Lakes of tears and a cup of tea
The border of the road we are driving uphill is skirted by giant bushes of hortensias and beautiful trees. Every time the dense vegetation permits our gaze wanders over gently curved hills, covered by green fields and the blue sea in the background. After a little while we arrive at a viewpoint overlooking a paradise on its own. We are looking at what thousands of years ago was a huge fire spiting crater of a volcano, but today is maybe one of the most idyllic places on earth. The walls of the crater are covered by a beautiful green forest and in its centre are two tranquil lakes. One with blue, the other with green waters. Legend has it that once the pretty princess Antília, who had been closely watched by her father, used to come here enjoying this beautiful landscapes. It was here where she met a young shepherd, and of course they fell in love with each other. As the king found out about their romance he forbid his daughter continuing to see her lover, but granted them one last time together. Both of them cried bitter tears of farewell filling up both lakes. One blue like the eyes of the princess, one green like the eyes of the young shepherd.
We are following along the north coast of Sao Miguel, driving through picturesque costal villages and green fields divided by fences of the always present hortensias. Suddenly the green of the countryside seems to get darker and we get to see plantations which are unique in Europe. Since approximately 1750 tea is been produced in the Azores. In 1878 the “Sociedade Promotora de Agricultura” hired to Chinese from the the village of Macau in order to teach the local farmers the oriental techniques associated to this culture. The tea leafs are harvested manually from April to September. The factory where the leafs are processed is right next to the plantations. Entering inside is like taking a step back in time. Men are filling up machines which look like from another century, but vey well conserved, with buckets full of tea leaves. Inside the machines the leafs get crushed, fermented and finally toasted. Walking in between the rattling machines, watching the men at their labour we come to a little tea salon where we get to try a nice cup of Azorean tea.
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