Azores - São Miguel

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Nordeste – Trip to the Ribeira do Guilherme

When driving from Lomba da Fazenda towards Nordeste, you will cross the Ribeira do Guilherme on a modern bridge just before reaching Nordeste. What many people don’t know is that, right at this moment, they are missing out on a couple of really impressive sights. We will present some of them here, so that you will not be one of these people.

Bridge across the Ribeira do Guilherme

Technically, you have already reached the first sight once you can see the bridge itself. You can park straight after crossing the bridge on the right. After the descent, the path leads you down below the new bridge, under which is hidden the old one, which we drove across during our first trip to the Azores.

Old and new bridge across the Ribeira do Guilherme.
Old and new bridge across the Ribeira do Guilherme.

If you explore the island’s coastline along the old route (EN 1-1), you will know the crossings over the rivers and valleys and how narrow they can be at times. For this reason, the journey from Ponta Delgada to Nordeste used to take significantly more than two hours, compared to the one hour it takes today. Nevertheless, the bridges, which are often overgrown, are worth seeing.


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O Forno do Cal

A little above the street you can find the next sight. It is a limekiln which was built in 1906 and restored in 2014. The size of the oven means that you can go inside it and have a look at it from the inside.

Entrance into the Forno da Cal
Entrance into the Forno da Cal

The Forno do Cal was used to bake maritime limestone from Santa Maria, the Azores’ only limestone storage. Nowadays, nature has begun to reclaim the oven.

View from the bottom of the Forno da Cal
View from the bottom of the Forno da Cal

It is now pretty overgrown, fitting in well with the rest of nature.

Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme

From the limekiln, you can walk under the bridge and reach the gate to the small but very nicely arranged botanical garden.

Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme
Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme

The various plants blossoming here is many different colours are only one exciting part of the garden.

Apart from enjoying the plants, you can also relax by a small artificial waterfall.

Waterfall in the Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme
Waterfall in the Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme

At the very end of the garden there are some tables and benches for you to sit down and enjoy your lunch. There is also a typical old mill right next to them.

Old mill in the Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme.
Old mill in the Jardim da Ribeira do Guilherme.

Along the Ribeira do Guilherme

If, instead of following the path by the limekiln to the botanical garden, you walk the opposite way along the river, you will find another opportunity to enjoy the calm and quiet of nature. The path is not much longer than 200m, but definitely still worth exploring, as you may see from the pictures below.

Bird by the Ribeira do Guilherme
Bird by the Ribeira do Guilherme

Of course it depends on taste, but I think that even a simple littlebell can be exceptionally beautiful.

Littlebell by the Ribeira do Guilherme
Littlebell by the Ribeira do Guilherme

… and another mill

Via Lomba da Fazenda, you will reach the next mill by the Ribeira do Guilherme. Please drive along this road leading to the mill carefully. It is very steep, even if not as steep as the paths by the Farol do Arnel or the Salto da Farinha. Still, drive down deep into the green river valley.

Riverbed of the Ribeira do Guilherme
Riverbed of the Ribeira do Guilherme

At the end of the path, there is more than enough space to park and turn. When you reach the bottom of the path, you can find the mill on the opposite riverbank, which you can reach via a small bridge.

Bridge across the Ribeira do Guilherme
Bridge across the Ribeira do Guilherme

Once you arrive at the mill itself, you will be able to see how the water was fed in and directed to. Even the millstones can still be found in a building by the mill.

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