Day 11 – Don't look away!
Thursday, 29th June
Do you know this? You look somewhere and know that something is missing. You looked away for a moment and in that time someone took something away.
That's what happened to me yesterday morning. Admittedly, I had looked away for a little longer. A whole night, to be exact. But a whole mountain was missing. So I looked out of the window in the morning and - Pico was gone.
Who goes to so much trouble to tease tourists? After all, Pico is the highest mountain in Portugal. Jokers!
Timo and Matthias are two people who like to move around a lot. Probably the disappearance of Pico had caused them to panic that mountain after mountain would disappear in the following days. Even if I had the same fear, I would remain calm. There are so many mountains around here that I wouldn't worry for a few decades.
The two of them wanted to go to the beach. In their eagerness to move, they set off and took the direct route over Monte Queimado. I wanted to point out to them that there was also a path without a difference in altitude, but I was too slow. Due to their previous experiences in Lisbon, this possibility did not even occur to them.
Light-footed, they strode up the mountain. I panted behind. To concentrate less on my situation, I observed my surroundings. A seagull let itself be carried upwards by the updraft. But the manoeuvre didn't look really safe. It trundled a little, but seemed to enjoy it. So there are adrenaline junkies in seagull circles too. A whole herb garden of nasturtium, mint and dill grew by the side of the path. Quite extravagant. I wondered who climbs up here to harvest all this.
At the summit, I notice that Timo and Matthias were already down. To be fair, they weren't sitting in a café, munching their way through the menu. Timo was looking intently in the direction where the Pico had been the night before. So he had noticed it too.
When I arrived downstairs, we went on to the beach. Black sand drifted across the ground in little clouds. I didn't think of anything bad, but enjoyed walking on the soft ground. Back on the road, I realised that the clouds were not there to pass the time. A large part of them had accumulated in my shoe. It was probably too troublesome for the sand to cover the path itself. Since I was obviously going in the direction he wanted, he took it for granted that I wouldn't mind carrying him there. But I minded and I was annoyed because he did not voluntarily leave my shoes.
While I was dumping the sand next to the beach as punishment, Matthias spotted Monte da Guia, another mountain that had previously been hidden by Monte Queimado. He suggested we climb it. Three is a tricky number in voting. I pointed out minority rights. They replied that I was of course free to wait at the bottom.
On this mountain, chance came to my rescue. Someone had cleverly erected a fence quite a way below the summit so that it was impossible to climb any further. I remarked that on this mountain there would also have been the possibility of going up by car. What am I talking about?
As I recovered from the hike, I did a little research. We were on Faial, the fifth largest island in the Azores, according to Wikipedia. There are nine main islands. Wait, after Pico disappeared, Faial is now the fourth largest island. I really need to write a new Wikipedia entry.