

We made it! They finished strong and I finally got there. Still proud of my accomplishment.
Pico Panoramic.

Perfect Pico Meal. Since we were gone all day, Christine and Sue found the grocery story – they actually made three trips – and Christine cooked a luscious pork stew. It was great to be in apartment accommodations that allowed us to cook and sit around a big dining table together.

Day Six – Sunday, August 25, 2019 • Pico • Lajes do Pico • Whale Watching • Whale Festival • Tracing Our Roots. Day six was focused on a whale watching tour and then exploring Lajes do Pico, the whaling center of Pico. In some of the information I had received from my dad’s cousin Gregg Welsh, I found a family tree chart that listed the name of several towns I had never heard before. One was Lajes do Pico. I had sent this chart to Claudia our tour guide and she said that she would do some research for us, but we had no idea what she found.

Whale Watching of the coast of Lajes. Lajes do Pico was a great whaling center of the Azores and they still hunted whales until 1984 when it was made illegal. Our tour started with a lecture about what we might see and built up to each having to agree to go o the trip even if we might not see anything

Mt. Pico is looming at every turn.
Zodiac. They had these customized Zodiac boats that we could all see from and quickly scoot around the ocean
Couple of whalers.

Lajes Whaling Museum – Museu Dos Baleeitos. Next stop on the tour was the Lajes whaling museum which told the story of Pico whaling from its beginnings to the end in 1984. One of the highlights was the 1969 black and white documentary on whaling and Lajes in the late 1960s

In search of our roots – Maria do Gloria Leal. One of the names on our family tree I had never heard before was the Leal family which was clearly connected to the town of Lajes. I sent what information I had to Claudia at éPico and she took on the task of finding out if any of our family was still left on Pico. Incredibly she spoke with a number of old times and discovered that while there were no direct descendants left on Pico. This lot and part of the house where they lived.

From all that I have gathered Maria do Gloria Leal was born in Lajes do Pico in June 15, 1846. She set out with her brother John Leal Queresma (João) to America. He paid 502,800 Reals for their passage on a barge, “Fredonia” from Pico which left for the USA on 24 March 1870. Once in the US Maria married Manuel Moneis (Monis) who was born in 1839. The marriage of Maria Leal and Manuel Monis produced Maria Palmeda Monese who would marry Manuel Joseph Garcia.This couple was my father’s maternal grandparents. Maria Monese was Joseph Garcia’s third wife. Marie was still living when I was born in 1955. She died in 1956 and is buried in the Hayward Holy Sepulchre Masoleum.

The street in Lajes do Pico where my great, great grandmother, Gloria do Leal and her family lived before she and her brother set out for America on 24 March 1870.

Lajes Town Walk. Next we took a walk through the town of Lajes. A parade that was part of the Whaling Festival was scheduled for 6 p.m., but we were not going to be staying in town that long. This took on a whole new feeling as I know now my ancestors lived her and walked these streets nearly 150 years ago.

Early parish church in Lajes

Whaling Festival. Sunday was the last day of the whaling festival. We were able to catch a few minutes of the afternoon philharmonic concert and enjoy an ice cream and coffee. There are currently 18 philharmonic orchestras on the island. Music is a very important part of life and culture on Pico and the Azores.

Sunday Afternoon concert in Lajes.
Food trucks in every culture now.
The family street in Lajes.
Our family street in Lajes.

Walk to the cemetery via the whalers’ stairs. We closed the circle of our town walk and then headed back up to the cemetery. The staircase is the one featured in the 1969 whaling video – once a whale was spotted and the alarm sounded the whalers ran down the stairs to man their boats.

Whalers’ stairs.
Lajes Bay

Lajes Cemetery. We discovered that there are no headstones pre 1900.

Ginger Lily. Claudia pulled over and picked a ginger lily and we sipped the sweetness from the stems. Natural sweetener where we get Stevia.

Drive home. Claudia took us on a drive in the middle of the island to learn more about the local fauna.

Dinner in Madelena. We had four different restaurants to choose from within walking distance from our apartment. We chose Taverna do Canal and what a great choice it was. Fresh tuna and shrimp. A great Pico syrah. Chocolate mousse and a lemon cake. Everything was perfect.

Day Seven – Monday, August 26, 2019Pico to Saõ Jorge • Cheese Factory • Fajas • Lunch • Misty Views • Coffee Plantation • Local Handicrafts • Bullfight. On Monday we had our first day trip without Claudia to one of the other of three islands in the “triangle” – Saõ Jorge. There was some confusion about whether or not the ferry would leave from Madelena or a town 20 minutes away, Saõ Roque. We even bought our tickets, with the help of Claudia, on Sunday night. We had booked a taxi ride with Carlos the guy who had picked us up at the Pico airport on Friday night. We were picked up by another guy who spoke no English and when we got to to Saõ Roque ferry stop they told us that the ferry was leaving from Madelena!!!! So we hauled back to Madelena is made it with ten minutes to spare.

Madela Morning Walk. too a morning walk through downtown Madelena to the story and then took in some of the cool sights around our apartment.

One of he natural lava swimming pools
Lava, Lava every where. Lava is the prime building material here in Pico.
Our apartment. Modern, spacious, amazing.
Jeirões do Mar which translates to “vines by the sea.”
Team Jordan on the move to Saõ Jorge.

Saõ Jorge Day. Once we arrived on Saõ Jorge we met Dina, our tour guide for the day. We all climbed in her van and were off to the cheese factory. One of our struggles on this trip was getting everyone in the mega van and getting all our seat belts buckled. lol

Dina, our Saõ Jorge tour guide.

Saõ Jorge Cheese Factory. Saõ Jorge’s most famous commodity is its cheese. Because our ferry was late getting in we got to the cheese factory which got us in right at lunch time, we were able to taste the cheese but were net able to see it in production

Misty views. As usual beautiful views shrouded in mist. These flat areas are called Fajas. As a result of earthquakes or lava flows, these flat areas have been created where people began living.

Lunch time. A part of our tours every day incldes a great lunch. Usually a meat and a fish. One fun thing they always do is bring our a book with pictures of individual types of fish and they show you the types of fish they will be serving.

Lunchtime view.

Coffee plantation and the Nunes Faja. Dina’s family lives on the Nunes Faja and grows coffee. The only place coffee is grown in Europe. We saw the coffee plants and hears how they roast the coffee in cast iron skillets. Then we got to taste it in their cafe. WE also go to see Dina;s mothers loom, rugs, and other handicrafts. The Mini Cooper was once owned by the father of the family. They found it again years later and restored it back to its glory.

Lava Church in Urzelina. This church was over run by lava in the eruption of 1808 – all but the tower. This also was the place where Christine stepped off a ledge and could have seriously hurt herself.

More handicrafts in Urzelina. I supposed any good tour guide has connections to the local artisans. Dina was no exception and had another friend/relative with a shop with great azorean handiwork. We left more than a few Euros here

Touradas á corda – the Azorean Bullfight. Once in a while when you are traveling in a country other than your own you can fall into seeing and participating in a real, local cultural event that you had no idea you would actually see. I had been reading a book written by an American journalist called “The Tenth island” about her love for the Azores specially the island of Terceira. In it she tells of the tradition of the touradas á corda a type of bullfight where the bull is guided by ropes and is not harmed in any way. The bull runs through the streets and can still ru you over, but its not totally free.

While were we stopping at the handicraft store I noticed a crowd gathering in some kind of an open field across the street. I asked what it was and Dina said it was kind of a junior version of the bullfight – small bulls and a lot of kids participating. Of course I asked Dina if we could check it out and she said we could.

The impromptu crowd gathered with food stands and 1 Euro beers and other drinks
Notice the orange cart on the right. If you are off the ground you will be safe from the bull. Off the back you see open ocean. Easy to forget we are on an island.
It took a long time for the bull to come out. The policeman was in the middle of some kind of a discussion.
At last the bull is on the loose.

Saõ Jorge harbor views. After the bullfight Dina droves us to a miraduoro up and out of town for some spectacular harbor views.

Saõ Jorge Out. Dina left us at the harbor and we had a nice meal there before taking the 9:30 ferry back to Pico. Wht an incredible day with had on Saõ Jorge.

Day Eight – Tuesday, August 27, 2019. Pico • Wine Country • Wine Museum • Wine Tasting • Lunch • Cheese Factory • Garcia Family • Pizza. On

Madelena harbor view in the morning. Began the morning with a walk to the store and took in these gorgeous views of Madalena harbor over to Faial.

Linguica and eggs. About the only part of Portuguese heritage that I remember growing up is that once in a while my dad would make linguica and scrambled eggs. Linguica is a dry Portuguese sausage. I though it would fun to walk to the store, buy the ingredients , and make the dish for the gang. Made me happy to try and channel my dad. When you get to this age, you start to realize how little you actually knew about your parents.

Pico Wine Tour. We spent most of the morning touring the vineyard area near Madelena. The most amazing aspect of the wine area is that they do not stake the vines. They grow low to the ground in the rich volcanic soil with lava rock walls surrounding each set of vines.

Roll out the barrel. Wine was rolled through this opening to awaiting boats
Lava, lava every where.

Pico Wine Museum. A beautiful setting to learn about the history of Pico wines. They say that wines were beloved by the Czars or Russia

Wine and the sea. We made another stop on the north coast with gorgeous views of the lava formations and the sea. Did a little tasting too.

Pico Lunch extravaganza. We stopped at a great home-winery-museum with Claudia for lunch.

More lava handicrafts. Next stop – more great Pico lava stuff to buy.

Cheese Factory Tour with Patricia. next stop was at a Pico cheese factory with the manager of the factory Patricia who was very passionate about her cheese. It was very clear that the business is struggling. There is more money to be made raising cows for beef than for milk.

On the Road. some great things to see on the coast.

Mirateca, Candelaria, Monte and Manuel Joseph Garcia. Claudia took the info I sent her about the family and found out some interesting information about my dad’s grandfather, Manual Joseph Garcia. One geneological chart said he was from Monte, his baptism certificate says Candelaria, and Claudia found that the only family named Garcia (da Rosa) lived in the town of Mirateca at at one time ran a store there. as far as she could discover, no one with the name gGarcia was still living there.

Garcia de Rosa. This once was a store owned my the Garcia da Rosa family
Could these be the houses and streets of my ancestors?

Baptism in Candelario. WE do have a certificate of baptism that states that Manual Joseph Garcia was baptised in Candelaria soon after he was born in 1850.

Manuel Joseph Garcia, an immigrant story. When we got home, I was digging around one of my family’s old trunks and found this book – A Garden Grows in Eden – The Centennial Story of San Leandro by Harry E. Shaffer.

Sailors, Settlers, and the Garden of Eden. Lo and behold I skimmed through the book looking for references to Manuel Joseph Garcia and found Chapter Seven entitled, “Sailors, Settlers, and the Garden of Eden.” The opening paragraphs tell the story of a young 14 year-old boy who in 1864 boarded a whaler headed for the Pacific Northwest dreaming of starting a new life in Brazil or San Francisco. When the weather prevented a stop in Brazil, he jumped ship in San Francisco and started a new life in San Leandro, California. His third third wife was Maria Monese whose mother Gloria Leal had also come to the US from Lajes do Pico with her brother in 1870. Manuel Joseph Garcia and Maria Monese were my father’s grandparents and the parents of my grandmother, Aurora Veronica Jordan. Grandma Marie, as she was called, was still living the first year I was alive.

Back in Madelena. With a stunning view of Mount Pico from across the street. Another incredible day on Pico

Day Nine – Wednesday, August 28, 2019. Pico • Day Trip to Faial with Fred • Pico-nic • Sunset Swim • Midnight Ice Cream. Faial is the closest island to Pico so the ferry ride was less that an hour.

Faial Marina at Horta. Fred drove us to an overlook to see the Faial Marina in the main city of Horta. This harbor is the largest in the Azores and many small sailing craft stop here to resupply on their wait to Europe. Horta is the place where all the government agencies are. If you are born on Pico, it is recorded in Horta. The only jail is in Horta. If you are pregnant on either Pico of Saõ Jorge, you must move to Faial in your seventh month because the only hospital is there.

Stop 2. Fred took us to various sites as we headed northeast on the island,

Faial Stop 3.

Faja Beach. One of the first beaches we have seen. Zoe and Fred couldn’t stop talking about the surfing

Lunch on Faial. More great food and fresh fish at Restaurante Rumar. Have you ever tasted Barracuda?

Capelinhos Volcano. A volcanic eruption lasted here for 13 months, from September 27, 1957 until October 24, 1958 and destroyed one town completely. As a result immigration laws were relaxed for a time and thousands moved to the US.

Farewell Faial. We say good bye to Fred and head back to Pico.

Pico-Nic. Claudia planned a Pico-nic for us near the site where the Garcia family lived in this cool site that combined vines, art, and spectacular views.

Late night Pico swim. We had not been in one of the natural lava swimming pools so we decided to go for it.

Late night ice cream. Zoë and I decided to check out the ice cream place in downtown Madelena near midnight.

Day Ten – Thursday, August 29, 2019. Pico • Back to Saõ Miguel • Last Day in Ponta Delgada. We left Pico and flew back to Saõ Miguel before heading home on Friday.

24 Hours in Ponta Delgada. On last day before heading home. We got to see the famous gate and explore the narrow streets with interesting architecture and discovered an amazing coffee shop where we hung out for several hours

Alianca Restaurant. Our cab driver recommended this place or great steaks. He said the fish was not fresh in Ponta Delgada and that beef was the way to go. The steak was fantastic and definitely did not disappoint. The restaurant was in walking distance from the main gate.

INTZ 48. We found a cool place to hang out near our hotel. Coffee. Beer. Pastries. Popsicles.

Hotel Saõ Miguel. At least it was cheap. Three people in a walk up room with no air conditioning is not a good thing. We all struggle a little to get through the night, but soon we were on our way back home.

Day Eleven – Friday, August 30, 2019. Saõ Miguel • Ponta Delgada • JFK • LAX • Sacramento. Heading home after our incredible time together in the Azores. Until next time.

Final Thoughts on Our Pilgrimage to the Azores. We fell completely in love with the Azores and can’t wait to go back. The people there are so friendly – maybe it’s because EVERYONE has relatives in Boston, California, or Canada. The food and wine were amazing – more types of fresh fish than you can imagine and the volcanic soil of Pico results in some spectacular.

Islands Visited. 4 of 9 – Saõ Miguel, Pico, Saõ Jorge, Faial.

Accommodations (1). Sao MiguelPedras do Mar in the town of Fenais da Luz. Rua das Tercas No. 3, Fenais da Luz, Sao Miguel 9545-228 Portugal

Accommodations (2). PicoJeiroes do Mar Guest House. Madela Rua Alexandre Herculano, Madalena (Azores), Portugal

Accommodations (3). San MiguelHotel Saõ Miguel. Rua Dr. Bruno Tavares Carreiro nº 28, Ponta Delgada, 9500-055, Portugal – Saõ Miguel 351 296 286 086

Tours. Epico. Ask for Claudia. In my decades of traveling around the world, she is one of the finest tour operators I have ever worked with. She went far above and beyond what I ever would have expected. We can’t wait to go back and work with her again. Most significantly on her own she did research on my family and found connections we could have never found on our own https://epico.uractive.com/


3 Comments Add yours

  1. worddoct says:

    Such a delightful blog about MY Jordan’s!

    On Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 9:40 AM James Mason Jordan wrote:

    > jamesmasonjordan posted: ” The Jordan family makes it back to the Azores > and Pico Island to discover their roots in August 2019. We all fell in love > with these islands and their people and can’t wait to return. My family and > I started this quest with a small bit of knowledg” >


  2. Amy Abrams says:

    Ah, what a glorious family adventure! And a beautiful place I really don’t know much about. Love seeing all of these smiling Azorean Jordan faces.


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