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My day trip to Furnas was foggier and wetter than expected but that didn’t stop my friend and I from enjoying its charms. Having abandoned our original idea of walking around the lake we found other things to appreciate despite the rain.
As we entered the lakeside car park, we could see steam rising from the mossy rocks around us. Clouds of stinky vapor lay ahead at the sulfur pools that plopped and splatted bubbles of hot air from deep underground.
Furnas locals have been taking advantage of this heat for many a year and each community and several restaurants have a designated spot where they have carved out a chamber for cooking in the ground.
We watched a couple of men remove the mound of earth that was covering the cooking pit. They then flipped off the lid and used long poles to hook the handles of the cooking pot and bring it to the surface. Inside was the cozido, a traditional meat and vegetable casserole/stew, destined for a local restaurant. There is also a food truck by the side of the lake where you can buy a small serving for about €3.
As well as providing natural cooking facilities, the heated water makes outdoor bathing an option whatever the weather. Since it was still raining that was good news for us and we headed for the beautiful Poças Dona Beija complex. As with most places in this part of São Miguel Island, bright flowers and lush tropical vegetation surround this series of caramel colored thermal pools.
Sitting in warm water with cool rain landing gently on my face, I couldn’t have been much happier.
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