A light breeze and sun shone on the Batalha Golf Club as we played in the Ladies Access Open in the Azores. Our pro, Mary Matteson appeared in an Antigua shirt to match ours, foreshadowing a great teaming day along with English journalist Steven Jackson. Mary is from Washington DC, now living in England and developing her skills on the European Ladies Access tour. While it has been a tough year for her golf game, she says the travel experience is unparalleled. As we tied for first place in the 2 person best ball match, taking second on a score card playoff, she is now set for a winning streak. Her roommate showed up with a tiger Butthead cover. It always warms our heart to see our former products on courses around the world. Batalha was even more challenging than yesterday from a walking perspective but every bit as beautiful. 360 degrees of intense beauty makes you “Feel Alive” – the Azores tourism slogan.
After lunch, we sped around the Furnas Golf Course that is supposed to be flooded out tomorrow. It is hard to believe on this gorgeous day. Furnas does not have ocean views but it is a horticultural wonder with artistic landscaping from rich blue hydrangeas to exotic palms, beckoning our return to play another day. Then, we proceeded along the coastal highway to Terra Nostra Garden in Furnas to swim in the thermal iron water pool surrounded by the lush gardens. Along the way we stopped at the Caldeira Hot springs. Steaming pools are too hot for bathing but perfect for cooking corn and stew. This area has a light sulfur smell, while the bathing pool in Furnas has a spa like aroma. Imagine a large round stone tiled swimming pool filled with warm yellow water. Stay at the hotel and dip for free or pay five euros for a towel and availability of the changing rooms to jump in your suit. Get past the color and slip into the silky warmth of the water, gaze up at the sky and trees, sit under a concentrated small fall to alleviate any physical neck, back and shoulder stress. This is a truly unique treat. The volcanic origins of the islands avail more thermal bathing opportunities with waterfalls and other natural settings.
Dinner at the Colegio 27 Restaurant began at 9pm with a live jazz band, Brazilian cocktails, savory seafood and barely concluded at 1 am. The moon shown over the cathedral in the square as we walked back to the hotel. The wind was picking up but we still couldn’t believe that Nadine might roll in to cancel our whale watching. We will see what tomorrow brings. Rather than take a vacation, we believe you must let the vacation take you. Rain or shine, it will be a good day in the Azores.[nggallery id=38]