Photo by Guillaume Baviere from Helsingborg, Sweden, CC BY 2.0
Just scrolling across the Maps app on my computer, and I notice some small islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Normally, I'd think nothing of it. Tiny islands, almost certainly uninhabited.
Still, I was curious so I thought I'd look up one of the places I could see on the island - Ponta Delgada, which lead me to a Wikipedia article. So I read through, and apparently it's the largest settlement in Azores - nine volcanic islands in the Atlantic, and in fact part of Portugal, despite being roughly 550 miles away from their coast.
I was expecting somewhere uninhabited, and instead what I found was somewhere with a population of nearly 250,000.
Photo by Feliciano Guimarães - originally posted to Flickr as Ponta Delgada, CC BY 2.0
Azores is impressive - there's some downright stunning views and it's somewhere I'd love to go one day. What really impresses me though, is the idea that such a community and such a society can exist. A place that's so distant from other places, that only recently could've been better connected through technology.
Despite it being so remote, it has a strong agricultural industry, primarily focused on dairy farming but also livestock ranching and fishing.
More recently tourism has become integral to the success of the archipegalo, which is hardly surprising, but it still blows my mind to consider that so many places like this exist that I and many others would know nothing about, had I not stumbled across it by pure chance.