Between flights

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Bags packed - heavier than last time

After a day of all different feelings yesterday and a couple of dips in the Atlantic, I got organized and got some cleaning done, washed up and started packing my bags last night.

This morning after walking the dogs, I finished everything two minutes before my own deadline and drove off to the airport in Santa Cruz.

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A blue day

Met the house- and dog owners at the airport, had a coffee with them and even got a couple of presents!

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Key chain holder from Taj Mahal

One cool thing to pimp my backpack with – a key chain holder to use for the zipper that’s boken, and a pretty scarf from India! Getting spoiled, I’m telling you.

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Pashmina scarf, matching my mala

Now I’m on Saõ Miguel island before next flight to Pico, and will reach Lisboa late tonight. The ticket was only £35, and with that comes visiting several airports during the way ;).

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Walk with two dogs

Will remember the island of Flores and the time we’ve spent there forever. And we’ve said we will come back to Flores in the future.

Ok, soon time to board the second plane.
See you later!
//Wivan

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Ponta Delgada airport in Saõ Miguel

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Quick lunch

Signs of becoming Floresian

Or “Driving on 3rd gear from Lajes to Santa Cruz”.

That’s definitely one of the signs of becoming more of a local than tourist; to be able to handle the turns and hills in such a way that you don’t need to drive only in 2nd gear, but actually can manage to use 3rd and 4th all the way between the villages.

Here are some other signs of starting to become a bit more like the locals:

* You think white bread is perfect and can’t remember why you would eat anything but wheat or corn bread.
* You’re seriously thinking whether you should get some chickens and then a cow, or maybe a goat first.

Cows and calves in Lajes

Cows and calves in Lajes

* You think traffic lights and highways are scary and don’t know if you want to go there again.
* You feel ripped off if a double espresso costs more than € 0.60.

Double espresso, €0.50 in Fazenda

Double espresso, €0.50 in Fazenda

* You think placing stones on the roof of the house is a great way to secure the tiles from flying off.

This roof might need something more than just stones...

This roof might need something more than just stones…

* You open windows and doors and air out blankets, pillows and everything else made of fabric as soon as it’s dry outside. (including mattresses, teddy bears, fleece pajamas and more.)
* You’re totally fine with only having fresh food shipments every two weeks and think the idea of a huge supermarket is silly.

Supermarket in Lajes

Supermarket in Lajes

Soon time for a new shipment

Soon time for a new shipment

* You’re seriously thinking about getting a truck, a moped or a tractor. Who needs fancy cars when you can have workable vehicles.

Moped.

Moped.

* You no longer raise an eyebrow when there are chickens in the neighbor’s trees at night.
* You’re longing to mount a bread-box someplace, where the morning bread is delivered.

Bread- and post box combined

Bread- and post box combined

Bread box next to water meter

Bread box next to water meter

* Either you buy UHT-milk in the store, or you get fresh milk from the cow – are there other ways?
* Hiking and walking is mainly for tourists.

Lucky and Anders on one of our first hikes on the western part of the island

Lucky and Anders on one of our first hikes on the western part of the island

Magical moments

This is real, though it looks fake

This is real, though it looks fake

Had a lovely tour on the south-west part of Flores last night. One of those magical nights when the sea is almost still, no wind, nice temperature and well, the setting – nothing more to ask of that.

This is one of many great views of the island

This is one of many great views of the island

How the Atlantic looked like a polished dance floor with the sun shining among the clouds is a sight I’ll remember for ever. It was all so beautiful it’s impossible to take pictures that actually give a hint of the real thing. And yet everything on the pictures look so perfect I had to put a person in some of them to make it a bit more real…

See?!

See?!

This one is for my friend Inga-Lill

This one is for my friend Inga-Lill

It’s still rather calm and quiet here on the island, though the tourist season begun a few weeks ago – we’ve seen more and more rental cars and typical tourists (they’re easy to spot among the locals…).

Some tourists look like this

Some tourists look like this

We’ve been lucky to be here so early in the year, with quite warm and good weather (it’s gotten so much better in the past weeks) and almost everyplace we’ve gone for hiking and sightseeing we’ve been totally alone. That’s really something!

The views, the sea, the green green grass

The views, the sea, the green green grass

Now this is what I call a good Friday night.

Laughing, crying and just quietly taking in this view

Laughing, crying and just quietly taking in this view

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Finding new balance

Little Irviljish moved in today

Little Irviljish moved in today

Today a new little dog moved in with us here at the place where we’re dog- and house sitting in Flores. One of the  neighbors is going away and her dog is staying with us the remaining weeks until we leave the island.

Lucky likes the bed...

Lucky likes the bed…

It’s always a bit of a challenge to find balance in a new setting, no matter if it’s a new place, a person coming to visit or adapting to a new member of the pack.

In this case, the dogs know each other but we’ve only had one of them with us and the whole constellation is new. So, as humans, we need to figure the little one out and see how things changes when having the two dogs together. For little Irviljish it’s new to be with us and she needs to find out what we’re like.

The two friends, swopping spots

The two friends, swopping spots

Now, we’re lucky to have the dogs help us highlight what’s happening in most constellations – when a place, a team member or conditions change, there’s a shift happening. The balance is lost for a short period before everything falls into place again. We often talk about finding ones role in a group, seeing the possibilities in a change or to figure out how to handle whatever comes flying in life.

Anders got up "early" to take care of the dogs

Anders got up “early” to take care of the dogs

So, today, we’re having a chance to embrace change and see what balance will look like from now on.

Take care!

//Anders and Wivan

After four weeks in Flores…

… this is part of what we’ve done, seen and experienced.

Driving a scooter

Driving a scooter

Barbeque dinner

Barbeque dinner

Quiet and peaceful sightseeing

Quiet and peaceful sightseeing

Stunning view of Ponta Delgada in Flores

Stunning view of Ponta Delgada in Flores

Swimming in the Atlantic

Swimming in the Atlantic

Useful hamam-towels from Istanbul

Useful hamam-towels from Istanbul

Our new friend: Lucky

Our new friend: Lucky

Spectacular Fajã Lopo Vaz

Spectacular Fajã Lopo Vaz

Fajã Lopo Vaz

Fajã Lopo Vaz

Hiking in beautiful locations

Hiking in beautiful locations

Trying our best to take pictures up in the clouds

Trying our best to take pictures up in the clouds

Pictures of friendship...

Pictures of friendship…

... arranging pictures of friendship...

… arranging pictures of friendship…

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

Lots of cooking going on

Lots of cooking going on

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Classy "fika" with brownie, coffee and pink sparkling wine

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Flowering beauty

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Rain, storm & rainbows

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At the beach

Thanks for following us and joining our journey! More pictures and stories to come.

// Anders & Wivan

An island of cows

There are so many cows in Flores and lots of small meadows. It’s fascinating to see how the farmers have prepared the land and built all the stone walls to keep the cattle in every spot possible, no matter how steep a hill or far a climb to get there.

Cows grazing down in a far-away valley

Cows grazing down in a far-away valley

This also means it usually isn’t enough for the cows to graze for a very long time, they need to be moved regularly, which also is a way of keeping the land open and control the vegetation.

Cows walking through Fazenda das Lajes

Cows walking through Fazenda das Lajes

All of a sudden when driving down the road, there is a small herd of cows, moving from one place to another. It’s something fun and loving about these procedures, the farming takes the time it takes, people are engaged in making it work, the traffic on the island is rather slow and this is just something that is part of life. Cows moving. And farmers. They walk and drive around their meadows, checking on the animals, milking or moving.

Passing cows on the road from Santa Cruz to Lajes

Passing cows on the road from Santa Cruz to Lajes


We’re grateful to be in this small island, experiencing all the little details of the local’s lives, from herding cattle to knowing when the delivery boat arrives and what days are good for drying laundry or making hikes.

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Cows and their calves resting

Now is the season for calves, by the way! And we love seeing the small newborn babies together with their moms out on the fields. Warm and dry weather is of course better for the small ones, so we wish for more of that!

// Anders & Wivan, cow-watchers

The boat is here!

Earlier today The Boat arrived to the harbor of Lajes das Flores. That means deliveries are happening on the island. It’s been two weeks since the last shipment and the stores have sold out things that will now be back on the shelves.

Deliveries coming in today

Deliveries coming in today

For example did the entire island run out of cement. Not a single bag of the grey powder was to be found, and now it’ll be back in stock! We saw cars arriving on The Boat, so some people will have new vehicles to drive in.

The harbor in Lajes das Flores

The harbor in Lajes das Flores

And we will again be able to find fresh cabbage, different sorts of fruits, broccoli, fresh pepper, red onions, cucumber, carrots and other things. The last time The Boat arrived, we learned at what time during the day deliveries are made to which store, so there is no need to go to the “Green Store” before about six o clock at night, because the smaller stores here in Lajes will get deliveries first, then comes the green store in Fazenda das Lajes.

The <3 Boat

The ❤ Boat

Starting to feel a bit more like locals now!

// Anders and Wivan, going to the store a little bit later

Rainy and windy forecast

What we have experienced this far in Flores, is that the weather can and do change rather quickly. So even if it looks very cloudy, all of a sudden the sun is out and the temperature rises. Or, the sun is shining and before even noticing anything, rain starts to fall or the wind catches speed.

Dark clouds arriving

Dark clouds arriving

Last Friday we had a storm that brought heavy winds and at times also heavy rain. When it is windy this island in the Azores is pretty vulnerable in the middle of the ocean. Most houses keep the shutters closed to the windows – to keep them from flapping in the wind, to avoid drought and to help keep the houses a bit warmer.
It gets very dark inside when the shutters are closed during the day. To feel a bit more alive we like to keep the shutters open in the living room, to be able to see the sky and the Atlantic below the village. To have a sense of what’s going on outside.

The clouds move fast over the island and the Atlantic

The clouds move fast over the island and the Atlantic

The dog we’re taking care of, Lucky, doesn’t like storms. Especially not when there’s thunder. She either tries to hide under our bed, or stays close to one of us like a glued piece of paper. Walking her is something we do in the moments it’s not raining too heavily or when the wind is a bit calmer and it can still be quite warm outside.

It’s funny how fast these shifts come. One day we are swimming in the ocean, sun bathing in Santa Cruz, Anders in flip flops and Wivan bare legged all day. The next it can be totally different. We wrap ourselves up in scarfs and blankets to keep warm inside and don’t want to go outside when the rain hits really hard and the streams are flooded.

The only shutters we keep open during storms

The only shutters we keep open during storms

Instead we watch movies, sitting in our bed with a cup of coffee. Or read a book, play a game and take a nap. It’s cozy and we might long back to this time sometime in the future, when the sun has been shining “too many” days in a stretch and we long for a rainy day to stay inside.

Sometimes the rain hits so hard, it comes through to the inside

Sometimes the rain hits so hard, it comes through to the inside

It looks like there’s coming another storm tomorrow, with lots and lots of rain. So we’re getting ready, preparing for slow or non-existing internet, making sure we have the food we need and some extra candles to light for coziness and warmth.

Keep warm and hold on to your loved ones.
// Anders & Wivan

Opening up after the last storm

Opening up after the last storm

Everyone enjoys sunshine after rain...

Everyone enjoys sunshine after rain…

Shopping in Flores; we found coffee!

Oh yes, we got a tip that there’s a good supermarket in the next village so we decided to go check it out. It doesn’t look much, but they’ve got lots of variety and also more fresh food in there! We went all in and felt very spoiled to get fresh apples, pears, salad (!), eggs, yoghurt, grounded coffee (hurray!), black tea (they mostly sell herbal teas here), and canned tomatoes.

Anders outside "The green store"

Anders outside “The green store”

What was surprising though was that they were out of onions the first time we went, but we did get several pieces of nice garlic. And we found some good frozen fish, and some minced meat so that Anders can make his Flores version of Chili con carne.

Shelves filled up with fresh ingredients after the boat arrived

Shelves filled up with fresh ingredients after the boat arrived

Wivan found ground coffee

Wivan found ground coffee

So, just a few minutes away by car, we all of a sudden found several variations of grounded coffee, and two or three different black teas, as well as fresh fruits that are not bananas 😉 And earlier this week the boat came in, so the shelves of this particular store were totally packed with fresh goodies.

"French style" food storage - in the closet!

“French style” food storage – in the closet!

Don’t think we’ve ever been so happy after a round of shopping, it felt very good to get things we like to have in the kitchen, especially the fresh ingredients, and a little broader variety, even though we like the game of cooking with few ingredients. And know what!? We even got coconut milk! And sunflower seeds. Wivan’s totally happy!

More joyful cooking ahead!

// Anders and Wivan

The luxury of locals

In Egypt last December we had a very clear example of what good connections with locals can do for us as foreigners and travellers in a new place. We got to have an amazing experience of the pyramids thanks to our very nice taxi driver Hassan who did as much as he ever could for us to have a good time.

Anders, Hassan and Wivan

Anders, Hassan and Wivan

And in France we’ve been invited to many dinners, lunches, excursions and trips to markets thanks to newly found friends who’ve taken great care of us.

Here in the Azores we get lots and lots of help from a neighbor. We get to use her car, so we can make small trips, go to the store or whatever. The other day we borrowed her scooter for a little drive in the sunshine. She comes over to ask if everything is ok, if we need anything or if she can help in any way and it’s very nice and comforting. We’ve also gotten maps of the island and been invited to volleyball practice with her, to come and listen and see her and her group practice folklore music and dancing.

Sightseeing in Flores thanks to our neighbor

Sightseeing in Flores thanks to our neighbor

Folk music and dancing practice in Lajes das Flores

Folk music and dancing practice in Lajes das Flores

Since the island of Flores has less than 4000 inhabitants, it’s very clear who is a local and who is not… most people know each other, at least in each village. So, we are trying our best to say hello and thanks in Portuguese and just see what we see and whom we will meet when we’re out. What we have learned this far, after travelling Europe for about six months, is that you can never predict what opportunity awaits around the corner, and to have some locals to help out or just show the way is very nice.

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Scooter ride in the sun - awfully cold wind on the top of the hill

In the store the other day we met a French guy who we spoke to for a little bit. And guess what?! After our encounter with the Frenchman, he’s now invited us for dinner with his family and our neighbor! We hope to schedule that soon.

// Anders and Wivan, hoping to make some new friends in Flores