The afternoon belonged to the incredible Lomba del Rei hike trail. It is the tourist circuit. And it took my breath away. If you showed me the pictures, I wouldn’t believe they were from Europe. Much of the section follows a stream through a narrow valley where the vegetation is reminiscent of South America. I immediately had to quote Jessie Ventura: “Cambodia is Kansas compared to that.” (Predator, 1987)
Lomba del Rei hike trail
Above it towers an incredibly high bridge. When we came to the ruins of the stone mill, which was swallowed by the “jungle”, I felt like Indiana Jones.
As far as hiking signs go, unlike Greece, where we saw two symbols on an eight-hour hike up the rugged terrain of Kali Limni, you stay aware of the Azores.
The Azores have perfectly marked official hiking trails, and there’s always a big X on the road to warn you where not to go or where the trail doesn’t continue.
After the trip, we visit the restaurant Poco Azul in the village of Achadinha, where we have dinner. Ajka subtly warns me during the meal, “Honey, you have a snail in your rice.”
“That’s a slug. It’s seafood rice.” I explain.
“Anyway, if I see you eat it, don’t expect more than back scratching from me tonight.”
We return to the car through the village of Achadinha, which means little Achada. Ajka quotes, “Achada and Achadinha, that’s like Divina and Divinka in our country.” But she wronged them because this “twin village” had a population of barely 1,000 according to the 2011 census, not even a third of what Divina and Divinka have.
Lomba del Rei hike trail was incredible. Tomorrow we will explore the lakes in the Sete Cidades volcano on the island’s west side.