Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Week in Azores...

There are beautiful places, there are amazing places, there are places with fantastic food, there are places with welcoming people... but there are rare gems that have it all and Azores is one of those places!

From Toronto, there is a very convenient service, direct flights operated by Azores Airlines (previously known as SATA). The flight takes only about 5 hours, which is great when you are traveling with smaller family members who are anxious to get out and explore... the fellow passengers' patience limit.

The prices of the flight, accommodation, food, and drinks are more than reasonable! One thing I would recommend is to definitely rent a vehicle - even though the island is small, you will be able to see and experience more if you have a means of transportation.

As for the itinerary itself, we have decided to take it slow on the day of arrival and simply wandered through Ponta Delgada.

For the following 5 days, we have followed the absolutely excellent "Ultimate 5 Day Itinerary in São Miguel Island, the Azores" (link:, and the remaining days we spent in Ponta Delgada minus "Swimming with Dolphins and Whale-Watching"...

A few tips:

  • Rent a car! and don't take shortcuts through a gravel/mud road and check and doublecheck where GPS takes you. That is especially important during or after a rainy day!

  • In Furnas, I would definitely recommend trying Cozido das Furnas in Terra Nostra Garden Hotel. The guide (link above) recommend a few other places, BUT... even though Terra Nostra Garden Hotel is only 2-3 EURO more expensive, the restaurant itself is by far better and it gives you free parking and free access to the Terra Nostra park and the thermal pool (8 EURO).

  • Unless you are cooking yourself, it is highly recommended to book restaurants ahead of time. Even in slow season, the popular restaurants are filling in quick! In Ponta Delgada, I can recommend the following: A Tasca, Taberna Açor, Casa da Rosa and Armazéns Cogumbreiro (breakfast and light lunch). Try to work in a lunch Lagoa Azul when exploring Sete Cidades.

  • If you see a thermal hot pool, stop, park and relax for an hour or two...

  • ... and the most important tip: DON'T RUSH AND ENJOY THE ISLAND!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

... and Another Phase of Renovation Has Been Completed!

This year, we have focused our attention on the ground floor, namely the (my) office, dining room and the entrance hallway (which included the staircase and the hallway on the second floor). The staircase was the most time consuming as it required restoration of the original wood and carvings, as well as original baseboards. Here is the end result:

Entrance and the Staircase

Dining Room:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Easy Ciabatta Recipe

Oh, the smell of fresh bread! It is simply irresistible! Today, I will share with you a very quick and easy Ciabatta recipe I have tried (and perfected) over the weekend...
  • Warm Water (100-110F) - 2 cups
  • Sugar - 3 tbsp (or slightly less, if the bread is too sweet)
  • Salt - 2 tsp (or more, if you prefer the bread more savory)
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Flour - 4 cups
  • Dry Yeast - 1 3/8 tsp
1. Place all the ingredients (in order) listed above in a mixer (or bread machine) and let it knead for approximately 5 minutes. If using an automated bread machine, simply select "dough" option and skip to step 3.
2. Let the dough stand for approximately one (1) hour in a warm place, covered with a wet towel. Resist the urge to lift the towel, as it will dry (and chill) the air.
3. Divide the dough into two halves and shape it as desired. Slightly dust with flour and let it stand for additional 15-20 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
4. Preheat the oven to 425F, and bake the bread on a middle rack for 25-30 minutes. During the first 5-10 minutes, moist the top of the bread (with a water bottle or simply sprinkle with your hand) to let it rise to its full potential and to have the delicious golden crust.
Enjoy the freshly baked bread responsibly!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Renovation is going strong...

It is a second year we are renovating our house. So far, we have completely remodeled the kitchen (including excavating the ground beneath it, rebuilding foundation and the floors) and a washroom on the ground floor. Here are a "make over" of our kitchen: