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.
Trade
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.
Pico-Pyramid
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.
Lion, Elephants, PN Hwange, Zimbabwe
Safari
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

On July 1, 2015, Walter Palmer, a dentist and trophy hunter from Minnesota killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. The slaughter generated a viral wave of outrage. As we saw in PN Hwange, nearly two years later, Cecil's descendants thrive.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal,

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
Architecture & Design
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.
Adventure
Boat Trips

For Those Becoming Internet Sick

Hop on and let yourself go on unmissable boat trips like the Philippine archipelago of Bacuit and the frozen sea of ​​the Finnish Gulf of Bothnia.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Itamaraty Palace Staircase, Brasilia, Utopia, Brazil
Cities
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasília: from Utopia to the Capital and Political Arena of Brazil

Since the days of the Marquis of Pombal, there has been talk of transferring the capital to the interior. Today, the chimera city continues to look surreal but dictates the rules of Brazilian development.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Meal
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
intersection
Culture
Hungduan, Philippines

Country Style Philippines

The GI's left with the end of World War II, but the music from the interior of the USA that they heard still enlivens the Cordillera de Luzon. It's by tricycle and at your own pace that we visit the Hungduan rice terraces.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Sport
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.
Devils Marbles, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path
Traveling
Alice Springs to Darwin, Australia

Stuart Road, on its way to Australia's Top End

Do Red Center to the tropical Top End, the Stuart Highway road travels more than 1.500km lonely through Australia. Along this route, the Northern Territory radically changes its look but remains faithful to its rugged soul.
Resident of Nzulezu, Ghana
Ethnic
Nzulezu, Ghana

A Village Afloat in Ghana

We depart from the seaside resort of Busua, to the far west of the Atlantic coast of Ghana. At Beyin, we veered north towards Lake Amansuri. There we find Nzulezu, one of the oldest and most genuine lake settlements in West Africa.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Selfie, Hida from Ancient and Medieval Japan
History
Takayama, Japan

From the Ancient Japan to the Medieval Hida

In three of its streets, Takayama retains traditional wooden architecture and concentrates old shops and sake producers. Around it, it approaches 100.000 inhabitants and surrenders to modernity.
Christiansted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, Steeple Building
Islands
Christiansted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

The Capital of the Afro-Danish-American Antilles

In 1733, Denmark bought the island of Saint Croix from France, annexed it to its West Indies where, based at Christiansted, it profited from the labor of slaves brought from the Gold Coast. The abolition of slavery made colonies unviable. And a historic-tropical bargain that the United States preserves.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Almada Negreiros, Roça Saudade, Sao Tome
Literature
Saudade, São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

Almada Negreiros: From Saudade to Eternity

Almada Negreiros was born in April 1893, on a farm in the interior of São Tomé. Upon discovering his origins, we believe that the luxuriant exuberance in which he began to grow oxygenated his fruitful creativity.
Early morning on the lake
Nature

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

Nantou is Taiwan's only province isolated from the Pacific Ocean. Those who discover the mountainous heart of this region today tend to agree with the Portuguese navigators who named Taiwan Formosa.

Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Natural Parks
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

If the almost antipode tazzie is already a australian world apart, what about its inhospitable western region. Between Devonport and Strahan, dense forests, elusive rivers and a rugged coastline beaten by an almost Antarctic Indian ocean generate enigma and respect.
Ruins, Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia
UNESCO World Heritage
Discovering Tassie, Part 2 - Hobart to Port Arthur, Australia

An Island Doomed to Crime

The prison complex at Port Arthur has always frightened the British outcasts. 90 years after its closure, a heinous crime committed there forced Tasmania to return to its darkest times.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Characters
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Beaches
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.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Religion
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Pisang, Nepal,

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Ngawal when the last snow faded.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Sentosa Island, Singapore, Family on Sentosa Artificial Beach
Society
Sentosa, Singapore

Singapore's Fun Island

It was a stronghold where the Japanese murdered Allied prisoners and welcomed troops who pursued Indonesian saboteurs. Today, the island of Sentosa fights the monotony that gripped the country.
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.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Wildlife
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.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.
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