Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Up and Down the Estrada da Corda

Agaves detached from the top of Delgadinho, the tightest passage on the Corda road.
in dry dock
Bright fishing boats in the vicinity of Porto Novo.
Donkey duo
Donkey parked on the side of Estrada da Corda.
field work
Peasants work at the bottom of Cova do Paul.
Under repair
Motorized breakdown in full Delgadinho.
late almost night
Sunset as seen from the top of Delgadinho to the north.
On the way to Ribeira Grande
Van goes down the narrow sidewalk of Delgadinho.
donkey loaded
Resident guides a donkey on the edge of the mountain above Porto Novo.
Paul's grave
The always cultivated boiler of Cova do Paul.
The Ribeira Grande and deep
Meander of the deep gorge of Ribeira Grande, as seen from Delgadinho.
Rope (from Clothesline)
Pick up goes down towards Rope, and below a clothesline rope.
stone beans
Hands peeling stone beans, a traditional food in Santo Antão.
stone beans for two
Mother and daughter are shelling stone beans in their house on the edge of Estrada da Corda.
On my way
Car sells another slope on Estrada da Corda, still between Porto Novo and Corda.
José Cabral, from the rope
José Cabral, a Corda resident who worked in Portugal.
"Mar d'Canal"
Ferry "Mar d'Canal" during another busy crossing between Mindelo and Porto Novo.
Sea of ​​Mist
Mist advances and retreats on the Lombo da Figueira slope.
monitored fog
Mist rises to Lombo de Figueira and almost covers the local radar.
scarlet sunset
Another view of the sunset, from another point on 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.

The volcanic genesis and capricious geomorphography shaped the arid-green exuberance of Santo Antão. But not only. They also dictated an inaccessibility by air and respective isolation that only the brotherhood of São Vicente, right there on the opposite side of the homonymous channel, seems to alleviate.

If it weren't for São Vicente, Santo Antão would experience another level of Atlantic solitude.

São Vicente was confirmed as our inaugural landing point in Cape Verde. Unsurprisingly, it was from Mindelo, its capital, which we set sail for the canal, heading to Porto Novo de Santo Antão.

Almost residents of the archipelago, for months the trade winds hit both one island and the other. In such a way that, when we visited the facilities of the shipping companies in the port of São Vicente, the next crossings were to be confirmed.

Finally, with mid-afternoon, the wind gives itself. Enough to allow navigation, affected by turbulence that captains and passengers were already used to. When we embarked on the “Canal Sea”, one of the crew's first measures is to provide passengers with seasickness bags. Even if it was standard procedure, the Atlantic soon made sense of it.

The "Canal Sea” leaves Porto Grande bay behind. Glide, gently, towards the islet of Birds. As we saw the contours of the top of Monte Cara being defined, the waves of the channel formed more and more hollow ups and downs. They agitated the ferry and made it adorn without mercy. Spacedly, in such a way that, on the upper deck we were following, any sketch of displacement turned out to be an adventure.

Ferry Mar d'Canal, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Ferry “Mar d'Canal” during another busy crossing between Mindelo and Porto Novo.

We continued in this violent frenzy for a good forty minutes, at the mercy of the blue but crisp Atlantic, dotted with large crests of foam.

Gradually, Santo Antão usurped the leading role of São Vicente. The imposing slopes, full of grooves on the island's southeast coast, gained volume, shape and color. How did the multicolored houses stretched between the Ribeira do Tortolho and the port of Porto Novo where the crossing ended.

By the time of disembarkation, the sun had already disappeared towards the west of the island. We checked into the hotel. A little later, we went out again, hoping to still solve the eternal problem of the SIM card and one or two more annoyances essential to the tour through Cape Verde to which we were going to dedicate ourselves.

We walked through the alleys of the city closest to the sea, between houses and businesses tucked away in pastel colored buildings that, detached from the asphalt soil or sand and volcanic dust, disguised themselves as gaudy.

Meanwhile it gets dark. If even the Alisios surrendered to a truce and rest at night, who were we to clash.

The Vertiginous Ascent from Porto Novo to Lombo da Figueira

We wake up before the wind. We return to the Porto Novo seafront, hoping to find a car at the height of the natural roller coaster of Santo Antão. The first car we rent runs out of battery shortly thereafter. On the second attempt, we put our foot down on a pick up, more expensive but that we knew was another level of strength and reliability.

With transportation resolved, we confirmed that the most urbanized and passable section of the island was located in its upper third. Only two roads allowed travel from the largest city, Porto Novo, to the urban centers of the northeast coast of Paul, Janela, Ribeira Grande and Ponta do Sol.

One of these roads ran counterclockwise through the foothills of the northern mountains. The other ascended, without major detours, but by countless meanders, to a ridge that coincided with the limit of the municipality of Porto Novo.

Even before we leave, we stroll along the volcanic beach where the Ribeira do Tortolho flows, entertained by the contrast between the large black and polished basalt pebbles and the bright colors of the fishing boats. We appreciate them, lined up on top of the stony, in harmony with the sky and with three or four verdant acacias, like a well-considered fishing facility.

Fishing boats, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Bright fishing boats in the vicinity of Porto Novo.

From there, we went back into the houses of Porto Novo, until we found the perpendicular of the city from which Estrada da Corda departed.

In a first section, the undulating cobbles of the track take us up the slope, in a gradual and not sinuous way, in a smooth ascent that the powerful pick up conquers without effort.

At a certain point, the road reaches much steeper sections of the slope. The Rope winds itself in successive walled zigzags, between thorny bushes and more acacia trees.

Estrada da Corda, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Car sells another slope on Estrada da Corda, still between Porto Novo and Corda.

Plus this one, minus this one, we reach Lombo da Figueira. And a junction already on the border of the municipalities of Porto Novo and Paul.

The Stunning Agricultural Boiler of Cova do Paul

Forward along the way was the intriguing Paul's Cave. To the east, the road led to the Paul viewpoint and Pico da Cruz, these points, like the road itself, with some of the best views over the south of Santo Antão and the Atlantic below.

We give priority to the diversion. We stop at Paul's viewpoint. From there, we are fascinated with the subtle advances and retreats of the mist, stroking and irrigating the wooded slope below, one of the most leafy on the entire island, we would later conclude. We pass the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Graça.

Donkey loaded, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Resident guides a donkey on the edge of the mountain above Porto Novo.

In the village below, we fraternized with some Santo Antonians dressed in the cool and humid of the heights, who used to get supplies from the local drinking water tank.

We return to Estrada da Corda. After a few kilometers, we find the opening in the vegetation that provided the Miradouro da Cova.

Cova do Paul ,Santo Antão, Cape Verde

The always cultivated boiler of Cova do Paul.

Cova is one of several caldera that deepen the volcanic profile of Santo Antão. When we look at it from the side of the road, instead of the sulfuric air, an innocuous mist hangs over it, a kind of interior extension of the clouds that we had seen from the viewpoint of the Paul.

This mist is vital for the small and picturesque agricultural activity with which the people of Santo Antônio fill almost the entire kilometer of diameter of the caldera. With corn, sugar cane, cassava and, of course, stone beans. We went down. We walk around there, among the sugar cane hedges with which the peasants sprinkle the fertile land.

Peasants, Cova do Paul, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Peasants work at the bottom of Cova do Paul.

When the clouds cover it in full, a drizzle wets fools drenches us. We return to the Rope.

Arlinda, Kelly and the Castigo do Feijão-Pedra

Once in full control of Paul, we crossed Fajã de Cima. As we pass, we are attracted to the vision of a mother and daughter, sitting side by side in the sun, peeling stone beans from wicker baskets into small cans.

Stone-beans, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Hands peeling stone beans, a traditional food in Santo Antão.

Their name is Arlinda Neves, the mother.

And Kelly Neves, the daughter. “I have my brother and my daughter-in-law living there near Lisbon…where is it…ah, it's in Baixa da Bath” informs us Kelly. “We only see them once a year. This year, it's still not right.” adds and shows us a framed photograph of the couple.

Stone-beans, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Mother and daughter are shelling stone beans in their house on the edge of Estrada da Corda.

The conversation and the soft sun warmed the conviviality, so the conversation stayed with us. This, until the interlocutors finished the task and we realized that they wanted to dedicate themselves to someone else.

Estrada da Corda Below, with Pass by Corda

We return once more to Estrada da Corda. We snake through a forest of massive pine and cypress. We go around a secondary caldera, much smaller than Paul's and enter the Ribeira Grande domain.

From then on, still at an elevation of 1000 meters, up to the Corda that gave it its name, the road descends little by little.

Rope, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Pick up goes down towards Rope, and below a clothesline rope.

13km inland from the starting point of Porto Novo, more than a village, Corda maintains several hamlets and villages, among which Chã de Corda and Esponjeiro stand out. It establishes a high-altitude agricultural community above another of Santo Antão's deep craters.

In the meantime, the road detaches from Corda. It gains momentum at the top of the Ribeira Grande gorge, at intervals, between terraces now planted and now parched and colonies of sharp and exuberant agaves.

Agaves, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Agaves detached from the top of Delgadinho, the tightest passage on the Corda road.

Delgadinho's Highway Prodigy

Around this time, in communion with such intrepid flora, we arrived at the entrance to Delgadinho, a panoramic high point of Estrada da Corda.

A few peeks to one side and the other later, we confirmed that it was one of the places that best revealed the geological splendor of Santo Antão.

In practice, it is the unlikely Delgadinho that grants Estrada da Corda its continuity. Had it not been for that morphological crest modeled on the lava millions of years ago, high above the deep valleys of Ribeira da Torre and Ribeira Grande, the mountain shortcut between Porto Novo and the city of Ribeira Grande would have been impossible.

We stop at your entrance. We traversed it on foot, unsure whether we should be dazzled first by the geological sculpture on one side or the other, incredulous at both.

Ribeira Grande, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Meander of the deep gorge of Ribeira Grande, as seen from Delgadinho.

Until, out of nowhere, two people from Santo António appear. From above, a local resident appears, with a large bunch of pasture under his arm. Upwards, a motorcyclist pushed his stuck motorcycle.

Tucked into an overalls and under the shade of a cap from Super bock, José Cabral, a Corda native, realized that enough mechanics were enough. It only took a few minutes of cooperation for the duo to get around the bike. The motorcyclist thanks the help, says goodbye, disappears in the punishment of the slope.

Breakdown in Delgadinho, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Motorized breakdown in full Delgadinho.

While wiping the oil from his hands with an improvised herb shroud, José Cabral explains to us that he worked for many years in Portugal, maintaining dams.

Corda Resident, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

José Cabral, a Corda resident who worked in Portugal.

We boast about his birthplace: Corda, Delgado. St. Anthony in his blessed whole. José Cabral returns the kindness. He advises us to continue the journey always with low changes.

The Vertiginous Descent Towards Ribeira Grande

In the 7km that separated us from the final destination, from meander to meander, the slope got worse. Only the knots and counter knots of Estrada da Corda collaborated with the pick up to curb the momentum of gravity.

Van in Delgadinho, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Van goes down the narrow sidewalk of Delgadinho.

Little by little, the then dry gravel bed of Ribeira Grande becomes wider. We glimpse the first housing nuclei at its base, already close enough to the coast to soften the spartan harshness of its retreat.

Without warning, we saw the Atlantic again and at the bottom of the V that seemed to support it, poorly finished buildings, too tall to belong to a village. We were on the verge of the second city of Santo Antão.

Almost 40km later, we had reached the other end of Estrada da Corda and north of Santo Antão.

Ocaso, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Sunset as seen from the top of Delgadinho to the north.

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.
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.

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.
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.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Muktinath to Kagbeni, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Kagbeni
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexico: Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
MassKara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
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.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
View from John Ford Point, Monument Valley, Nacao Navajo, United States
Monument Valley, USA

Indians or Cowboys?

Iconic Western filmmakers like John Ford immortalized what is the largest Indian territory in the United States. Today, in the Navajo Nation, the Navajo also live in the shoes of their old enemies.
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

St. Paul's Cathedral, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina
Dominica, Soufriére and Scotts Head, island background
Soufriere e Scotts Head, Dominica

The Life That Hangs from Nature's Caribbean Island

It has the reputation of being the wildest island in the Caribbean and, having reached its bottom, we continue to confirm it. From Soufriére to the inhabited southern edge of Scotts Head, Dominica remains extreme and difficult to tame.
St. Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia, Caucasus
Winter White
Kazbegi, Georgia

God in the Caucasus Heights

In the 4000th century, Orthodox religious took their inspiration from a hermitage that a monk had erected at an altitude of 5047 m and perched a church between the summit of Mount Kazbek (XNUMXm) and the village at the foot. More and more visitors flock to these mystical stops on the edge of Russia. Like them, to get there, we submit to the whims of the reckless Georgia Military Road.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
São Jorge, Azores, Fajã dos Vimes
São Jorge, Azores

From Fajã to Fajã

In the Azores, strips of habitable land at the foot of large cliffs abound. No other island has as many fajãs as the more than 70 in the slender and elevated São Jorge. It was in them that the jorgenses settled. Their busy Atlantic lives rest on them.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
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.
Masada fortress, Israel
Natural Parks
Massada, Israel

Massada: The Ultimate Jewish Fortress

In AD 73, after months of siege, a Roman legion found that the resisters at the top of Masada had committed suicide. Once again Jewish, this fortress is now the supreme symbol of Zionist determination
Puerto Rico, San Juan, walled city, panoramic
UNESCO World Heritage
San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Highly Walled Puerto Rico of San Juan Bautista

San Juan is the second oldest colonial city in the Americas, after the Dominican neighbor of Santo Domingo. A pioneering emporium and stop over on the route that took gold and silver from the New World to Spain, it was attacked again and again. Its incredible fortifications still protect one of the most lively and prodigious capitals in the Caribbean.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
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.
Pemba, Mozambique, Capital of Cabo Delgado, from Porto Amélia to Porto de Abrigo, Paquitequete
Pemba, Mozambique

From Porto Amélia to the Shelter Port of Mozambique

In July 2017, we visited Pemba. Two months later, the first attack took place on Mocímboa da Praia. Nor then do we dare to imagine that the tropical and sunny capital of Cabo Delgado would become the salvation of thousands of Mozambicans fleeing a terrifying jihadism.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.