Photographer's Note

Casa Grená, 60 m above the lake, is what's still visible from the dream of one of the first Azores tourists, 1835.
As for the main building, the nearby palace a little higher, it was already totally engulfed by the jungle a century ago.
Temperature here never went below 2ºC nor above 28ºC and yet, already deep inside the Furnas cloud "island", nobody in his right mind would live here most of the year.

=== Azores: The cloud "islands"
Each island has its own cloud
The explanation starts here: extreme increase of relative humidity (RH) with elevation, roughly between 10% (east coast of Santa Maria) and 20% (west coast of Flores, 600 km farther NW) per 100 m (same goes for precipitation).
These "islands" appear with different "shorelines" throughout the year, yet a precise one can be set by the area unsuitable for permanent settlement, where normally:
- in summer, even in days when they become invisible, RH falls under 80% only for a few hours;
- in winter, when they are all too visible, the saturated air (100% RH) often pulls "low tide" fog even lower than their "shores".
The duration of breaks in these patterns depends primarly on the same factor that (unlike for real islands) sets their "shores" at different heights: exposure to heat and wind.

Cloud "islands" before the start of tourism
You would find only a few inhabited buildings, more precisely in Sao Miguel, at or near the shores of Sete Cidades and Furnas lakes.
Hardly anyone managed to live there all year round let alone all their lives.

Sao Miguel: two cloud "islands"
In the largest Azores island the cloud comes in a duo pack that covers 80% of its area.
One hovers the Sete Cidades lake in the west, the other one the mountain range that includes two other major touristic attractions: the Fogo and Furnas lakes.
This second "island" is not only the largest of its kind in the Azores but also the one with the greatest height differences along its "shoreline": it starts at 150 m in the north slopes and at 220 m in the south slopes.

The first estate: only half crazy: built for summer only
From the arrival of the first settlers to the uninhabited Azores islands in 1430 until 1835 there's no evidence for anyone dreaming to build an estate in the cloud "islands".
The first such production had nothing to do with azorean natives, it was in fact all-english from start to end: the Grena estate, at 345 m, at the Furnas lake hills.
It was one of the first tourists who started to buy the land for that purpose and the consul in the Azores who at the end of the day built it years later, 1858, obviously meant only as summer residence.
The english consul sold it to a London surgeon in 1874. One year later it was finally bought by an azorean (albeit of british descent) and served for a few years as summer hotel before becoming the first ghost estate.
One century later, in 1987, the Lisbon government bought it to be restored as "residence for summer holidays" for ministers & Co.
The craziness didn't go beyond the intention: behind the façade the jungle continued to peacefully bury it.

Azores: Sao Miguel Tourism: Half Crazy start 1983-89 becomes nearly totally crazy now

pajaran, dta ha contrassegnato questa nota come utile

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Additional Photos by Ilena Lo (NaturalLand) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 26 W: 0 N: 141] (639)
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