Beauties of Azores: enchanting Lagoa das Furnas on Sao Miguel
Hi there my Steemian friends and followers!
Welcome to my special weekly series called Beauties of Azores that was created by me to raise awareness of the extraordinary charm of a captivating Portuguese archipelago known as the Azores.
With all the recent happenings in the Steemian world and some extra posts where I have shared my thoughts on it, I somehow skipped my Beauties of Azores last week and I am sorry about that.
Today, however, I am coming with a brand new episode of the series that will take you to one of the most beautiful and also mystical places of the Sao Miguel Island, a magnificent volcanic lake known as Lagoa das Furnas.
Located on the southwestern outskirts of Furnas, a picturesque little town in the eastern part of the island, Lagoa das Furnas is one of the largest volcanic lakes of Sao Miguelas well as of the entire Azorean Archipelago.
Situated on the bottom of a massive volcanic crater, some 280 m (919 ft) above the sea level, the Furnas Lake occupies a total area of 176 ha and its deepest point is located approximately 14 m (46 ft) below the water surface.
As you can see in the following photos, the lake is surrounded by a beautiful landscape dominated by lush subtropical vegetation and pristine nature.
But there is something else that makes the Furnas Lake a very unique place and a true natural wonder - the omnipresent hot springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pools. The lake and its surroundings make for a hot spot of outstanding geothermal activities.
There are many spots right in the lake where the green water is bubbling up with hot air that emits a very strong sulfur smell.
The shore of the lake is home to a number of fumaroles, openings in the ground where steam and gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide are coming out of the Earth´s crust in a very impressive manner.
There is even a marked trail leading around the fumaroles so that visitors can watch them from a very close proximity. The sulfur smell and the heat coming from these holes is almost unbearable at some places though so if you cannot stand a very offensive smell similar to that of rotten eggs, you better keep away.
I am not a chemist but I am pretty sure these are sulfur crystals that formed on a rock lying on the shore of the lake.
However, the locals know how to make use of these impressive natural phenomena. They actually put meat in the holes to make special volcanic cozido, a traditional Portuguese dish.
Known as Cozido das Furnas, this unusual meal is cooked with the natural heat coming from the geothermal activity for up to 5 hours and then, it is transported to restaurants in the town where tourists love to chomp on it. Each restaurant has its own sign at the particular hole so that they know what cozido belongs to what restaurant.
We didn´t try it but they say it is delicious as the unique way of cooking makes this dish really special.
But back to the track now. The southern section of the trail leading around the Furnas Lake comes with some beautiful scenic views as well.
The green shades of the water are really incredible at some places. I am not sure what causes this striking coloration but my guess would be some algae, similarly to Lagoa Verde that I wrote about in one of the previous episodes of the series.
Just like the famous Loch Ness in Scotland, the Lake Furnas also has its mythical mosnter inhabitant. It´s called Furnie and it is believed to look like this sculpture that was installed on the shore of the lake.
But it´s not just the alleged presence of dinosaur-like beasts what makes you feel like traveling in time when hiking around the Furnas Lake. In some parts of the trail, the surrounding vegetation looks like a perfect setting for another Jurassic Park movie.
At the southernmost point of the lake, close to the road leading back to the town, there is this magnificent church known as Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitorias overlooking the lake. The church houses a funerary chapel that Jose do Canto, a renowned Azorean landowner and botanist, built for his wife and himself. The church, its location and history is also very interesting and I might dedicate a separate post to it later.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of my Beauties of Azores series that was dedicated to Lagoa das Furnas, a beautiful volcanic lake with mysterious atmosphere found on the Sao Miguel Island. All of the photos featured in this post were taken by me.
If you want to learn more about this exquisite Portuguese archipelago and its charms, stay tuned for the next episodes of my Beauties of Azores series ;)
This post was created by me for the Steem blockchain exclusively.