Why did we choose Faial Island
When we first came to the Azores, almost ten years ago in 2012, we had no idea that we would be end up living in Faial and call it our home in a few years. It was a vacation that came out from an accident, a wallet stolen (with my passport in it) in Paris, while on a stop-over to South Africa. We had to go back after that, obviously, and once my passport was re-issued we though at least to make a shorter trip to a more closer destination.
The word Azores somehow came to my mind, so i started googling it, finding out that it looked like a warmer, milder Scotland, or Ireland.
Fast forward 5 years we come back, looking to buy a little house in the countryside, fix it, and start living here. The choice of Faial came naturally, due to a bunch of factors: the presence of good infrastructures (hospital, direct flight to Lisbon, and so on) was a plus, but the main factor was the view on Pico from Horta that offered us a little comfort from the idea of being stranded in the middle of the ocean. We come from northern Italy, and our city of birth (Turin) is surrounded by the Alps, so anyone from our city would feel uncomfortable if there is not at least a mountain to look at, from time to time.
How’s life in Faial
Faial has a funny shape, looks a bit like a turtle, and if you add Pico island in the picture it looks like it’s being chased by a whale. Like all Azorean Islands its settlements are close to the sea, at a lower altitude, and this is because especially during winters, the wind will blow harder at higher altitudes and the clouds will often cover the island from 250 mt above sea level up, creating a phenomenon similar to fog (called nevoeiro here) that although fascinating at times, can be grim and a bit depressing.
We ended up buying a little country house just below that limit, on the western side of Faial and that’s because we wanted it to be in the middle of a forest, overlooking the ocean, facing south west to be able to see the sunset.
The choice of living in the countryside comes from the idea that such a move – from a nearly one million people city, Turin, Italy – to a small island in the middle of the ocean had to be radical. So, although fascinating, the idea of choosing Horta, which is a city albeit small wasn’t appealing enough.
Besides that, living on an island that you can fully circle by car in just one hour or so, makes everything easy. We have all the basic services around us, and all the rest is a mere 20 minutes away.
A quiet paradise
On a sunny day, our view of the forest and the ocean in front of us reminds us of the wise choice we made by running away from the madness of the big city (especially in these times where the pandemic has exacerbated all the existing troubles). When the weather is bad, instead, there is plenty of time to dedicate ourselves to the many hobbies we have (reading, playing music, web projects, writing… ). Sure if we were still in our 30’s we would probably have been bored to death, but since we aren’t, it’s all good.