During the week, everything is hospital based, we call it going to work as if it were a job. Although AP setup the internships, in reality it is all individually arranged with the doctors and professionals we are shadowing and their schedules. The weekend, however, is dominated by events in order to ensure a well-rounded experience in São Miguel.
This weekend our coordinator, Daniel (also a tour guide on the side), took up up around the coast of the island to visit and see some scenic views of the coastline. We made a pitstop at Santa Iria for a great northern coast view (see picture). After the quick photo shoot, we headed to furnas. Furnas are naturally occurring hot springs and mineral waters. The beautiful lake is pictured below. We hiked through the jungle (quite literally) to reach the lake. I feel very lucky because São Miguel has an incredible amount of hydrangeas of a very blue color while also being the “Green Island” of the archipelago, which makes a beautiful contrast. After our hike we went to a local hot spring and went for a very relaxing swim. Unfortunately the water had high sulfur levels and my bathing suit is now a slightly orange color, but I digress. Anyway, I left the bath feeling very relaxed, which is an achievement since I normally find it difficult to relax. After the hot springs we went to a restaurant where they served us food cooked on the steam of the hot springs. It took 5 hours to cook. Delicious.
After visiting a beach, we went home, gladly, exhausted after a long day. That night we went to Vila Franca a neighboring town and saw a cultural festival. Funny enough, I had an amazing hot dog. Imagine the smallest shoestring french fries or mini french fries that taste like chips. I had a hot dog with those, mayo, olives, and maybe something else, I am not quite sure, but it was delicious. Note to self, Azoreans know what condiments truly belong on a hot dog.
Today, Sunday, we went to a church festival where they had many riding horses that were decorated in festive gear. It was really more of a parade, but the horses were confined to too small of a space for too long so they just seemed restless. Afterwards we went to a small waterfall in an area surrounded by hydrangeas. It was next to the beach so we were able to hike a bit and then lay on the sand. Tomorrow starts another day of work in the pediatric department. I just hope to go to bed early so I have energy for tomorrow and the week ahead!
São Miguel fun fact: People randomly shoot off fireworks on Sunday for the holy day, but they just sound like explosions.