Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande the Seaside Way


New Port
The pastel houses of Porto Novo, the largest city in Santo Antão.
Praia dos Pescadores
Hammocks and boats in a fishing cove south of Porto Novo.
Shark's Hill
Car moves away from the almost conical Morro do Tubarão.
Tomb Tip
The first inlet in the north of Santo Antão, as seen from the top of Ponta Tumba.
The Tomb Tip Light
The Ponta Tumba lighthouse, shortly before its restoration.
the little tip
Pontinha da Janela, so called for very visible reasons.
Window Beacons
Two beacons on a field rendered useless by unexpected relief on the beach.
The window
The hole in the rock that inspired the name Window.
Google Store
Owner of Google grocery in conversation with a young and small family member.
The City of Pombas
The houses of Pombas extended along a well-defined coastal vertex.
Complicated Bath
Two friends help each other during a bath complicated by the large rolling boulders and the swell.
Dove Marginal
Coconut trees above a coastline of small pebbles, before the center of Pombas.
Old Trapiche
Cows run the centuries-old pier at the Ildo Benros farm.
Ildo Benros
Mr. Ildo Benros and an assistant next to a window of drinks on the farm.
Sugarcane Load
A worker on the Ildo Benros farm, he takes sugar cane to the warehouse.
Trapiche cattle
Cow and goat accompany the work of Mr. Ildo Benros's warehouse.
The squeezer Press
Farm worker Ildo Benros introduces sugar cane into the farm's old warehouse.
The houses of Janela
A sector of houses taken from the village of Janela.
walled corrals
Numbered structures that serve as corrals for various pig breeding, outside Ribeira Grande.
Once settled in Porto Novo, Santo Antão, we soon notice two routes to the second largest village on the island. Once surrendered to the monumental up-and-down of Estrada da Corda, the volcanic and Atlantic drama of the coastal alternative dazzles us.

As soon as we leave the pastel houses of Porto Novo behind, Santo Antão returns to the rawness and haughtiness of its geological origins, made of millions of years of upheaval and erosion.

In the almost absence of human marks, the splendor of the volcanism that raised it from the depths of the ocean. All this time expired, the Atlantic renews, moment by moment, its intimate relationship with the iron mountains of the island.

The first vision that catches us is that of a set of measured peaks that the sunlight makes to shine and that a cloak of dry mist, very dry and very white, tries, in vain, to embrace.

The coastal road completely clashes with the Rope Road. Zigzags to the northeast. It crosses a series of streams that, at mid-year, only dust and sand flowed.

Crossing André Col's road, the asphalt reveals the almost perfect cone of Morro de Tubarão.

Measuring a mere 325m, well below the 1585m of Pico da Cruz overlooking these parts, this striated legacy of the island's mother eruption leaves us awestruck, eager for what would follow.

We cross the arid bed of Ribeira Brava and the imaginary line that separates the municipalities of Porto Novo and Paul. Twenty minutes later, we were confronted with Ponta de Tumba.

Ponta de Tumba and the Old Lighthouse of Fontes Pereira de Melo

We still see the white, octagonal, dirty and ruined tower of a lighthouse. On a rusty structure, its old bell has several broken glass.

Just above, the sun, much higher, lights a jagged and deep bay.

Each time the dry mist releases it, it reinforces the watery, almost emerald green of the wind-beaten sea.

From where we were, we could only glimpse the northwest coast of Santo Antão.

Interested in unraveling it, intrigued by the lighthouse's stoic resistance, we decided to climb the walled trail, littered with thistles and cactus, and investigate it.

A sign as worn as the rest of the structure identified the "Pharol Antonio Maria de Fontes Pereira de Melo” built in 1886, in the reign of Dom Luís “the Popular”.

It remained active until 2006. Shortly after our visit, it was recovered and resumed contributing to the safety of navigation, treacherous in these parts of the Atlantic, the Alísios rock and shake mercilessly.

When we reach its base, the old lighthouse serves as an observation point.

Its promontory reveals the vagaries of the coast and a series of coves furrowed by the continuation of the road that has welcomed us for a long time.

Pontinha de Janela: another Unusual Village of Santo Antão

After more than an hour without hardly seeing any buildings, the lighthouse suggests a sharp peninsula that extended into the ocean, covered with houses and agricultural terraces until the sea made it impossible.

No reason to complicate matters, the place was handled by Pontinha. Less obvious, would be the reason why, out of nowhere, that almost amphibious patch welcomed so many people.

As we approached it, we realized how abrupt and inhospitable the north of Santo Antão was.

We understand how, accordingly, even more exposed to the wind and waves, an almost flat strip of land with easy access to the sea had been inhabited as a divine blessing, with the effort and merit with which Cape Verdeans became accustomed to survive.

Despite the tightness, there is room for a football pitch that gives meaning to the União Desportiva da Janela club, another reason for the commitment and pride of the villagers.

A hitherto hidden bay surprises us with several of the organic contrasts that the island is lavish.

The white marine foam breaks up on a threshold of basalt pebbles and boulders.

A few dozen meters inland, the stones and pebbles give way to some rough sand, two wooden goal posts planted in it, in an obvious footballistic despair.

Further up, on the slope side of the road, coconut and palm trees sprout from a narrow but lush agricultural plantation.

After the Tip of the Window, follows the Window.

As we walk along the village, made up of houses, some white, some colored, others the characteristic gray of unpainted cement blocks, a few more palm trees and coconut trees sprout, graced with the moisture the Trade Winds carry.

In terms of landscape, there is the perforated cliff that frames the ocean on the other side and which inspired the name of the town.

As far as history and its controversies are concerned, a small scrawled rock focuses attention.

The Pedra de Letreiro and Gavin Menzies' Despised Theory

In 2002, Gavin Menzies, a retired British Navy officer published “1421 – The Year China Discovered the World".

In the work, he explains what they consider evidence of maritime exploration in the world prior to the European one, between 1421 and 1423, by Chinese navigators, including the Cape of Good Hope folding, the Strait of Magellan and the arrival to Australia.

Menzies substantiated his theories during his travels through 120 countries and almost a thousand museums, libraries and medieval ports around the world.

Now, the slew of information he studied included a famous rock of Janela, the Pedra de Letreiro, which the locals call the Written Stone.

Like other authors, Menzies guarantees that he preserves inscriptions made by visitors to Santo Antão prior to the supposedly European pioneers.

An alliance of distinguished historians lashed out at Menzies. In three strokes and without embarrassment.

They confronted him with his theoretical bravado, in reality, based on a total lack of methodology and scientific seriousness.

Along with the inability to question and interpret historical data that reduced Menzies investigative wandering around the world to nothing.

The controversy intrigues us. We are committed to investigating the book, a task that remains on an accurate list arising from our own ramblings.

We hurried to return, to Santo Antão, along the increasingly steep coastline of the north coast.

By Lands of Paul and Vila (now city) das Pombas

After Pontinha de Janela, there is the Paul area, which gives the name to the municipality we were visiting.

Denotes a hillside area irrigated by three streams that flow from the higher lands (including Pico da Cruz), Paul, Janela and Penedo, responsible for a much more drenched and verdant soil than is normal in Santo Antao.

It is so fertile that it allows for several crops of sugar cane, bananas, cassava and even coffee.

In Paul, the car we were driving broke down. We took advantage of the wait for its replacement, to walk along the streets, especially the seaside, more airy ones.

We surrender to the heat and some tiredness. We settled in a restaurant to lunch freshly caught fish off the coast, with other Cape Verdean snacks.

In the meantime, a rent-a-car employee arrives with a replacement pick-up truck. Once again on motorbikes, we discovered observation points over Vila das Pombas, today promoted to the main city of the municipality of Paul.

Pombas extends over a fajã comparable to Pontinha, although laterally.

From where we admired it, a hedge of coconut trees rose above the seashore.

Not to vary, made of large rolling boulders on which, even in precocious balance, two young men faced the vigorous surf, given a refreshing sea bath.

followed by the cemetery .

And, to the north, the seaside houses, once again with unpainted blocks, with a few exceptions, in pastel tones, in one case or another, with bright, clashing colors.

We proceed on the seaside road, paying attention to the picturesque fashions, uses and customs of these parts.

A lady had turned part of her house into a grocery store. Betting that customers would find a little of everything there, she named it Google.

In the absence of customers, she remained at the window, accompanied by a child whose nose only reached the parapet, left to figure out who were the strangers her mother was chatting with.

The centuries-old trapiche of Mr. Ildo Benrós

“Sõ Ildo? It's a very simple door that you find in a long wall”, she informs us in a Portuguese as little Creole as possible.

The door opens onto a farmhouse arranged around an old country house, worn pink, with a walled earthen courtyard in front of it.

From the center of the land, the fulcrum of all operations emerges, a traditional warehouse that is at least four hundred years old.

The owner, Mr. Ildo Benrós, welcomes us.

Accustomed to tourist visits, more pragmatic than smiling.

Ildo puts us at ease, so we follow as closely as possible the various steps in the manufacture of the grog:

Carrying sugar cane from the plantation above the house.

The rigging of the oxen on the arm, the rotation of the mechanism.

The gradual insertion of sugarcane into the press, the source of the sweet and still fresh juice that one of the workers gives us to taste, in preparation for the grogue and poncha we ended up buying.

On the last stretch to Ribeira Grande, we pass through the village of Sinagoga.

And, a few kilometers ahead, along a slope that housed dozens of pig corrals, twinned in stone walls, placed there so as to ensure a hygienic distance from the owners' houses and the city in general.

Ribeira Grande did not take long.

It would be the first of several incursions into the big city on the other side of Santo Antão.

Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Up and Down the Estrada da Corda

Santo Antão is the westernmost of the Cape Verde Islands. There lies an Atlantic and rugged threshold of Africa, a majestic insular domain that we begin by unraveling from one end to the other of its dazzling Estrada da Corda.
São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Volcanic Arid Wonder of Soncente

A return to São Vicente reveals an aridity as dazzling as it is inhospitable. Those who visit it are surprised by the grandeur and geological eccentricity of the fourth smallest island in Cape Verde.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

Photography of Nha Terra São Nicolau

The voice of the late Cesária Verde crystallized the feeling of Cape Verdeans who were forced to leave their island. who visits São Nicolau or, wherever it may be, admires images that illustrate it well, understands why its people proudly and forever call it their land.
Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

Boa Vista Island: Atlantic waves, Dunas do Sara

Boa Vista is not only the Cape Verdean island closest to the African coast and its vast desert. After a few hours of discovery, it convinces us that it is a piece of the Sahara adrift in the North Atlantic.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

Time and the laws of geomorphology dictated that the volcano-island of Fogo rounded off like no other in Cape Verde. Discovering this exuberant Macaronesian archipelago, we circled around it against the clock. We are dazzled in the same direction.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

Forced matches like those that inspired the famous morna “soda” made the pain of having to leave the islands of Cape Verde very strong. Discovering saninclau, between enchantment and wonder, we pursue the genesis of song and melancholy.
Chã das Caldeiras a Mosteiros, Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros: descent through the Ends of Fogo

With the Cape Verde summit conquered, we sleep and recover in Chã das Caldeiras, in communion with some of the lives at the mercy of the volcano. The next morning, we started the return to the capital São Filipe, 11 km down the road to Mosteiros.
Brava, Cape Verde

Cape Verde Brave Island

During colonization, the Portuguese came across a moist and lush island, something rare in Cape Verde. Brava, the smallest of the inhabited islands and one of the least visited of the archipelago, preserves the authenticity of its somewhat elusive Atlantic and volcanic nature.
Santiago, Cape Verde

Santiago from bottom to top

Landed in the Cape Verdean capital of Praia, we explore its pioneer predecessor city. From Cidade Velha, we follow the stunning mountainous ridge of Santiago to the unobstructed top of Tarrafal.
island of salt, Cape Verde

The Salt of the Island of Sal

At the approach of the XNUMXth century, Sal remained lacking in drinking water and practically uninhabited. Until the extraction and export of the abundant salt there encouraged a progressive population. Today, salt and salt pans add another flavor to the most visited island in Cape Verde.
Ponta do Sol a Fontainhas, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

A Vertiginous Journey from Ponta do Sol

We reach the northern tip of Santo Antão and Cape Verde. On a new afternoon of radiant light, we follow the Atlantic bustle of the fishermen and the less coastal day-to-day life of Ponta do Sol. With sunset imminent, we inaugurate a gloomy and intimidating quest of the village of Fontainhas.
Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Miracle of São Vicente

São Vicente has always been arid and inhospitable to match. The challenging colonization of the island subjected the settlers to successive hardships. Until, finally, its providential deep-water bay enabled Mindelo, the most cosmopolitan city and the cultural capital of Cape Verde.
Nova Sintra, Brava, Cape Verde

A Creole Sintra, instead of Saloia

When Portuguese settlers discovered the island of Brava, they noticed its climate, much wetter than most of Cape Verde. Determined to maintain connections with the distant metropolis, they called the main town Nova Sintra.
Tarrafal, Santiago, Cape Verde

The Tarrafal of Freedom and Slow Life

The village of Tarrafal delimits a privileged corner of the island of Santiago, with its few white sand beaches. Those who are enchanted there find it even more difficult to understand the colonial atrocity of the neighboring prison camp.
Ribeira Grande, Santo AntãoCape Verde

Santo Antão, Up the Ribeira Grande

Originally a tiny village, Ribeira Grande followed the course of its history. It became the village, later the city. It has become an eccentric and unavoidable junction on the island of Santo Antão.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
safari
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

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Thorong Pedi to High Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Lone Walker
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 12th - Thorong Phedi a High camp

The Prelude to the Supreme Crossing

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Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

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Adventure

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

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Ceremonies and Festivities
Marinduque, Philippines

The Philippine Passion of Christ

No nation around is Catholic but many Filipinos are not intimidated. In Holy Week, they surrender to the belief inherited from the Spanish colonists. Self-flagellation becomes a bloody test of faith
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
Cities
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
Sculptural Garden, Edward James, Xilitla, Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Cobra dos Pecados
Culture
Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Edward James' Mexican Delirium

In the rainforest of Xilitla, the restless mind of poet Edward James has twinned an eccentric home garden. Today, Xilitla is lauded as an Eden of the Surreal.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Seljalandsfoss Escape
Traveling
Iceland

The Island of Fire, Ice and Waterfalls

Europe's supreme cascade rushes into Iceland. But it's not the only one. On this boreal island, with constant rain or snow and in the midst of battle between volcanoes and glaciers, endless torrents crash.
Ethnic
Viti levu, Fiji

The Unlikely Sharing of Viti Levu Island

In the heart of the South Pacific, a large community of Indian descendants recruited by former British settlers and the Melanesian indigenous population have long divided the chief island of Fiji.
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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

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fortress wall of Novgorod and the Orthodox Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, Russia.
History
Novgorod, Russia

Mother Russia's Viking Grandmother

For most of the past century, the USSR authorities have omitted part of the origins of the Russian people. But history leaves no room for doubt. Long before the rise and supremacy of the tsars and the soviets, the first Scandinavian settlers founded their mighty nation in Novgorod.
improvised bank
Islands
Ibo Island, Mozambique

Island of a Gone Mozambique

It was fortified in 1791 by the Portuguese who expelled the Arabs from the Quirimbas and seized their trade routes. It became the 2nd Portuguese outpost on the east coast of Africa and later the capital of the province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. With the end of the slave trade at the turn of the XNUMXth century and the passage from the capital to Porto Amélia, Ibo Island found itself in the fascinating backwater in which it is located.
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Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Literature
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Fishing, Cano Negro, Costa Rica
Nature
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Kukenam reward
Natural Parks
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

At the top of Mount Roraima, there are extraterrestrial scenarios that have resisted millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never got to step on it.
Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
UNESCO World Heritage
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Zorro's mask on display at a dinner at the Pousada Hacienda del Hidalgo, El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico
Characters
El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

Zorro's Cradle

El Fuerte is a colonial city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. In its history, the birth of Don Diego de La Vega will be recorded, it is said that in a mansion in the town. In his fight against the injustices of the Spanish yoke, Don Diego transformed himself into an elusive masked man. In El Fuerte, the legendary “El Zorro” will always take place.
Mahé Ilhas das Seychelles, friends of the beach
Beaches
Mahé, Seychelles

The Big Island of the Small Seychelles

Mahé is the largest of the islands of the smallest country in Africa. It's home to the nation's capital and most of the Seychellois. But not only. In its relative smallness, it hides a stunning tropical world, made of mountainous jungle that merges with the Indian Ocean in coves of all sea tones.
Promise?
Religion
Goa, India

To Goa, Quickly and in Strength

A sudden longing for Indo-Portuguese tropical heritage makes us travel in various transports but almost non-stop, from Lisbon to the famous Anjuna beach. Only there, at great cost, were we able to rest.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Society
Cemeteries

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
Pisteiro San in action at Torra Conservancy, Namibia
Wildlife
Palmwag, Namíbia

In Search of Rhinos

We set off from the heart of the oasis generated by the Uniab River, home to the largest number of black rhinos in southwest Africa. In the footsteps of a bushman tracker, we follow a stealthy specimen, dazzled by a setting with a Martian feel.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.