São Tomé Express (2 of 5): São Tomé City

São Tomé (Portuguese for “Saint Thomas”) is the capital and largest city in São Tomé and Príncipe, and home to the island nation’s primary airport and seaport. The picturesque city overlooks Ana Chaves Bay and features a number of historic Portuguese colonial buildings. As home to nearly a third of São Tomé and Príncipe’s residents, the capital is the country’s cultural epicenter, and frequently hosts many national festivals and celebrations. Despite the “big” city’s comparatively urban setting, life still seems to moves at the same leisurely pace as elsewhere on the island.

200mm @ 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400
200mm @ 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400

Women selling jackfruit at a market along the island’s main highway enjoy several slices for themselves while exchanging gossip on a typically idyllic evening.

24mm @ 1/800, f/4, ISO 400
24mm @ 1/800, f/4, ISO 400

Two children stand in the entrance of Nossa Senhora das Graças (Our Lady of Grace), the oldest cathedral in sub-Saharan Africa. Located across from the presidential palace in downtown São Tomé, the cathedral took more than 400 years to complete (1576-1978).

24mm @ 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100
24mm @ 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100

Children roll tires with sticks on their walk home.

105mm @ 1/640, f/2.8, ISO 125
105mm @ 1/640, f/2.8, ISO 125

Due to the island’s small size and limited number of roads, motorcycles are a popular form of transportation.

300mm @ 1/500, f/4.5, ISO 200
300mm @ 1/500, f/4.5, ISO 200

A woman holds a bundle of leaves along the side of the main highway outside the city.

105mm @ 1/320, f/3.5, ISO 125
105mm @ 1/320, f/3.5, ISO 125

School children and other residents take a stroll along the shoreline of Ana Chaves Bay.

200mm @ 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 400
200mm @ 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 400

São Tomé residents strike up a friendly conversation in front of a colorful building in the city center.

60mm @ 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 100
60mm @ 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 100

Soldiers participate in a change of guard ceremony at a barracks building near the presidential palace.

105mm @ 1/800, f/3.5, ISO 125
105mm @ 1/800, f/3.5, ISO 125

A woman watches out for traffic as she crosses the island’s main highway with her groceries.

200mm @ 1/250, f/5, ISO 400
200mm @ 1/250, f/5, ISO 400

Check out all the high-resolution photos from my trip to São Tomé in my set on Flickr.

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