Back to Sao Miguel Island Day 7
I woke up early again, around 4:30am. I got up and packed my suitcase and backpack. I went down at 7:00am to get breakfast. I headed to the airport at 8:15am to return the car and get checked in. There was a line of about 8 people waiting at the car rental place booth inside the airport. The booth was not open yet, so I waited for a while. It was dragging on and on, so finally I decided to see if the back door to the booth was unlocked. The lady had come out that door to help me pick a car. It was unlocked, so I put the key on her desk by her monitor. I hope she figures it out. The people were still waiting as I was in line to check my bag. The flight seemed to be a little delayed, but we boarded finally. It was a short flight. Only 25 minutes. After landing, I got my checked back and was trying to figure out how to get to the car rental place. I was a little confused as to where I was at the terminal. In hindsight, I was thinking of the Terceira car rental place. Duh! I was outside going to get a taxi and then the phone kept ringing with the same long-distance number popping up. I finally answered it, and it turned out to be the lady from the rental place. She was waiting at the hostel to give me a ride. I told her I just landed, so she said her person would come get me. A nice gal picked me up and took me to the rental place to sign for car. After getting all that taken care of, I headed out to my first stop, Parque Natural da Ribiera dos Caldeiros. It is a park that supposedly has 3 waterfalls. I arrived there after a little drive and found it was not what I assumed. It was a paved pathway in and around in a circle. It had two waterwalls. One about 50 feet high and the other about 100 feet high. They had some water mills you could walk in and a place to eat and a souvenir shop. It was a tourist stop and not a waterfall hike, but was still nice. From there, I headed to Farol Ponta do Arnel, which is the oldest lighthouse in the Azores. It was a steep paved street all the way down to the lighthouse. You had to park at the top and walk all the way down. The lighthouse was closed, and I found a sign that showed viewing times. Next one was in 15 minutes, so I hung out and took pictures. A very nice navy guy was the guide. He is the keeper of the lighthouse and has been caring for it since 2013. Told us all about how the lighthouse started and gave a tour to the top. It was interesting. I thought about going over to the abandoned hotel, the Hotel Monte Palace. It was around 5pm and it was over an hour away. I looked it up on the internet and it was just an old building that people were not allowed to go in, but of course, a lot of people did. Although it would have cool in a creepy way to walk around the old hotel, I decided it wasn’t worth the drive. I had one more thing I didn’t do the first time I was here, and that was one of the hikes to the Salto do Cabrito Waterfall. It was 28 minutes away, so I thought I would try it. I arrived and it was a little damp due to the off and on rain. I had my sandals on and didn’t feel like switching to my Van’s and getting them all muddy. I forgot to pack my hiking shoes. So, I figured I would see how it went. It started out being a gradual incline which wasn’t bad, although muddy in places. After a while it turned into steep uphill, and then steep uphill switchbacks. At one point after slipping a little, I decided to go barefoot. I didn’t want to fall. It was a little slippery, but I figured I was about halfway according to AllTrails, so go big or go home. It was getting even steeper in places and of course, more slippery, and I came upon a sign that said Waterfall 600 meters. That meant another 656 yards or so of trying not to fall down. My gut told me it was not worth it, so I headed back down. I had to go slow due to the slip factor and not wanting to fall on my newly healed hip. After what seemed like forever, I finally made it back to the car. I headed back to turn in the car. Maps was going crazy of course and kept having me go different ways. Finally maps got it figured out and it said a little over an hour away. I was about 18 kilometers from the rental place and the lady called saying they were closing in 20 minutes at 8pm. I told her I was close and apologized for running late. She said she would wait for me. When I got into town, maps led me to the wrong place. I kept stopping Maps and restarting, but it kept bringing me to the wrong area. I called the lady and told her the problem. I could hardly understand her with the accent and phone connection. After a few phone calls back and forth, it finally came to light from the lady that I had put in the wrong rental company name. I put in the name of the one from Terceira. OMG, so, after the right directions, I finally made it to the place, gassed up at the station next door, and returned the car. She was very nice about having to wait an extra half hour. She did charge me 20 Euros for after-hour return which was fine. It was my screw up! She drove me to the hostel, and I got to my room. The guy that met me there was very nice and he offered to schedule a taxi for tomorrow morning. I was low on Euros, so I walked over to the nearby ATM and got a little bit. I took my shower and went to sleep.
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