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Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

Horsens, Denmark
Level Contributor
198 posts
6 reviews
Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

To be honest, I miss Sao Miguel - the beauty of nature, the friendly people, the atmosphere.Sao Miguel is one of few places, where I have felt comfortable.

Now, you may ask, why I am writing this ? Because I would like to know, what is going on, particularly in Ponta Delgada concerning shops, restaurants, hotels etc.? New buildings ? I hope some local people can tell me, what has happened, since I was there last time ( it was in January 2006 - stayed in Hotel Talisman ).

My husband and I hope to come back this year, hopefully in September / October - not less than two weeks !

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
234 posts
3 reviews
1. Re: Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

I completely understand how you feel about this place – I felt the same way and still do now that I live here. Of course, I’m first generation Portuguese-American so the connection was much greater but that feeling of comfort like an old pair of shoes or slipping into a worn pair of jeans – yeah I understand. And I’ve never felt that anywhere else. Even with all the problems that living here can bring that feeling never goes away.

I moved here in January of ‘08 and my last visit before that was in ‘06. A great deal has changed and is still changing and I fear that more will change in the future. The city and the island are going through some pretty major changes not all of them for the best as far as I’m concerned. Tourism is becoming a huge part of the local economy and steps are being taken to “improve” things. But the “improvements” I think are going to kill tourism here if not redirected. The new cruise ship terminal and now a casino and 5 star hotel with yet another shopping mall I think are steps in the wrong direction. The terminal brings the cruise ships and thousands of tourists but it could have been designed to blend with the city more, to reflect the culture and heritage of this place which is so fragile and so beautiful. Too much of what attracts tourism is being modernized and americanized. There used to be a great tobacconist shop in the city with wood panels and little cubbies, the place smelled of cigars and pipe tobacco – now it’s all chrome and glass and looks like any store in any mall. Just this weekend the beautifully cobblestones avenue that runs along the water’s edge here in the city was tarred over, blacktopped. Broke my heart. And the population is changing, with progress comes all the ills of modern culture. People are still friendly and welcoming but I’ve noticed that customer service which used to be unbelievable is slipping into the norm. Crime is starting to show up in some areas, home break-ins and there was even a bank robbery a few months back – stuff like this was unheard of here. Still the city is safe certainly safer than any place else I’ve ever lived but it’s starting to happen and as always it’s a slippery slope. There is more homelessness then ever before, panhandlers are becoming aggressive and desperate as people have less to give them. Charity for those less fortunate has always been an intricate part of the culture here but with the financial state of the world and the current crisis people are panicked and not as generous as they once were. I can sence the vibrations of discontent and anger in many.

It pains me to say things like this but it’s the reality of it. Still it’s a magical amazing place and the optimist in me knows that the people in charge will figure it out and focus their energies in restoration rather than modernization and that the culture will be preserved. But the other voice in my head says “get here quick before they put a McDonald’s in the Matriz.” I have a new website dedicated to information about Ponta Delgada and São Miguel – check it out. www.expatislandguide.com I’m hoping to list it here on TripAdvisor as it is the core of my tour guide and services business – currently awaiting their approval.

Sincerely hope that the information in this post doesn’t discourage you from visiting – it’s still the best place on the planet as far as I’m concerned. I would not want to call anywhere else home.

Level Contributor
1,820 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

Ola Roberto!

How are you? I just read your website and it is great!

I ate at a few of the restaurants that you suggest on your section of restaurants. The Colmeia for me was just ok. I mean yeah the food was very good but I prefer places like the Adega Nacional or Bom Appetite for much more than half the price that you spend at Colmeia. The service was impeccable and the food was good but I guess I dont even eat at those types of places in Boston where I live. Having said that, it really is a gourmet meal and worth trying. I checked my credit card bill and it was only $86 for two and I had the tasting menu that was 5 courses and my partner had an appetizer, main course, a beer and a dessert. Plus we had the couvert that included a sampling of a salmon mousse.

I am back now 2 days and I miss Sao Miguel terribly. We really had a great time. This was our second trip and we saw a lot that we saw the first time with the addition on Nordeste which is just spectacular.

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
234 posts
3 reviews
3. Re: Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

I completely agree with you - I'll take a plate of chicharros and boiled potatoes and a bottle of red on a wabbly table in a crowded diningroom over salmon mousse with truffle slivers any day. But Columeia is just one of those 5 star dining experiences that I figured I just had to list - have never eaten there frankly so I'm glad to hear that it's good and much more affordable than I would have thought.

Glad you like the site it's expanding and growing with alot more to add.

This is a beautiful place and I never want to miss it. I can't imagine not being here. I have fallen completely in love with it and I find that I'm becoming quite militant about trying to preserve it. Next time you come - and I'm sure you will - we should get together have a coffee or a beer at the Central. 'til then - Xiao

Horsens, Denmark
Level Contributor
198 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

Thank you, Roberto, for informing me about the changes in Ponta Delgada.What a pity, I had the feeling it could be so.I will not hope, that Sao Miguel will become a new Mallorca or Gran Canaria.It would annoys me.Hopefully Ponta Delgada will not be swamped by tourists.I know it sounds ambivalent, because I am tourist myself, but what I mean is, I am afraid, that the town will lose the homely atmosphere.I have not given up hope, and I am looking forward to revisit Sao Miguel.

I have been looking at your web page, and it is very interesting with many good topics.Looking forward to the extended topics.In the meantime, before I go to Sao Miguel, I will take out some topics from your web page, that I have an interest in, and dream me back to Sao Miguel !

Once more, thank you for taking you time to answer my post.It was satisfactory and informative.Obrigada.

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Fuerteventura, Istria
Level Contributor
13,716 posts
98 reviews
5. Re: Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

Hi Robert,

In your previous post you mention the new cruise ship terminal and a new 5 star hotel in Ponta Delgada. When will the new 5 star hotel open? What is name of the hotel? Thanks

6. Re: Miss Sao Miguel / Azores

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