I bought 240 minutes of computer time, I have 54 minutes left and all I have are photos …  I haven’t even written the words yet! Yikes, so here we go! MUSICA

Sunrise on the MOST delicious boat ride of my life. 🚢 It has been beyond gorgeous. We could even lie in the sun! Trying not to fall asleep. I’ve read one entire book and started on another. I cast on the stitches of my scarf/shawl. I had a massage. Joe got wrapped! Then I got wrapped. Seaweed. Most heavenly. Warm, sunny, like the best of spring days, or early summer mornings, just beautiful. Hard to believe we pack tomorrow, and leave the ship on Friday morning! I keep getting snow photos from my English girlfriends, it will be a whole new world!

Here’s our ship, coming in to the Azores, which I had to look up to see exactly where it was! It’s part of Portugal, as I understand it, hard to believe because these islands are miles from any other sort of land, but yes, they do speak Portuguese ~ and many speak English too, thank goodness!

So pretty, and very self-sufficient as you would have to be out here. This is Terceira … a patchwork Garden of Eden of emerald greens divided by stone walls, punctuated by active volcanos, where the houses are white stucco with terracotta tiled roofs. It’s warm, subtropical, average temp about 65 degrees ~ it was sunny AND it rained while we were there.

It’s a lot like California!

Until you see the rock walls. . .

They took us to town on buses, into this charming downtown area, with lots of local shops and little restaurants . . .

And darling houses and gardens . . .

. . . and streets all tiled in designs with tiny cobblestones . . .

in every kind of art expression,

Mixed together shapes and sizes, all handmade and very interesting …

My first job in town was to find an umbrella, and I was thrilled to do it BEFORE it started to rain!

When we first arrived the sky was blue . . . we didn’t even need jackets!

But, see me over there, in the nick of time, umbrella’s up! And you can see even more of the cobblestone tile decoration in the streets and on the sidewalk.

Here too . . . and these musicians showed up with guitars and began serenading us!

See that woman with her hands together? She said with her hands EXACTLY what I was thinking! It was wonderful.

Here we are, at O Pescador, where the umbrella lady said we “must go” for lunch!

She was so right! You each get your own bottle of wine! A very congenial country! I don’t think I’ve tasted Mateus since around 1974! It was Yummy!

We had fish . . . how could we not? Joe’s was Cod, and mine was Swordfish, both with locally-grown vegetables.

We sat there, drank their delicious coffees, wrote postcards, and got stamps and even got them posted with Azores post mark!!! (Sometimes we amaze ourselves!)

Beaches the world over say the same luv-lee things to passers-by.

Across from the beach was this very old wall. See the “holes” just past the “door?”

That is home to some very curious pigeons who came out to say, “Hey, strangers, what’s up?”.

This perfect little wildflower was growing between the plastic thing and the concrete! I took this photo . . .

And Joe took this one! Our ride, way out there, waiting for us. And it was time to go find our bus and head back . . .

 It was a lovely day in the Azores, we need to come back soon and stay longer!

But right now, we have a pre-planned VIP destination in mind . . .

But, until we get there, for all practical purposes we are “in Rome,” so we do what the Romans do! Which has a LOT to do with eating!

And sitting around, taking pictures of each other!

This is our assigned dining room. And that is the purse Sheri and Kellee got me for Christmas! It was the belle of the ball! Tiny but plenty of joie de vivre!

Every morning we get one our Daily Programme, about six pages of what surprises await us each day. . . you have to decide if you are going to make it to the Vegetable Carving Demonstration, or to the Ball, or if you just might stay in bed all day with your book?  All things are possible.


Our dining room again. They have very few actual candles on board for good reasons I’m sure, but they have managed to figure out the softest prettiest lighting in all the rooms so you don’t really miss them!

Here’s my new umbrella, result of shopping in Terceira. SO happy to have it. What was I thinking, going to England without an umbrella??? Cur-A-zee. And Joe got himself some glue!

Because my ladybug fell off my ring! (Ladybird as the Brits say so adorably.)

It’s not a very expensive ring. I paid a dollar for it, and now, Joe fixed it, so I am ready to visit garden after garden wearing the correct jewelry.

OK, I will try to come back later, but if I can’t, at least there will be something. It’s unfinished, and even worse, no MUSICA (fixed!). But I will return. I have a 4 pm facial! Must go! Life is so terrible here. Don’t ever make me do this again. Miss you, love you, thank you for coming along! XOXO




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395 Responses to WE SAW THE SEA . . .

  1. Sandy Ewanowski says:

    How positively LOVERRRLY! I’m sooo very sorry you are having a miserable time—HA! Enjoy every second—-YOLO.

  2. Evelyn Pirolo says:

    Please, please, please. . . How do I get back on your mailing list to receive your blog?
    [email protected]
    Evelyn Pirolo

  3. Danella on the Canadian West Coast says:

    Loving every minute of this trip. Glad you’ve taken all of us along. Having a marvelous time!

  4. Lisa Anne Haller says:

    My husband tried to turn the page from March to April on your 2018 Heart of the Home calendar … only to find that what should be April is another January followed by another February followed by another March then it jumps to October-November-December then October-November-December again. Can you help? Can you send me a correct version of this calendar? I love your calendars & have bought them for years, this is the first time this has happened.
    Thank you! … I’ll happily provide snail mail if you can provide calendar!

    • sbranch says:

      EEEK. I sent this to Kellee, I don’t think we have any calendars left, but we are expecting the manufacturer to send you a new one, someone should be in touch through your email address, if not, let me know. First time I’ve heard of this, Lisa, so very sorry! Fingers-crossed it won’t happen again!

  5. Debra Sewell says:

    OH MY!! My great great grandparents were both born in the Azores!!! Thank you for gorgeous photos!!! Joe looks dashing and young with no whiskers. Keep it that way till winter when he LL need those warm whiskers. Have the trip of a lifetime.

    Debra Sewell

    • sbranch says:

      Ha, his beard is still there! It’s turned white! It’s always been short, but now it’s white and getting more invisible all the time!

  6. Kerstin Olson says:

    Dear Susan,
    I came across your beautiful book “A Fine Romance” several years ago and loved the format, especially the water colors. Since then I have been following your wonderful blog and nurturing my own dreams of returning to the English countryside (which I toured by train with friends just before college more than 20 years ago). You restored my faith in all things beautiful in an often cynical and bitter world. Now – when can I expect a German translation of your books? I am dying to have my mum read about your adventures but her English is rudimentary.
    Thank you for inspiring me and all the best to you!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Kerstin, very kind words. xoxo If ever a German publisher asks to do a translation, I would love to say YES!

  7. Barb kolasinski says:

    Susan and Joe we meet you on QM2 in September 2016… our first transatlantic and trip to england
    Read you book a romance with England and must admit I had one too!

    Loving the photos and wish we were there…. Enjoy

  8. Savannah says:

    PLEASE tell me how/where I can get one of those adorable mugs (with the Jane Austen quote) to add to my collection! I’m positively swooning over it!

  9. Patti H says:

    Dear sweet Susan, thank you for sharing your adventures. I had a total, robotic knee replacement on March 21st, and am actually doing remarkably well; maybe I’ll take a trip to England someday. Reading your blog is like being there. Cannot wait for more. And, did I read correctly that you are writing a book about this journey. Keeping my fingers crossed for that.

  10. Karen Polson says:

    I have been reading your books, and just came to your website for more and saw this post. Thanks for the memories, of the land of my birth, England and the place we were stationed for two years, Terceira, Azores. It was lovely walking down memory lane, this rainy Monday morning.

  11. Susan K. Westfield, Ma says:

    Love every minute of reading about your adventures. You are both blessed to have each other. Continue to have a wonderful time. ❤️

  12. Mary Ann Hasbrouck says:

    Thank you so much for taking us along on your wonderful trip. I love the pictures, the text telling me about them and the musica. Usually my husband is in the same room with me and loves the music. Can’t wait to see more of your trip but take the time to enjoy and store up the memories.

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