New Year Resolutions

Well, it’s that time of year again when we are now regretting the degree to which we stuffed our faces over the past few days with way too much chocolate, rich cheeses and assorted foodstuffs, not to mention the copious amounts of alcohol. It’s like groundhog day this time every year as we contemplate whether or not we’re going to subject ourselves to the annual charade that is our new year resolutions. Assuming that you’re one of the relatively few that is likely to make good on such promises, then here are two suggestions for you to take on board for 2013:

Get out and exercise more!

Visit somewhere different!

The first one is obvious. Most of us pursue a sedentary lifestyle most of the time so it is extremely important that we restore some equilibrium into our routine. One great way of doing that is to undertake a holiday that involves some kind of effort or where exercise sits centre-stage. One of the most attractive types of holiday of this nature and one that is gaining popularity year by year is the walking or hiking holiday. Everyone knows how to walk. It doesn’t require any great fitness levels and it’s fun. You get to explore a new destination up front and personal while burning all those calories and you appreciate your food all the more as you can eat to your hearts content without all the attendant guilt that usually accompanies it! Austria obviously comes to mind for such active holidays, as does northern Spain but if you want some place that little bit different, you could do worse that take yourself away to the Azores — a collection of volcanic islands located just over 1,000 miles due east of the Portuguese mainland. The archipelago consists of nine islands and they are literally like the land that time forgot — indeed, parts of some of the islands look remarkably like the west of Ireland of 50 or so years ago — replete with dry stone walls, cows in small fields and farmers driving large milk churns by donkey and cart to the local creamery!

The language is Portuguese, the beaches black volcanic sand and the scenery just beautiful. Also, because the Azores are a bit off the beaten track, the place isn’t inundated with tourists during the summer. Avoid the period October through to April as the weather tends to be quite like Ireland with lots of rain, overcast skys and lots of fog and mist but during the summer months, it’s just idyllic. The capital is Ponta Delgado which is located on the island of Sao Miguel. Although all of the islands within the archipeligo are worth visiting too, Pico in particular is especially worth a visit. The second largest island within the group boasts the highest peak in all of Portugal so it is, in a sense, the equivalent of what Tenerife is to the Spanish mainland.

Of course, the Azores don’t just cater for walkers. The islands are perfect for whale and dolphin watching watching, surfing and deep sea fishing. The place is also littered with natural thermal springs and all the various therapies that derive from such resources. There are even places where you can drink natural fizzy water from communal taps located in walls nearby natural springs.

Make 2013 the year you do something different so resolve to visit the Azores and get walking!


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