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.
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.
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.
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.
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. .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dOBOxQC-oA
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.
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.
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.