The guide book said it was open?

These past few days we’ve hopped in the car to explore more of Sao Miguel. Promising museums that Max had circled in the guidebook popped up on our radar as we headed towards some small villages, both inland and along the coast.

We decided to check out the yellow swimming pool other cruisers had described as glorious. Located in the spa village Furnas, which is in the mountains, the pool eluded us; but, we did find the steaming, burping mud holes at Lagoa das Furnas

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where they cooked one of the regional meals, cozido has caldeiras, by placing a pot in a hole

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and covering it up for several hours. (Martin said it did have a tinge of sulphor, something this gooey mud and hot steam promised in its discharge.)

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We didn’t try that but Max, a corn-on-the-cob aficionado, did succumb to an ear also cooked geothermally.

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We also spotted some of the famous oranges, an export crop until the late 1800s.

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Leaving Furnas after driving around and around in search of the yellow swimming pool, we headed out of town saving our hot dips for another day.

We ended up in Provoacao watching the constructing of either a new or a rebuilt seawall.

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All of a sudden we noticed a little head appearing next to the gigantic claw of the crane.

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Thinking, no, it can’t be, we continued staring only to see the little head become a frogman directing this mechanical arm with hand signals.

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One appeared a bit frantic, although that’s our interpretation and not necessarily the frogman’s meaning…

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He repeatedly dove

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and surfaced.

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All in all, pretty impressive.

Our cultural destination, Museu de Trigo (Wheat Museum), was on the road heading out of Provoacau; and, you wouldn’t think it would be difficult to find in such a small town. Hah! Numerous wrong turns including driving for 15 minutes behind a farmer and his tractor until he stopped, got out and pointed downhill when we pointed to “Museu de Trigo” in the book.

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Described as ‘a splendid watermill… skillfully restored in a glorious setting of pastures and hedgerows’, this museum seemed destination-worthy.

Well, it certainly was splendid…

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what we could see of it…

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which wasn’t much.

The book said it was open 10:30-12:30 and 12:30-18:00 Tue-Sun, but just not today.

Back in the car, we still enjoyed our day in spite of no Museu de Trigo interior.

We figured we could try another cultural destination the next day (Saturday, July 26), which was when we decided to head up the north coast to see the Oficina-Museu M j Melo located in Capelas. Filled with artifacts and displays of bygone days, this jewel of a museum had been created and funded by a retired school teacher. Hours were Mon-Sat 09:00-12:00 and 13:00-18:00.

We had a leisurely poke along the roads, including behind another farmer but this time in his horse-drawn cart.

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The ever-changing sea provided dramatic contrast to the black cliffs

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from which we spotted a pool.

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Drawing us down the road from the miradoura, we found this Punta Ferraria offered both a natural hot spring located in the ocean (at low tide)

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as well as a manmade swimming pool (not tide dependent). These warm waters served as another spa treatment for those folk who couldn’t afford to travel to Furnas.

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The parking lot also gave us another opportunity to exclaim over the clever paving, similar to the one we saw in Graciosa with Tricia and David.

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Knowing our destination was still an hour away, we hopped back in the car and meandered through small coastal villages where, it seemed, many were sprucing up their homes.

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The fact that the streets are amazingly narrow didn’t faze them as they perched their ladders as cars whizzed by (not us, but the locals).

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We saw some monoliths rising from the ocean reminding us of the film starring Kurt Douglas as Uylsses,

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another restored windmill where some emigres from Brittany settled way back when,

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tiny chapels,

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beautiful picnic areas,

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lovely homes,

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and, finally, our destination of the day, the Oficina-Museu M J Melo.

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WHICH is where we found, no, it’s NOT open, you touristy fools… at which point Max did his usual viewing of the exhibits.

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So, when the book says when a museum is open it means it’s open unless it’s not open. Go figure.

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