Terciera island, in the Azores, was beautiful. Stunning coastline – ranging from sandy beaches to dramatic cliffs, turquoise water, charming Portuguese towns, fields of cows separated by dry stone walls everywhere. The first day we were there I had to do some maintenance on the plane, but in the evening we drove around the coast to the main town of Angra do Heroísmo, which was charming with steep, narrow, cobbled streets, colorful houses and a beautiful ocean bay. Food on Terciera, being Portuguese was delicious.
The second day we had a science meeting in the afternoon, to discuss preliminary data from the mission so far. In the morning I took off we another colleague driving around the coast in the opposite direction to see what we could see. All the little towns and villages we drove through were charming. Each had a beautiful church, and the characteristic white buildings with brightly colors stone around the windows and terracotta roofs. Every inch of space that could be used for farming housed a cow or a goat, normally kept in by dry stone walls.
We took a walk down past some stunning cliffs to a rock coastline, where it looked like the cliffs were made of basalt and there were sea birds living in them. We found a beautiful forested nature reserve with a carpet of moss and brightly colored flowers and trees, and lastly we stopped at a town on the coast with a fishing port. We spied a small restaurant overlooking the fishing port with a balcony in the sun and made a beeline for it. We were quickly given crust, fresh bread with fresh cheese and then brought inside to see the newly caught fish and select our lunch. Red snapper is a local specialty, and it was delicious.
Take off to Thule, Greenland was very early, but our little hotel in the town of Praia da Vitória, near the airport were kind enough to put out breakfast for us at 430am. Terciera had given us enough beauty, sunshine and good food to recover a bit from the accumulated jet lag and head off boldly up to the arctic.