Excellent Adventures: Azores with Any Ha

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Bom dia! My friends call me Any. Ideally, you'll find me by the ocean eating potato chips. I paint on canvas like my two year old niece would. I take photographs occasionally. Found my joy of photography in the darkroom during secondary school, big fan of grain, underexposure and cold baths. 

Where did you go? What inspired you to travel there?

I started off in the Azores, specifically Terceira, my childhood best friend was getting married there. From here, I ended up doing a few other parts of Portugal (in order): Lisboa, Algarve, Sintra, Porto, Ericeira, Nazaré, Madeira and ended in the Azores on Sao Miguel. I was inspired by the ocean, the waves were calling for me to travel to her.

What was the biggest highlight of your trip? How did you get there what did you do?

The Portuguese people were the highlight. They are kind, open-minded and gave me humility to behave in the same respect. Other standouts of my trip were less so the destination but more the internalization of arbitrary tensions and self-meaningful conflicts one may tackle while travelling... i.e. what the hell am I doing here. On a less serious note, highlight destinations include the Zona Balnears (natural pools) in the Azores, incredible views in Madeira, the surf town Ericeira (50min drive from Lisbon) and the tourist nightlife of Lagos in the Algarve (you'll hate it or love it). 

How would you describe the atmosphere of the Azores vs mainland Portugal? Which did you like more?

Azores is like a village on island time, while mainland in cities like Lisbon and Porto, feels very much like the romanticized European way of living we all love to imagine. Experiences will vary depending where on mainland Portugal you are. If I could have it my way, I'd live on the islands shirtless 90% of the time and visit the cities on the mainland (still shirtless) whenever I wanted to entertain my friends. 

What was the most memorable meal you had on the entire vacation? Any recommendations?

Seared tuna steak at Tasca Das Tias in Terceira was my most memorable, even at seven g & t's deep. For context, I generally can't eat seafood, my pallet has never warmed up to the fishy taste of it. However, this tuna steak had arrived fresh from the Atlantic, which was just a block away and did not taste like fish. Its silky texture melted in my mouth and was the size of my hand and an inch and a half deep.

Additionally, I recommend eating at least two Bifanas, a traditional Portuguese sandwich, from O Trevo in Chiado, the heart of Lisbon. The sandwich serves marinated pork on a bun. You'll devour your first from being so famished from all the uphill walking and you'll notice the photograph of Anthony Bourdain dining exactly where you are while appreciating your second Bifana serving. 

How would you say this trip impacted you? Aspirations, goals, mindsets?

I suppose at the time it did have an impact. You're in a new place, new stimuli, picking up on a new language, meeting new people, trying new things. You have gained new experiences and therefore there must be an impact right? Not sure how to quantify that for you at the moment though. Aspirations... Bather campaign, Santa Cruz, Canico, Madeira? I think so. Wherever you are, let go, appreciate what you can and don't overlook the small things. 

 Where to next?

Sicily. So boring, I know. Ciao!