São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

Heart of Ribeira Brava
Church and pillory confirm the historic heart of Ribeira Brava.
Ribeira edge
A billboard gives life to a street in the capital Ribeira Brava.
Seller of a bit of everything in a store in Ribeira Brava.
Color Religion
Window of the church of Ribeira Brava lends color to the city.
Ribeira Brava
Casario da Ribeira Brava, stretched along the bed sunk by the rains.
Green Valley
View from Monte Cintinho over the Ribeira Brava valley.
One of the many sharp peaks that endow the island of São Nicolau.
dragon tree
Lush dragon tree in PN Monte Gordo.
Xavega art
Fishermen from Tarrafal extend a svavega net.
Young about “Viviano”
Young fisherman on the nets used by adults in Tarrafal.
fish wings
Small fishermen from Tarrafal show a freshly caught flying fish.
Barrel Lighthouse
The old lighthouse in Barril, on the west coast of São Nicolau.
North Bravo
Stretch of road north of São Nicolau.
Top Matinho and Praia Branca
Duo of Top de Matinho peaks, above the houses of Praia Branca.
White Beach. in color
The houses of Praia Branca, perched on the slope below the Top de Matinho.
land of sodad
Portico de Sodad, at the entrance to Praia Branca, the land is the composer of the theme, Armando Zeferino Soares .
Border of Ribeira da Prata
Village in the extension of Ribeira da Prata, in a dead end road in São Nicolau.
Great Sun of Fajã
Sun shines behind the mountains around the Fajã valley
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.

The trades, always the trades.

There is no escaping them in Cape Verde. On the crossing from São Vicente to Santo Antão, the waves they generated made the ferry sway like a nutshell. On the flight between Santiago and São Nicolau, we felt them on our skin, in the form of goose bumps, every time the TACV plane jumped in their gusts.

The final approach to Preguiça Airport, in particular, turned out to be a short film of true aeronautical horror. As it aligned with the direction of the runway, the wind hit the sideways plane. Make him go down without warning.

Time after time, to the amazement of passengers, like us, newcomers to that route and we began to doubt that the aircraft would not crash onto the runway, instead of landing on it. Finally, the pilot gives Embraer one last big jump. It completes braking in a flash and with stability that gives us confidence.

While we wait for the baggage, conversation is conversational, we unburdened ourselves with an airport employee. This one tries to confirm to us the extremism of the flight. “Because friends, as a rule, cancel us when they register 40 knots. Today, there were 36 but no wonder they caught more than 40 gusts.”

The bags arrive. In good time. Even in a humorous way, the confession had taken away our desire to investigate further. We already knew, rather than appreciated it, how much the Alisios contributed to the harshness of St. Nicholas' life.

From the airport, we take a short trip to Ribeira Brava, the largest village on the island. There we settled. For the remainder of the day, we resolved the necessary logistics around the planned tour.

Central square, Ribeira Brava, Cape Verde

Church and pillory confirm the historic heart of Ribeira Brava.

As had happened in Santo Antão, we rented a robust pick up. Afterwards, we had lunch at the bar of a well-off expatriate Italian on the island.

The Tone of Pastel Charm of Ribeira Brava

Recovered from the tribulations of flight, refreshed, we wandered to discover the nooks and crannies of Ribeira Brava.

As its name shows, after the decline of Preguiça, the village before the protagonist, has adapted to the intermediate meanders of a stream that, in rainy weather, flows with great fury along the slopes of the island's highest point, Monte Fat (1312m) below.

We were months away from this Atlantic monsoon. Both Ribeira Brava and the village lived a blessed peace. Blessed to double or not the city was now the proud seat of the diocese of Cape Verde.

We point to the central square. From the end of the alley we descended, we could hear the Creole of taxi drivers chatting by their twin Hiaces.

And, on the opposite side, in the sun that falls on the yellow, brown and white church of the Rosary, another group of elderly people, we would say retired, with time to lose themselves in the affairs of the day.

At this hot hour, the garden that extends from the cobbled crescent moon in front of the church, between the old pillory and the half-slope where the library has been arranged, belonged only to the stone wading bird that crowns the dry fountain there.

We have a look at classic family grocers, with antique wooden furniture, very solid, and a panoply of colorful packaging and products, most of them imported from Portugal and, as such, familiar.

All that afternoon, we continued to wander the gray sidewalk of the village, alley after alley, soothed by the multicolored constancy of the pastel houses.

The Musical Motto Heard in “Banana Secca”

With the inevitability of the night, fatigue and the last series of hunger of the day, we took refuge in a restaurant “Banana Secca”. There we devoured a new enriched cachupa and a peas, sweetened by puntches strong and the inevitable mornas, coladeiras, funanás and other rhythms of the islands that warm Cape Verde and the world.

Sometimes it sounds like "soda”. A different version of the one that the barefoot diva Cesária Évora immortalized. The lyrics again frame the theme in São Nicolau. We were in the urban heart of the island. Eager to explore it in search of the quintessence of sea, lava and love for others that it cost so many Sanicolauans to leave.

Saturday dawns sunny. For one or two of its morning hours, it gives us the impression that the Alísios had moved to other places. It's short-lived sun.

With the pick up ready to pick up, we left for the island.

The Monumental Ascent to the Heights of Monte Gordo

The inevitable ascent to the top of the valley into which Ribeira Brava expanded, reveals to us the whole of its houses, accommodated at the base of a hill, almost plateau, with a slope filled with lush bushes.

We reversed course to a much higher peak: that of Cachaço.

When we arrive at the earthen churchyard of Nossa Senhora Monte Cintinha Chapel, the Aliseu gale resurrects, more powerful than we had ever felt it.

We ventured onto the rocky, agave-covered promontory in the vicinity of the little church, from which, the further ahead, the more unobstructed it was revealed over the thalweg at that green height that descended towards the almost town from which we had departed.

The gusts shake us as if they wanted to stop us from photographing such beauty. With extra care and a tiny bit of unconsciousness, we stabilize our feet and legs on boulders.

Enough to fulfill the mission. We return to the path.

We revere the geological exuberance of the Monte Gordo Natural Park and the imposing dragon trees of the Fajã valley.

We are surprised by the duo of lost coconut trees, below, on a profusion of corn and other crops, against the capricious outline of the ridge around Covoada.

On the way to the North Coast

As much as we had traveled and climbed, we were still in the vicinity of Ribeira Brava. With the morning sinking into the mist that irrigated that north-facing stronghold that was the most luxurious in São Nicolau, we were forced to continue our journey towards the west coast, instead, summer to a degree that made it virtually desert.

From the green and fertile minifundia, we descend along one of the several arid ridges that furrow the west. Several kilometers of that dusty and ocher vastness later, we see the gray-cement and white houses of Tarrafal, stretched along a long Atlantic shore, enclosing a slope too irregular to be built on.

The road makes us cross the houses from top to bottom. It takes us to Avenida Assis Cadorio and the Baia do Tarrafal, which it acts as a marginal.

We stopped, seduced by the gaudy fleet of fishing boats, some in dry dock a few meters from the sea, others anchored on almost mirror water, more like a lake than a sea, the ocean.

We are in this contemplation when a sudden fishing frenzy takes over the cove.

Tarrafal. Party Interrupted by a School of Passengers

Remember that it is Saturday. At lunchtime, young fishermen from Tarrafal would fraternize at a well-watered party, taking place on the other side of the avenue, amid conversation, snacks and casual dancing. The revelry evolves at a good pace when the sea ahead summons them to work.

Despite the fun, two or three of them spot a school of fish simmering and glowing above the blue of the bay. With their lives dependent on the amount of fish, they are not begging.

They run to a large green net, little by little, helped by some kids determined to prove its usefulness, they roll it up tightly. And they deposit it on the stern of the “Viviano”, one of the most handy boats.

This preparation takes them a good quarter of an hour. But contrary to what they wanted, the school is passing through. In this lapse, they see him moving away to the high seas.

Enough to justify the return to bash at the expense of fishing.

Not everyone does it right away. Our unexpected presence and the arrival of another boat from the sea give rise to moments of interaction with some newer elements, who pose as a group on the heap of the net and show us newly caught flying fish and acrobatics cushioned by the sand.

The Fishing Genesis of Tarrafal

This time, the fish escaped the nets. However, it was fishing that put Tarrafal on São Nicolau's map. During the XNUMXth century, the village's quiet cove became a whaling harbor. It was later complemented with a fish processing unit.

These structures and the jobs they gave rise to were at the base of the promotion to a status equivalent to that of Ribeira Brava, even if with almost half of the population.

We continued to circle the island, counterclockwise, along the seafront that the imposing geological veins of the slopes did not reach. We pass Ponta do Portinho, Ribeira das Pedras and the old, weather-stained lighthouse in Barril. The road bends north.

Then it curves inland, towards the wetter heart of the island we had crossed after climbing Ribeira Brava.

The vastness we were traversing remained parched, lined with an almost shallow straw that gilded the flaps on our right. We entered the almost ellipse we were traversing on the map.

Top de Matinho, A Dazzling Expression of the Orography of São Nicolau

At a certain point, the trajectory reveals a steep forest of acacia trees and similar shrubs. And, far above, the sight of two sharp peaks, side by side, like brothers.

In the process of circling them, we saw a distant village, dispersed in more than a nucleus, part at the foot of the duo of hills, another part, higher up.

Without warning, the black sidewalk puts us in front of a portico perfectly framed with the double peak, Top de Matinho, we are later informed that it was called.

Pillars made of squares of basalt, supporting a beam with a rusty panel. A treble clef of the same material decorated the right pillar.

Despite the rust having invaded the letters on the top panel, we were able to decipher “land of sodad".

Feelings apart, even though it was already somewhat distant from the seafront, we were at the entrance to Praia Branca, the largest village in the northwest of São Nicolau. We stopped the march to photograph him.

In the process, a native of those stops passes by. Curious about the activities of outsiders, he approached us. “It was beautiful, wasn't it? You know why this is there, right?”

Praia Branca: Terra di Sodade and Its Controversy

Cesária Évora sang “Sodade” until her death and the song's eternal fame. Since 1991, the authorship of the theme has been the property of the musician duo Amândio Cabral and Luís Morais.

That was how it was until, in 2002, Armando Zeferino Soares came to demand the creation of the theme, supported by the musician Paulino Vieira.

Even if at different times, both Armando Zeferino Soares and Paulino Vieira were born in Praia Branca, the dazzling town that we had before us. Proud of the merit of Zeferino Soares, who died in April 2007, aged 77, and of having been the birthplace of “soda”, Praia Branca erected the evocative and commemorative portico “Terra di Sodad”.

But how was born "soda”? We go back to the 50's, in the middle of the Salazar era in the colonies of the Ultramar, Cape Verdeans in need often migrated to São Tomé e Príncipe where they found work in the cocoa and coffee fields.

Once they moved there, many of them stayed forever and are part of a substantial part of the São Tomé population. It was in this context that Armando Zeferino Soares composed “soda".

The year was 1954. With no great alternatives and some hope, four Sanicolau residents: José Nascimento Firmino, José da Cruz Gomes and the couple Mário Soares and Maria Francisca Soares formed the pioneer group of migrants from São Nicolau to the islands of Ecuador.

At that time, it was tradition for the countrymen who stayed to say goodbye to the music of those who left. The lyrics of “Sodade” convey the pain of seeing them leave without knowing if they would ever see each other again.

Over the years and the auditions, the genuineness and intensity of the emotions of the departure and migration from São Nicolau made him “soda” the hymn to Cape Verdean emigration.

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.

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.    
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.
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.
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.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Hikers on the Ice Lake Trail, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 7th - Braga - Ice Lake, Nepal

Annapurna Circuit – The Painful Acclimatization of the Ice Lake

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Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Architecture & Design
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Full Dog Mushing
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

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knights of the divine, faith in the divine holy spirit, Pirenopolis, Brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
Nahuatl celebration

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.

Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
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.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
North Island, New Zealand, Maori, Surfing time
North Island, New Zealand

Journey along the Path of Maority

New Zealand is one of the countries where the descendants of settlers and natives most respect each other. As we explored its northern island, we became aware of the interethnic maturation of this very old nation. Commonwealth as Maori and Polynesia.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

A Lost and Found City
Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas

As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.
Albreda, Gambia, Queue
Bar a Kunta Kinteh, Gâmbia

Journey to the Origins of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

One of the main commercial arteries of West Africa, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, the Gambia River was already navigated by Portuguese explorers. Until the XNUMXth century, much of the slavery perpetrated by the colonial powers of the Old World flowed along its waters and banks.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Merida to Los Nevados borders of the Andes, Venezuela
Mérida, Venezuela

Merida to Los Nevados: in the Andean Ends of Venezuela

In the 40s and 50s, Venezuela attracted 400 Portuguese but only half stayed in Caracas. In Mérida, we find places more similar to the origins and the eccentric ice cream parlor of an immigrant portista.
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.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
Natural Parks
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Armenia Cradle Christianity, Mount Aratat
UNESCO World Heritage

The Cradle of the Official Christianity

Just 268 years after Jesus' death, a nation will have become the first to accept the Christian faith by royal decree. This nation still preserves its own Apostolic Church and some of the oldest Christian temples in the world. Traveling through the Caucasus, we visit them in the footsteps of Gregory the Illuminator, the patriarch who inspires Armenia's spiritual life.
Heroes Acre Monument, Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwewe

The Last Rales of Surreal Mugabué

In 2015, Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe said the 91-year-old president would rule until the age of 100 in a special wheelchair. Shortly thereafter, it began to insinuate itself into his succession. But in recent days, the generals have finally precipitated the removal of Robert Mugabe, who has replaced him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Gizo, Solomon Islands

A Saeraghi Young Singers Gala

In Gizo, the damage caused by the tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands is still very visible. On the coast of Saeraghi, children's bathing happiness contrasts with their heritage of desolation.
Balinese Hinduism, Lombok, Indonesia, Batu Bolong temple, Agung volcano in background
Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok: Balinese Hinduism on an Island of Islam

The foundation of Indonesia was based on the belief in one God. This ambiguous principle has always generated controversy between nationalists and Islamists, but in Lombok, the Balinese take freedom of worship to heart
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

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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.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
El Tatio Geisers, Atacama, Chile, Between ice and heat
El Tatio, Chile

El Tatio Geysers – Between the Ice and the Heat of the Atacama

Surrounded by supreme volcanoes, the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Atacama Desert it appears as a Dantesque mirage of sulfur and steam at an icy 4200 m altitude. Its geysers and fumaroles attract hordes of travelers.
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.