Ami (U6DEM) shares her experiences from the Geography trip to the Azores over the half term:
Monday 30 October marked the start of the Geography trip to the Azores. Rising bright and early to be at school for 5.00 am, the group was found buzzing, in part due to excitement, but mainly from waiting in the cold before the coach arrived! Once onboard the coach, the group regained its high spirits and was ready to go through customs. We finally got on the plane to Lisbon and found the rest of the journey to the Azores to be very smooth. Upon arrival, we checked into our hotel and were delighted to stroll into gentle Ponta Delgada to get dinner. Certainly tired, we went straight to bed after this.
Our first day comprised of a visit to Furnas Valley, known for its geothermal activity. We visited the Caldera Lake Interpretation Centre and were most privileged to get a better insight to volcanoes in the Azores. We took a leisurely walk along the Furnas Lake, getting to see delightful scenery. Our second item on the agenda was to visit a botanical garden and see some of the dahlias in bloom which was unusual for this time of year - they must have known Farnborough Hill was visiting! That afternoon was spent in the Gorreana Tea Plantation. We got to try the hand picked tea and explore the gift shop. Our closing activity was seeing the oceans from the Santa Iria viewpoint.
North-West of São Miguel, we travelled to the Sete Cidades to view the twin lake located in the heart of a volcanic crater! We were most energetic when it came to seeing the thermal pools. A level students were able to experience the sulfur scent that had only been described previously in lessons. Some pupils even tried drinking the mineral water on the island to taste the iron from the surrounding rocks. The geographers were positively quaking at the excitement initiated by visiting the longest lava tunnel on São Miguel island!
Our last day was a sad one as no one wanted to leave particularly, but we started the day off in Lagos Do Fogo, seeing the highest crater on the island and getting to enjoy beautiful views and learn about the history of the area. We then went to the Caldeira Velha hot springs to see some more of the volcano’s creations on the island. Lastly, we went to a pineapple plantation and tried the local pineapple jam and fruits as well as learning about the way they grow.
We started our journey home at about 4.00 am, so were rather tired when leaving. After checking in luggage, our sleep deprived members took refuge on the floor of the airport, and, after our departure from Lisbon to London was delayed, we finally boarded and were able to return home. We are all extremely grateful for the opportunities we had in the Azores and incredible geography we were exposed to whilst out there, and thankful to the members of staff that made this happen.