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"A trip to Azores cannot be bought in a readymade package and requires individual planning and initiative."
- John Koivurinta

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Finland

Tranquility in the Atlantic Ocean
by John Koivurinta, Sibbo, Finland
Apr 9, 2000

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Azores

Away from tourist crowds!

After travelling to very popular vacation destinations for over 50 years I started searching for a yet-unspoiled place in Europe within reasonable reach by air from Scandinavia. At many popular vacation resorts tourists are kept away from the locals even by fences. The contact between local people and tourists has suffered. You as a tourist are treated as a moneymaking object and the traps have become more and more sophisticated. I got fed up with this.

When travelling always in wintertime the weather conditions at our desired destination should be warm enough to please us Nordic people, who have enough cold and chilly weather at home most of the year.

Finally I found my choice in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - The Azores!

The group of nine islands is situated off the Portuguese coast about 1.500 km, equal to a 2,5 hour's flight.

So far I have explored only 2 of the islands - São Miguel and Santa Maria in November -99. Hopefully within near future I am able to see a few more, Faial, Pico and São Jorge.

What appeals me most in Azores and what makes the islands so special?

A trip to Azores cannot be bought in a readymade package and requires individual planning and initiative. Regular charter flights from continental Europe does not exist and not granted by the local authorities. A wise policy! In return you get unspoiled nature, meet kind people and enjoy the big ocean that is present everywhere. It is an eldorado for photographers and everybody who likes nature. The flora is fantastic! Many plants that mostly grow closer to the tropics are common here. The soil and humidity is perfect. Grapes for local vine and the only tea producing country in Europe. Fauna is mainly maritime.

If you are lucky you can spot dolphins close to the coast and a little further out even whales. There are ideal paths for mountain walks and you find natural pools with warm water to take a refreshing dip. The beaches are fabulous, clear waters and no crowds. Regular bus service exist and taxies are not too expensive as the distances are short from one end of the island to the other.To explore all the hidden treasures the best way is to hire a car or motorbike. No traffic-jams and good driving culture.

I realize this is not an ideal destination to anyone - God forbid - but I recommend warmly a visit to the Azores for those who have seen many countries in the world. This could also be your favorite destination!

For suggestions and questions email john@koivurinta.com

Check out John's own website http://www.koivurinta.com

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