To us at RoarLoud, adventure isn’t about doing things that are risky. It just seems that way sometimes 😉 Actually adventure to us is about experiencing the world around us. It is about indulging your curious nature, and maybe discovering a hidden gem in the most unlikeliest of places. The hidden gem on our journey to the Azores, came near the end of our trip. We had already been on a mountain biking tour, went whale watching, tried to swim with dolphins, climbed a volcano, and explored an abandoned hotel. So nothing could fit in with that more than going on a tour of tea factory, right? After reading that, you probably had the same reaction I did the first time I heard Tea Tour…”Umm, tea? Really?” Cathy’s enthusiasm for going on an adventure of any kind is infectious. It is one of the things I love most about her, and the reason of how we found adventure in a cup of tea.
What exactly is the Tea Tour?
Enthusiasm aside, the tea factory was actually a tour offered by Futurismo – a tour company that offers a variety of things to experience on the Azores big island of Sao Miguel. First off we went to some of the scenic spots of Sao Miguel. Honestly it is nearly impossible to go any location in Azores that doesn’t have an amazing view. In this case, the tea factory is located in the mountains of Sao Miguel. We stopped at a few choice spots that have some of the best views on the island. The volcanic rich soil makes a lush landscape that will have you taking tons of pictures.
The next stop of the tea factory itself. The rolling fields cascading down the mountain were an amazing sight to see. The smells in and around the factory were rich and intoxicating.
It also made this coffee drinker actually crave a cup of tea. The tour took us into the factory through museum like displays retelling the factory history. We also were treated to samples of tea being produced. Of course tea goes best with some kind of pastry, thankfully there is a gift shop and bakery. I don’t think it is possible to get a bad pastry in the Azores. I think it is some kind of law, because this place had delicious pastries to go with our tea.
Want more on the Azores? See why we fell in love with the Azores
Things Get Hot in the Azores
Our tour didn’t end there, no we had more to see. This time we were headed to see Caldeiras das Furnas, The Furnas Volcano on the eastern tip of Sao Miguel, has a network of calderas (craters).
Local restaurants use these calderas to cook many dishes including “Cozido”, a stew made with different meats and vegetables. We arrived just in time to see workers lifting large pots out of the ground filled with our lunch. Our tour continued to the town of Furnas where we toured the many calderas, then had our family style lunch.
Something about a meal cooked by volcano that just seems to add a lot of excitement to the meal.
Gardens and Thermal Spas
Following our lunch, our tour went to the most intriguing part of the journey…Terra Nostra Botanical Park. Built in 1780, this botanical garden is one of the oldest and largest in the world (the size of 4 football fields). Thermal spas built using the volcanic heated water dot the gardens landscape including a giant thermal water pool that have mineral rich waters that are said to improve health.
The gardens were incredible, we need to go back to truly explore them more!
We couldn’t wait to try the spas. They were so relaxing. There were even spas little grottoes lined with beautiful flora. It was the perfect way to end the day. Even better, we were staying at the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel which is adjacent the botanical park. We cleaned up, had a delicious dinner, checked out the hotel’s luxurious indoor pool.
It was really nice, but nothing compares to those thermal spas, so we put on some robes and strolled back over to the garden. Hotel guests can visit the garden after hours, which is amazing treat having a more private soak.
Despite having some reservations about what kind of adventure a tea factory tour would be, I have to admit it was way more exciting a day than I would have ever imagined. RoarLoud believes you can find adventure anywhere, and this day certainly proved it. Who would have thought a day billed as a “Tea Factory Tour” would be so fun and truly our hidden gem of a good time?
Thank you to Futurismo Azore Adventures for providing us with these tours. As always our opinions are honest and our own. We highly recommend Futurismo for tours, every tour guide was not only knowledgeable but exceptionally personable.
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