This road, somewhere in Terceira, one of the nine Azorean islands, leads to nowhere and at the same time to everywhere. It’s an inviting place to let yourself get lost in time and simply meander without the expectation of reaching a destination beyond what’s in front of you. Besides, the ocean is just a little way beyond to take you away from the insularity of the island whenever you wish to rejoin society.
Walking is the thing I do best; it’s what pilgrims do on their journey to a pilgrimage site. But what if your pilgrimage is not to a destination already anticipated, such as a saint’s shrine, or a holy stone, but rather a walk towards the unknown?
My legs take me wherever my curious soul wants to go; exploring trails and roads leading further into solitude, away from villages, towns, and cities. I spent one day in Terceira and after exploring the beautiful city of Angra do Heroísmo, I ventured away into the countryside for a bit of solitude and came upon the road on my photograph.
After all these years it still reminds me of the simplicity of that day, of the choice I made to simply let the road take me to wherever it was going, without thought to destination, and letting that be my pilgrim’s holy walk.
You’re not the first Anglophone visitor to write about going exploring on Terceira (LOL!).
Charles Darwin did too, during HMS Beagle’s final stop (for resupply) en route home to England in 1836 at the end of five years of scientific exploration:
For more detail see “Charles Darwin’s Last Island: Terceira, Azores, 1836” by Patrick Armstrong:
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I loved the poetic text and the reflections, Emanuel, these ones about The Road Taken, to paraphrase Frost.
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