Two weeks ago, I was in Azores, more precisely on the island of San Miguel, known as 'The Green Island'.
I would like to introduce you Terra Nostra,
a bicentennial botanical park, but before doing it, let me show you a bit of the scenery of the island..
Owing to the absence of pollution, the landscape takes on unique shades and colours.
An abundance of flowers which include hydrangeas, rhododendron, camellias etc., as well as tropical fruits such as the pineapple, pastures, and crops such as tea, give the island a rare botanical variety.
Quality timber, much of which is indigenous like the Japanese cedar
Now that you have got - I hope - a rough and general idea about the island, let me tell you a bit of the history of the bicentennial botanical park Terra Nostra, which dates back to 1780, when the Boston-born merchant Thomas Hicling, then US Consul in the island, had his summer residence built on this luxurious location.
In 1848, a Portuguese nobleman purchased the property. The garden was enlarged and laid out in grand style, with water, dark groves of trees and flowers. A significant number of today's impressive trees date back from that period, some of which were shipped from as far as North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa.
The Park that is artistically landscaped and very well kept, displays a several flora specimens, out of which it's worth mentioning a collection of 600 specimens of camellia that covers an extensive area in the middle of palm trees, and so do ferns.
For those who like the idea of a swim in warm mineral water for therapeutic relief, the Park offers a highlight: a thermal spa with a huge pool - 5 feet deep - of a murky looking. The water, with temperatures between 35ºC and 40ºC (95º and 104ºF), comes from a hot spring. It is said that it is quite rejuvenating to soak in that pool. I didn't try but I saw many foreign tourists doing it. From their faces, I believe they were having fun.
Hope you enjoy the slide-show below that starts with some images taken on the way from the city to the Park.