A week in Tarrafal. Three days back in Sal. One night in Lisbon. Sunday in London.
On Wednesday morning, we took the ferry to reach the island of Santo Antão. It was quite a journey but a fun one.
A teddy bear like fella was waiting for us since we had arranged to be picked up to get to the village of Tarrafal de Monte Trigo.
Tom and I shared the same silly wish of wanting to have someone waiting for us with a card and our names written on it. We were really happy when we realised that wish had come true!
Top right mid corner, blue shirt with a white sign.
After a morning coffee and a quick stop at the shop to buy few extra groceries, we hung around in the little town for an hour or so. One of the locals had a lovely garden and told us we could hang out on his terrace if we wanted to.
Such a clever way to re-use empty bottles.
After a while, our driver came back to pick us up. He had left with our backpacks loaded on the back of his pickup leaving me really worried, but Tom was pretty relaxed about it so it reassured me (He balances me out on those things).
We bundled ourselves up with ours and others people’s luggage, gas tanks and other goods for a little over three hours. Hitch-hiking passengers would pop on and off at random stops which all added up to the experience.
It was a great way to travel cheaply and view a bit of the island, but it’s was also rather painful for our butts. The roads were for the major part of the construction and we kept tossing around until we stopped at little farmers home for a short break.
They had the most humble adobe. It was really cute and the hosts were really sweet. We bought homemade fresh goats cheese which was heaven and they offered us shots of Grog, a traditional alcoholic drink.
On our way, we got to see the town from above and take an overview of where we would be staying for the next 7 days. I was pretty excited at this point!
The home we had booked was a gem called “Kasa Pontch”
The kitchen was on the terrace. overlooking a part of town but remote enough to give us privacy.
At the back, we had an outdoor shower with a small courtyard with a hammock.
The main room had a cosy bed area and a separate shower and toilet. All painted in a vibrant blue and laminated concrete floors with built-in storage and seats, and round open windows at ceiling level. Minimalistic beauty.
Relating the rest of our trip and especially our stay in Tarrafal (wich was the longest) would take too much time and I have to admit my memory is fading on the specifics of each day. So I’ll be colouring this travel diary with some of my favourite pictures (mostly taken by Thomas) of Tarrafal and the last days in Sal. I hope it gives you a feel and a fair overview of what it was like to be there.
TARRAFAL DE MONTE TRIGO / Santo Antão
Local youngsters chilling on the beach
Tarrafal beaches are made of black sand. The black sand contains titanium and iodine, which supposedly brings relief to joint diseases and rheumatism.“We take care of our beaches!”We baptised our swimming spot “turtle bay” because we spotted a little turtle on two different occasions. We named the turtle “Patch”.
The best picture I could take of Patch (you can see him better a bit better on the video, keep scrolling!)
One of the highlights of our stay in Tarrafal was going scuba diving with David, a french P.A.D.I instructor and avid diver. We were so glad we got to dive with him and in that setting in the end. It was the way to learn and being able to see so many fishes and sea creatures was a real treat.
Tom took the entire experience like fish in water! No pun intended. He was really at ease with it. I, on the other hand, had a bit of hiccup getting started, but I was happy I went through with it and put my fears to rest. I will certainly do it again if I get the chance.
I don’t have any underwater pictures to share, but there is plenty of footage on the video Tom put together. You can view it at the end of this post.
We visited the local school and met some of the children. Tom and I are both illustrators and game artists so we visited the class during an Art lesson. The kids were pretty shy and so were we, me more than Tom.
Our drawing to share ways of drawing things related to their environment.
We visited the “Ribeira”, a green valley. Collectively the villagers grow and tend to various crops, fruit trees, beans and other root vegetables.We heard there was a waterfall further down into the valley. We were told it was quite a walk to get there and the quickest way to get to it would be to walk along the irrigation path.
But if the locals could do it with heavy bags on their head, so could we!I have to admit the narrow path were super scary! But we did get to it safe and sound 😀
Tarrafal felt like a proper little farming village with all its little friends.This is Tim, our little bird friend. He would come every morning to breakfast and chirp for food.
Along with meeting David, few other people were great company during our stay. Suzi and Hans, a german couple who had set home on the island a few many moons ago, ran a backpackers bed and breakfast. Well, it wasn’t your traditional bed and breakfast and the people they catered for were either group of divers, sailors stopping by for a short stay. All pretty much wanderers on an adventure and with few attached.
Every night they had a sundown the cocktail on the village main plaza. They would offer free drinks while we all gathered to watch the Sun go down. It was a lovely moment though I felt it somehow excluded the locals. They would not come and hang out with the travellers and tend to seat and watch from a distance. Especially during yoga classes in the morning.
(Left) Suzi & Hans, the german couple.
They also had an “eat as much as you want” lunch and dinner service for a very small set price per meal. The atmosphere was great there!
On our last evening, we met a dutch couple, Franz & Elona, who had been sailing for months and had been stranded for a couple of days due to poor weather condition. Their boat being too heavy to sail out at that time. Franz & Elona’s boat.
Their story was so inspiring to us. They had learned and taught themselves how to sail and decided to just go on a sailing trip after that. They also had built their own plane after taking flying lessons in America because it is cheaper to do so and you get to practice more in comparison to European regulations apparently. It was so fascinating.
Franz & Elona also told us about the glowing planktons that night. So Tom and I went for a “midnight” swim after dinner. The glow wasn’t as strong as they had told us about, but for someone like me who had never seen and experienced that phenomenon before it was pretty amazing!
Being a bit tipsy, swimming naked in the dark under a full moon, with the one you love and seeing glowing little fireworks in the sea was magical!
During our stay we lived with the Sun and the Sea and life took a peaceful easy rhythm.The morning of our departure. We got to see the Sunrise above the clouds on the back of a pickup truck.
SANTA MARIA / Sal
After 7 days in Tarrafal, we flew back to Sal, were we stayed 3 days and got to explore the town of Santa Maria a little further. This stay was better than the first one. We were on the other side of town, further away from the tourists.Sal used to be an island known for big exportation of salt.
There was a lot of abandoned or unfinished buildings around Santa Maria.
We got to enjoy quiet deserted beaches…
And did one of Tom’s favourite hobby which is Beach combing. We found some (rotten) turtle eggs and Tom even got a little collection of dead fishes…don’t ask why lol
Sadly some places had a lot of rubbish spread around, so we collected some of the bottles because every little helps! 🙂
The area were we stayed had a bit of a ghost town feel to it. Quite possibly because we were travelling during the off season but I loved it!
Flying back to London!
Tom has been patient enough to put together some of our footages from Cape Verde and I think it will give you an overall idea and feel of what it was like!
Thanks a lot for having read, comment and or like this Travel Diary / Cape Verde 2015. I hope it has tickled your fancy to go visit some or all of the islands of this fantastic archipelago and get to meet its people and the richness of its culture.