Sunday, 6 February 2011
Day 8, Sun 6th February, Mindelo, Sao Vicente Island, Cape Verde
We woke about 7.30 as the ship was sailing into dock, so we dashed upstairs, Peter with camera in hand as usual. Our first impression is that this island has a lot of little, but steep sided mountains or hills, and the port has hundreds of boats. Big boats, little boats, rusty boats, posh boats, from all places and of all types. Amazing!
Even though it was still hazy it was really warm. Sadly it stayed hazy all day. The skyline looked fantastic, but it was never clear enough to see or photo properly.
After breakfast we went exploring. Mindelo is the main town of St Vincent Island. The island used to be controlled by Portugal, but became independent in the 70’s. I can only describe the town as shabby, but in a nice sort of way. It’s Sunday, so everywhere is closed, and there is also an election going on, but we managed to find a shop full of the most amazing local art & crafts. The sculptures and carvings were brilliant, some of them massive, and difficult to carry back to the ship, but fantastic anyway. I was sorely tempted but Peter was with me.........
I’ve added loads of pictures just to give a feel for the place. It was odd how beautifully and colourfully maintained buildings stood next to the run down and tatty ones. Several open areas and large buildings looked like someone had spent a lot of time creating and building them, but once that bit was done, no-one bothered to look after it. Some very noticeable inhabitants of the town were the dogs and cats. They seemed to be stray, but did not beg or pester, growl or run. I have never seen such relaxed animals. They were curled up and sleeping just about anywhere, including the road! (At first, I thought the dog had been hit by a car, but he was just having a nap.)
It was amazing how they strolled about, crossing the road and stopping traffic, ignoring you unless you held your hand out to be friendly. They were just so chilled, like the whole town really. We came back to the ship for lunch, we’d not seen anywhere that we wanted to eat at, although there is a beautifully, modern, sort of tourist attractive complex near the marina with posh looking restaurants, expensive art and a pool.
Like everywhere in Mindelo, it seemed cheap enough but we wanted to walk back to the ship to collect our thoughts and decide what to do next. And after lunch, which was out on deck, “next” was a visit to the beach. If you turn right as you exit “Port Grande”, you end up in Mindelo town. If you turn left, you end up in the area they seem to be developing (lots of new buildings going up) and the little beach.
We spent a very leisurely couple of hours there. It was quiet when we arrived, but did get busier as the afternoon wore on. I have to say, watching the St Vincentians, I was reminded of the Brazil I’ve seen on tele. I have been careful all day, and I sat in the shade, knowing how easily I burn.
We came back to the ship at 4, ready for it to get away at 5, but it was running a bit late. So they had a sail away party at 5, whilst the boat stayed in dock, and the ship pulled away from the pier at 6 when they’d finished clearing up.
It was back in the cabin that we noticed my precautions had been in vain. I have the reddest v neck ever, and my arms can glow in the dark! So for all you lasses at work, yes, I should have a tan when I get back.