I had the pleasure of spending nearly a month with my daughter and her sweetie (they live in St Croix) and my sweetie in Portugal. It was their first time in Europe and what a blessing it was to get to see them experience some of the many treats Portugal has to offer!
We have a condo in a little town called Tavira, in the southeastern portion of the country. The town has about 30,000 people, compared with St Croix’s 55,000. However, Tavira is a very old town, with a centerpiece being “The Roman Bridge” which is neither Roman nor Roman in origin (It was built when Tavira belonged to the Islamic Domain of Iberia, probably in the 2nd half of the 12th century).
We are a 7 minute walk from this bridge, and from the center of this bustling little town. Here, we wake to the smells of coffee and baking bread from the cafe below and the sounds of children starting their school day in the play yard. The sun stays up till around 9:00 p.m., so dinner is eaten late, and we drift off to sleep hearing the laughter of the revelers at the bar in our square.
It’s very noisy here!
We walk everywhere. The homes and apartments and condos all open right up onto the cobblestone streets. And there are literally 100’s of bars and restaurants in walking distance. We also go to the fresh open air market daily (except Sunday) to get our food, which is ridiculously inexpensive. We enjoy “bicas” (little expresso coffees) and Pasteis de Nata* (amazing little custard tarts) at the many cafes that line the streets. The lifestyle here is so classic “European” and so different from our life in St Croix (which is equally wonderful, just different!)
Pasteis de Nata* were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon. These monks were originally based in France where these pastries could be found in local bakeries. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching clothes, such as nuns’ habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country. Following the extinction of the religious orders and in the face of the impending closure of many of the convents and monasteries in the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820, the monks started selling pastéis de nata at a nearby sugar refinery to bring in some revenue. In 1834 the monastery was closed and the recipe was sold to the sugar refinery, whose owners in 1837 opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. The descendants own the business to this day!
Life in St Croix is quiet.
The beaches in St Croix are very accessible and typically not crowded at all. The water is crystal clear and warm. There’s just no water in the world like the Caribbean Sea!
We hang out with friends at the beach, at the local (usually outdoor) bars, and get together over great meals in fantastic restaurants. Going to the grocery is an “event” here – it’s about a 3 hour event – with travel time and “catching up” time (you always see lots of friends at the store, and of course have to chat!). Food is less fresh and more expensive in STX, but the tradeoff is beautiful weather year round and easy access to this gorgeous water. There’s nowhere on earth quite like St Croix, and I am happy to call this little rock home! It’s wonderful to travel and explore new places…but there’s no place like home!
If you think you’d be happy living in a quiet, friendly, warm, tropical place like St Croix, we can help! We’ll help educate you about all the ins and outs of moving and living here, and help you decide between condo, home and land – and then help you find what you’re looking for. St Croix is a wonderful place to live and we love meeting and making new friends who are considering making a move to our island!
Contact us today!