We began our Faial excursions on foot, venturing into the local marketplace in the city of Horta. We found a small exhibition in the lobby of the tourist information center and admired the work of several local painters. We browsed two shops specializing in Azores products from the “triangle” islands group of Pico, Faial, and Sao Jorge; wines, cheeses, beer, canned tuna, meats, and produce. We made note of the locations of the butcher, bakery, gelato, locals’ cafe, and pizza take-away. Of course we located the hardware store, marine store, and MEO (data provider) store for all things essential. There was a sports complex on the east side of the city; small beach, indoor pool, basketball court, soccer field, playground, and shaded trails ’round picnic tables and grills. It seemed like we’d really moved in! So we ventured a bit further on foot to see what else we could find before wheels became necessary to access Faial’s highlights.
On the south end of town, passing Peter’s Cafe Sport without a G&T to slow us down, we walked a well maintained trail from Porto Pim up, around Monte de Guia for great views of Horta’s harbor and of the Caldeira do Inferno.
In the view over Porto Pim, you can see several buildings. The large, white building complex to the left of the photo is an old whaling factory. The factory began operation in 1943 and continued to produce sperm whale oil and bonemeal until 1974. It has been renovated, and now used for cultural and educational purposes. The smaller, white and yellow buildings to the right of the photo were the previous home of the Dabney family, settled in 1806. John Bass Dabney was the appointed Consul General of the United States to the Azores, and his family was originally from Boston, Mass. The Dabney residence is now a museum. Above the Dabney house, you can see a restored vineyard on the hillside and a small church atop Monte de Guia.
A rental scooter (€25/day) provided our transportation for a self-guided island tour.