Tucked away on the northeast corner of the remote Azorean island of Santa Maria is the quaint village of São Lourenço. Formed by a volcanic eruption eight million years ago, the crescent-shaped bay is all that remains of the ancient caldera. Steep, rocky cliffs terraced with grapevines and dotted with charming whitewashed cottages surround this secluded hideaway. About midway along the shoreline is a popular swimmingpoolthat’s filled with refreshing ocean water at high tide. São Lourenço is near and dear to me since my great-grandparents used to call it home. (Their house is located on the arched roadway to the left.) My father’s cousin still owns the property, so when we visited two years ago, I slept in a bed staring at the same pine-planked ceiling as my ancestors. At night you can hear nothing but the crashing surf and the cartoonish squelching of the cagarro, a ubiquitous local seabird. A vacant plot of land overlooking São Lourenço Bay is still in the family. I hope that someday I can build a vacation cottage of my own there too.
Here’s a link to another story I wrote about the Azores.