São Miguel Island: Parque Terra Nostra in Furnas
Located in the heart of Furnas, this park is one of the biggest tourist attraction in this part of the island. It was originally founded by Thomas Hickling, the American Vice-Consul to the Azores. In 1780 he built a simple summer house and had trees from his own country planted around it. The estate was acquired by the noble da Praia family who enlarged the park and laid it out in the style of an English garden.
In the 1930s the Bensaude family took over the estate and built the Hotel Terra Nostra. I strongly recommend that hotel. They extended the park to its present 30 acres and opened it to the public. (Andreas Stieglitz, Landscapes of the Azores, a Countryside Guide)
Thanks to the warm and humid climate, splendid fern trees, camellias, palm ferns and many other exotic plants from around the world flourish here.
I find these fern trees extremely impressive and exotic, as if from the Jurassic era.
You can find these white flowers everywhere on the island.
One of the attractions in the park is this thermal swimming pool with naturally warm and yellow water. We enjoy spending some time in this pool everyday!
I will end this post with some local products:
The Queijadas da Vila are recommended by Alda as an excellent local treat. Alda, you are right, they are delicious. They come originally from Vila Franca da Compo. This flower is for you my dear friend: