Roniel Tessler: Exploring the Azores

Off the Coast of Portugal

Storyteller: Roniel Tessler, USA

Closeup of spiral staircases from above and beneath.

What were the reasons for your travels?

We traveled to Portugal for a few reasons. We love port wine and wanted to explore where it is made, we kept hearing about how wonderful Portugal is in general, and the Azores was such an intriguing option being so far off the grid, that we couldn't wait to explore it.


What compelled you to tell your travel story in a photo book?

Pictures on phones are nice, but seeing the trip in a hardbound book is a wonderful keepsake of our memories.

Sea and seaside view from a hilltop position.

What is your favorite image in the book and why?

My favorite image is on page 34-35. The library in Porto is incredible, and getting that wide shot makes you feel like you're in it. I could have stared at the architecture in the library for hours.


What is your favorite story behind a single shot in the book?

The image on 54-55. We hiked down from that view in the Azores with a high chance of rain and not much of a clue with where we were headed. At the bottom of the hill, we found a town that looked like it had been frozen it time. We were shocked to find Wi-Fi, bathrooms, and a small cafe despite the ghost-town feel. I looked up at the giant mountain we had trekked down and worried about how long it was going to take since the rainclouds crept closer by the minute. A local recommended a hidden road in the mountain and we followed it through muddy hills, past cows, horses, and other abandoned buildings until just 45 minutes later we were back at the incredible view. 

Another great spread is pages 64-65. The Azores has an unforgettable botanical garden and a geothermal hot spring right in the center. After we toured the area, we jumped into the hot brown water. It was surreal to be bathing in such a beautiful spot in the middle of an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.


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