Ilha de Santa Maria is the Eastern most island in the Açores archipelago. It is an autonomous region of Portugal. How we came to live here is a long story; in short, it was to expose our children to a different way of life.
The Açores (or Azores in English) are a group of 9 volcanic islands located in the middle of the Atlantic, about half-way between Europe and the Americas - the middle of nowhere.
Each island has its own rhythm, look and culture. Our island of Santa Maria is known as the "Ilha do Sol" (island of the sun), which suits us perfectly, though it has a share amount of rain and fog. The fog is an especially new experience for us. It rivals the low hanging clouds of Ireland - many say the island is the child of Hawaii and Ireland - both Tropical and European.
The pace is slow, there are more cows on the island than people, and only one traffic light. It seems as if the entire population of about 5,000 knows each other; if not by face, then by car or truck. Everyone waves to one another, you can spot locals from visitors, tourists, and even Continental Portuguese.
We have surf, forests, ocean pools and waterfalls; endless walking trails and a little charming town by the name of Vila, which we call "the city".
Time stops here, the outside world forgotten...