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Posted on March 26, 2019
Janet has sent us this lovely report from her seventh trip to Quinta da Terça in November 2018.
My friends and I had another super holiday at the Quinta da Terça from 5 to 12 November. This was our seventh visit to the Quinta where we always receive such a warm welcome from Christina & Claude and their team. We are looked after so well, and all our needs catered for. We had mixed weather which was to be expected at that time of year, so we were glad we had packed our waterproof clothing! But the showers passed over quickly and we soon dried off. After the first day we had much better weather. The Quinta was converted from the buildings which adjoin the 17th century Manor House. The accommodation is comfortable, with en suite shower rooms and a lounge. There are facilities in the breakfast/dining room to make your own tea (from a very wide variety of teas) and coffee 24 hours a day. The food and wine are really delicious and there is a range of alcoholic drinks, various liqueurs etc with an honesty box if you feel like more after your meal.
The horses are mainly pure bred Lusitanos, Lusitano part breds or Cuzado Portugues. To improve the horses and ponies on the islands the Portuguese Government sent top class Lusitano stallions over for the island farmers to use on their animals. The result is that most of the horses and ponies at the Quinta have very well bred sires. There is a file in the chapel/lounge which has a photo and history of most of the horses where you find a range from those that have competed successfully in dressage competitions to family, pets or farm horses. Quite a few have been rescued as the horses and ponies on the islands have become redundant due to the increase in the number of tractors and vehicle now used. In spite of the treatment and neglect they have previously received they all have wonderful temperaments. There are a range of horses & ponies to suit all riders.
All the Quinta’s vehicles were in the garage being repaired so they had a rental car to transport us around the island. The replacement horsebox was a lorry with two cranes one at either end and a body with a metal mesh crate. The partitions from the Quinta’s horsebox had been transferred and fixed into this body. The horses were loaded into the crate whilst it was on the ground and then the crate was lifted onto the lorry. The horses were quite happy and not bothered at all.
Our holiday started as normal with a lesson in the picadeiro so that Christina can make sure horse and rider are compatible. We rode on some old friends and also made some new ones. We went on our first ride that afternoon which started from Remedios and we rode along the tracks and over the fields that undulated on the flanks of the Setes Cidades Massif. We did have some very heavy showers whilst there!
Our first full day ride along the south coast from Relva to Varzia back in April coincided with an Azorean Public Holiday and three cruise liners visiting Ponta Delgada. We had never seen the tracks so busy with walkers, runners and a variety of different methods of transport. This time is was back to normal with only the occasional farmer. We had always admired an old small estate at the side of the track on the cliff top which was abandoned and neglected. This time it was a hive of activity as the buildings were being ‘converted’ into a hotel. We hope they do not spoil the attractive architecture of the house. We did do some roadwork on this ride through some villages along the coast. We stopped at a picnic site for our lunch whilst the horses were tethered to have their midday feed and a drink of water. The island has plenty of picnic sites complete with tables and bar-b-q. There are so many tracks on the island that although we know some of the rides they do vary them and use different tracks.
The rides are over a variety of terrains from tracks between fields bounded by the typical Azorean stone walls or hedges of naturalised type of bamboo. We had a lovely full day ride along the crater rim at Setes Cidades with a steep descent to the lakes below. Ending the morning with one of the Quinta’s special picnics by the lakeside brought to us by Claude DeLaval. After relaxing by the lakeside we had an afternoon ride around the lakes with some lovely canters.
This trip on the full day rides Claude bought the picnics to us accompanied by his cat – Catoman. On the full day rides we had lovely picnics with quiches or pasta dishes or meat with bread rolls, salad, plenty of fruit, cheese, pastries, chocolate/fruit bars and a range of drinks.
On the half day ride on the North Coast, near Ribeira Grande we started on the cliff top and made our way up onto the top of the hills and through farm land.
The island is so beautiful with such a wide variety of flowers, plants and trees. The hydrangeas had nearly finished flowering on this visit. They have such large flower heads and grow along the roadsides together with agapanthus, belladonna Lilies, African Lily. azaleas, hedges of Camelia, Hibiscus and many others. Flowers that we have to nurture carefully at home grow wild on the roadside verges or fields.
We visited a tea factory and having bought tea there on previous trips we bought quite a few packets of different types of tea, not only for our own consumption but also as gifts. We also visited a chocolate factory shop and another factory making jams and pickles from fruit and vegetables grown on the island. There is always somewhere different for us to visit on each trip.
We went to the famous Terra Nostra botanical gardens which has a large thermal pool. We did go swimming on this trip and they had built a couple of smaller pools in addition to the original very large one. There is a legend that if you bathe in the pool you come out looking years younger – we must go back again as it does not seemed to have had an effect on us yet!
Thank you Janet – for this lovely report from your holiday. We love hearing all about it and looking at the photos you take each time.
If you are interested in this holiday, there is more information here.