@spurious-claims and I have finally returned to our home after a journey to Portugal, where we attended SteemFest2 and toured the country. What follows is an account of these adventures. This trip wouldn't have been possible without the good people of distributed autonomous collectives throughout the world. I'd like to give a special shout out to @roadscape for island-hopping, @lovejoy for having a good time without luggage, and @wolfcat for making phone calls. Thanks for all of the laughs and good conversations! Special thanks for the great conversations we've had @eroche @ebarbakos @wackou @ned @andrarchy @vandeberg @justinw @relativityboy @nanzo-scoop @saramiller @everlove @quinneaker @heiditravels @jexblackmore @elear @virtualgrowth @shla-rafia @lafona @dougkarr @alexlinebrink and everyone else that we crossed paths with over this grand journey! And of course, to @roelandp for bringing us all together!
Visiting Terceira was an amazing way to decompress from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Portugal. The Açores are a sub-tropical volcanic archipelago consisting of 9 islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Terceira, the 3rd largest island, was our first stop where we lodged at a banana camp near the port city of Angra do Heroísmo, a UNESCO heritage site. Angra is a beautiful city at the southern tip of the island that sits just north of a dead volcano peninsula called Monte Brasil. It is the last stop for ships on a trans-Atlantic route before reaching the Americas. Terceira feels relatively untouched by multi-national corporations; there were more local joints and seemingly only one fast food restaurant on the entire island of 64,000 people. The major industry on the island is cattle ranching and dairy. Bernardo told us there were more cows than people on the island. Driving in the Açores was really fun, the roads are very narrow and windy. Our first rental car, a fiat, could not make it up many of the hills beyond of first gear. We turned it in for an Opel when we picked up @roadscape from the airport, which was much more capable at handling elevation.
Staying at the banana camp we met many new friends, ranging from Europeans staying at the banana camp to local Terceirian folks working the farm. We had great discussions with them, had barbecues and drank great wine, and smoked too many cigarettes. We slept in and were awoken by roosters calling every morning. We ate as many bananas as we wanted, and a considerable amount of maracujas too, which were tart and delicious. All grown by the master farmer Bernardo on his father's farm that he inherited and is transforming into a thriving eco-tourism business with the help of Sergei and Nina, who focus on the airbnb aspect of it. We even discussed digital currency during one of our barbecues together, and Bernardo said he finally sees the point, "It is the first step towards building a global village. One day the banana eco camp will accept only bitcoin!"
After a few days we were joined at the banana camp by @roadscape flying in from the mainland after attending SteemFest. We all went hiking in some of the national forests that rest atop hills in the center of the island. The trails were wet and volcanic, with a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees and lots of flowers. Hiking on the Azores would be really beautiful in the Spring and Summer when the flowers are in bloom! @roadscape met some locals online (Iris and Paulo) and we hiked with them too!
Going to Terceira was the highlight of the trip for us. It reminded @spurious-claims of her homeland Newfoundland before it was commercialized, and we interacted with people of Portuguese and other cultures more intimately here than anywhere else on our trip. We made good friends, ones we hope to meet with again in the future. The people we met seemed happy and healthy, living in paradise. The food and drink was a great value most places we went, and the lapas grelhada were the tastiest!