Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Horta, Faial, Portugal

Having had seven beautiful, warm and calm days at sea, we were so looking forward to touring Horta, it was not to be. The Captain had warned of a low pressure forming over the Island, several days earlier. His fears came to fruition. Eight foot seas prevented us from tendering to port. I must admit, it still looked pretty calm, however, the Captain has everyones safety a priority and ultimately the final say. I took the above photos on a very cold, fifty-nine degree rain soaked and windy deck. Mother Nature, had enveloped Horta’s beauty in a dense and cloudy fog. Her early morning vanity, kept a secret. Her stunning volcanic nature erupted suddenly from the ocean floor, so tall and proud. She was bejeweled by white stucco houses, accessorized with red tiled roofs. “Land Ho,” I thought!

We are now sitting on the inside pool deck hoping to catch a glimpse of a whale or two. I would settle for a seagull about now! We are cruising at a very slow speed, our next port of call, Ponta Delgada, estimated arrival time, 8:00AM tomorrow. We are now four hours ahead of EST. Please, not to feel sorry for us, as there is so much more to come. My excitement and anticipation, still very much alive and well. Will have to return to Horta, someday, yes, someday soon! 

Maybe we will attend a magic class given by, Hilby, The Skinny German Juggle Boy, this afternoon. Beware kids, dad loves this guy! He is hysterical!!!

Horta, is the capital of Faial, Azores, Portugal. A small seaport depending on tourism, fishing and agriculture for it’s economic survival. The Azores, sounds exotic, does’t it! Not so very much for me, however. I grew up knowing that my paternal grand-parents were born in the Azores. They immigrated to the United States sometime in the early 1900’s. My father was born in 1919, fourth in line of five children. All of his siblings were born in America. 

The Azores are a Portuguese archipelago. Horta is named “the blue island” because of the large numbers of blue hydrangea that flourish there. I never knew that I had inherited my love for hydrangea, because it was already embedded in my DNA. Just kidding! I discovered these hydrangea facts, while visiting the Island of Madeira several years ago, an autonomous region of Portugal. Not part of the Azorean Chain, however. My maternal grand-parents were born in Madeira and immigrated to America in 1920. Sailing to Ellis Island on the Black Arrow. Now that sounds exotic!

All of this unbeknownst to me, back in my, New England green thumb days. I grew five different varieties of hydrangea and propagated the Nikko Blues, my very favorite. Harvesting hundreds of hydrangea every fall, some for fresh arrangements and others for drying and making wreaths. They were easy to grow and propagate, demanding very little care. Considering them always to be a Divine gift, I loved sharing them with family and friends. Blooming time late June, right into a mild November and sometimes surviving a second frost! Growing them in Florida, not possible, as they need a frost to bloom the following year.

A hearty breed, the Hydrangea be. Symbolizing the the spirit of my departed ancestors. This pilgrimage, I salute to you my Dear DAD, and all of those before you. I miss you so! 

Words of wisdom: or more commonly known as a Rosieism: A term, coined by my beautiful daughter!
“Life is like a salad bar, it’s all about your choices.”  Come on now, I’m on a cruise ship, cut me some slack! 
Lessons learned: Seasoned travelers, (meaning they’re old) have so many innovative ways to save a buck while traveling. I am truly enlightened, my fellow brethren.

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Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Nice post! Glad you are able to blog your trip as you go along. Sorry about Horta. Still,some beautiful pics of it. Hope you get to see the whales. :)

She Who Carries Camera said...

As I was reading your post, I was also imagining you sitting on a deck chair and looking out to see as you were typing it. Must be bliss, even if you couldn't go ashore!

Charlotte Wilson said...

You must have a laptop to be able to blog post from a ship. What a wonderful trip you have in store! Didn't know that you were of portugues (sp) descent. HOw interesting about the hydrangeas. I love them too.
Have a great time!

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