The second trip we took was to visit Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), a huge crater that now has two bodies of water. What’s special about these two lakes—divided by a bridge for easy access—is that the larger one is a vibrant blue, while the smaller is a prominent green. A few legends are attached to this place which this entry will look into.
The first few theories are of the naming of the two lakes. Seven Cities is a questionable title for a crater, but with the knowledge of our tour guide, this is what I got. The first story is that the reason is plainly because there are seven craters inside the caldera. The second, is that when the Açores were attacked by pirates (which, side note, is a fact), seven bishops from seven cities hid in the caldera. The third, but probably not the last theory of the Sete Cidades’ origin, is that a man sent out a letter to the king to inform him of the volcano’s eruption. The king asked him how large the crater was to which the man responded, “It’s so large that it can fit seven cities.”
Now, for my personal favourite, and for the romantics out there, here is the legend of how the two lakes came to be. The myth goes that there was a princess with blue eyes who fell in love with a green-eyed shepherd. Her father, the king, disapproved of this affair for she was to marry a prince and not a commoner. The princess, upon hearing her father’s objection ran to her lover to let him know of their fate. They both cried by the craters at their misfortune until they died. The princess’ tears formed the blue lake, while the shepherd’s tears made the green one. In the middle, a bridge was built with holes to allow the water to mix, finally letting the princess forever be with her shepherd.
Now, if you are more into logics and less in into fairy-tales, here is the truth about the water’s peculiar taint. The green lake is only, approximately, fourteen meters deep with algae. The blue lake is wider and measures around twenty-eight meters deep, reflecting the colour of the sky. This is why going on a day where the hills are free of hovering clouds is best to really see the contrast between these two water-filled craters.
Now, to finish our São Miguel trip we were told, by Ricardo, that in the main praça—near the harbour—if we cross the arches (or the gates) it would mean we would definitely come back. So guess what we did the minute we got back from our tour!