Ah, the Azores

For those of us who had to trudge to work this
morning over monstrous piles of ice, the idea of heading to a place like the Azores has an unmistakable appeal. These
Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic have long been a favorite of explorers, whalers and, well, European
tourists. Today, they are a popular place for adventuresome types in search of "clean and unspoiled vistas"
and relatively untrammeled beaches. Given their relative isolation, the islands have managed to stay off the tourist
map, and they offer fabulous hiking, swimming and exploring. This piece in the
Globe and Mail
does a nice job conveying the allure of the Azores, where the writer spends a few blissful days
trudging around the islands of Pico and Faial, and examines both the natural grandeur and the history of the place. If
you need an antidote, as I did, for the current cold snap, this could be it.