Libraries Round the World: On a Mid-Atlantic Island

While on a short visit in the Azores island archipelago last month, I spotted several libraries. The Azores (Açores in Portuguese) consists of a group of nine volcanic islands surrounded by the vast blue, azure Atlantic Ocean. The Azores is part of Portugal. 

An island view from over the wing
A view of the main island with Ponta Delgada on southwest coast

The Public Library and Archives of Ponta Delgada (the capital of the archipelago on the island of São Miguel) dates back to 1841. The public lending library is next to a former Jesuit College now the Convento dos Gracianos church and a museum.

The library on the left with the historic church on the right
A close up of the library
Inside the library was a mix of old wooden beam ceilings and new add-ons
And the super sleuth found this nice old library, but closed to visitors during the summer

Many tourists flock to the hills and land outside the main city for the spectacular scenery, but it is often fogged in. The islands are located directly west of Spain and Portugal.  

Scenic foggy view of a volcanic lake

Our favorite part of the visit was the whale-watching trip on a ship named Moby Dick. We saw what seemed like hundreds of dolphins, but they may have just choreographed it well like extras in a movie. 

Our fabulous Moby Dick tour boat with an inter-island ferry in the background

The highlight after hours of searching was seeing a real Moby Dick, aka sperm whale. I happened to catch on video when one of the whales blew some air out its blowhole or spout, which is now on my YouTube channel. (Link below to short 1 minute video.) Luckily, commercial whaling ended here in the 1970s. .

Dolphins are so hard to photograph – you have a second before they disappear!

We happened to hear a funny story. Christopher Columbus stopped here on the way back to Europe after discovering you know what after the Vikings. He had vowed to pray and thank Mother Mary upon his first sighting of land. But the locals arrested him after mistaking him for a pirate! Whether or not he pillaged any goods from the Azores wasn’t mentioned.

The rugged coastline Columbus might have seen, without the modern houses

Delta Airlines has seasonal summertime nonstop flights from JFK to Ponta Delgada, the closest European destination from the U.S. The nine islands are spread out over 400 miles of water, with mountains and deep volcanic lakes. Most of the volcanos are dormant, and the archipelago is part of Portugal. The other eight islands can be visited by plane or ship.

Goodbye Azores!

Hope you enjoyed this traveling library blog! Karen Stensgaard is the author of two novels which didn’t include a visit to the Azores or any whales, but they both involve ships and a vital sprinkling of travel wanderlust.

Me & my babies.

2 thoughts on “Libraries Round the World: On a Mid-Atlantic Island

  1. Hi Don – couldn’t get the links to work, but I have seen some of their articles on this. Won’t make all of them but would be fun to try! They each have a special story all their own.


  2. Oh, heck yeah! Back atcha! [] Enchanting pictures of beautiful libraries around the world From monasteries to royal reading rooms, get lost within these majestic libraries.

    Keep clicking ‘next.’ Don Mathis



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