Day 10: The volcano does the hard work

When we were at Furnas last time, we heard about a meal being prepared inside a hole in an area with fumaroles. And we even got to see such a meal being inserted in such a hole, and one being lifted out from a hole while at Lagoa Furnas.

So yesterday we made reservations for a lunch at Tony’s Restaurant at Furnas to eat said dish: aptly called Cozido na Caldeira. Cooked in a Cauldeira. So descriptive!

The dish is actually quite easy: take a huge aluminium pot, and stuff it in alternating layers with meat (Chicken, Pork, Beef, Blackpudding, Chorizo) and vegetables (white and green cabbage, regular and sweet potatoes, yams and carrots), seal it properly and stick it in a hole in the volcano for about 7 hours. What comes out is a stew which smells like and even tastes like a fumarole.

Yes, that is just plain odd. And arguably not quite as sensational as it sounded beforehand. But still, it is good food for a reasonable price (€10 p.p.) and the place is completely packed at every service. So if you want to go there, make a reservation as that is the only way to get in. And you probably should, as this stew is unlike we’ve ever eaten.

Before and after lunch, we visited several viewpoints and even walked around in the town a little bit as we didn’t get to do that last time we were here. Furnas is a great little place, and then you realise they’ve actually built an entire village INSIDE the crater of a relatively young volcano. But nobody seems to mind it, so you just act normal as anyone does around here.

Day 4: Volcanoes!

Instead of the promised good weather we were greeted today with what can only be described as torrential downpour, so we had to run to breakfast again. That’s a nice start to our day!

We wanted to go to Furnas to see the islands volcanos activity, but that will need to wait for this weather to clear a bit. And it did, so around 11, off we went.

Furnas is about 35 minutes drive from where we stay, which is not really surprising, as São Miguel is about 65km in length and 16km wide and we are situated in the north right about in the middle of the island (lengthwise). If it is on the north side of the island, it will be maximum 45 minutes by car. Totally splendid!

The city of Furnas is situated in the center of an old crater and still has some fumaroles which can be seen in the city park. There even is a parking nearby, so everything is catered to us tourists. 😉

The crater also has a lake, aptly called Lagoa das Furnas, and there are even more fumaroles over there. The city is famous for a dish called Cozido das Furnas, which typically s a stew prepared in a closed pot in a volcanic ‘oven’ in the ground. The heat and steam from the fumaroles is cooking the stew which takes about 7 hours, but they say it tastes the best! If you’ve ever smelled what a volcano smells like, this seems highly doubtful.

As the walls of the crater are still pretty high, and so we visited Miradouro do Pico do Ferro which provides the best view of the Lagoa and the city of Furnas.

On the way back to our apartment, we found several small signs pointing to Porto Formosa, and seemed to indicate there would be a beach. As the weather not only cleared but actually became really nice, we decided that was the place to end our day. This turned out to be the best decision yet, as we ended up at a lovely beach called Praia dos Moinhos, where we relaxed on the terrace of the Café.

As the low clouds all had gone, we decided it was time to see the other high viewpoint on this side of the island, looking out over Lagoa do Fogo. We tried to see it once before, but were met with a thick layer of fog halfway up the mountain, so we turned back. But not this time: excellent views were to be seen and our timing was the best!