Day two begins with a sunrise over the marina, breakfast buffet and a bus ride with 40 plus new global golf friends over the emerald green mountains to the other side of Sao Miguel for a day of play at the Mackenzie Ross designed Baltalha Golf Club. The brilliant purple Morning Glory laces the fairways along with other exotic vegetation. Ancient volcanic rock walls delineate perimeters of past and present boundaries. This is a very challenging roller coaster ride with elevation changes from hilltop to valleys, many with an incredible ocean view. The game is tough but the scenery spells peace on this 27 hole layout where Cook pines and pampas grass intermingle.
The tropical storm (or hurricane?) Nadine is threatening a show as weather reports predict a torrential down pour in the area around Furnas where the Ladies Access Tour event was to be played starting tomorrow with the Pro Am in which we will participate. The bad news is, we will not play Furnas this trip. The good news is that the tournament is moved to Batalha so we have a chance to replay this course again, now understanding the layout and difference of distances in meters.
After today’s round, we toured the island, stopping at the Cha Gorrena Tea Plantation to see the factory workings and sample the brews. Organically grown onsite, the tea is mild and sweet; no need for milk and sugar. The surrounding sub tropical paradise with flowing green pastures and hillsides slips into the deep blue Atlantic for dramatic views. On the north shore of the island is some of the best surfing areas on earth. In fact, the SATA Airlines Open is an annual surfing event that captures the professional surfing community from all over the world.
Tonight we were the guests of Quinta de Pico de Cruz – a family with a passion for horses, flowers, food and music. A dancing horse and rider led us through the long tree lined entrance to the stables for a cocktail greeting and introduction of the family – mother, father, sons and Lusitano horses. A stone path then led to an elegant yet quaint dining hall for dinner. Just when we thought we were going home to rest (blog), the table side windows were opened, a fresh breeze blew in and a brilliant green arena lit up against a dark mountain, culminating with a surprise late night show of the dancing horses. The passionate music and equestrian athleticism put Dancing with the Stars to shame. Throughout the Azores there is a theme of preserving family business and fun. This family epitomizes the theme. Hasta manana….
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