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Newfoundland, the East Side

We hit it lucky. Had no idea that Canada was celebrating its 150th anniversary. That means free admission to all National Parks and National Historical Sites all year. Our costs have been cut in half.Gros MorneUpon our return from Labrador, we backtrack to Gros Morne National Park, and catch the last campsite available on this busy Labor Day weekend.20170907_170620Onward to the east coast of Newfoundland. Near the town of Twillingate, we camp in the rain at Dildo Run Provincial Park. From there we hike to Nanny’s hole. Some dirty minds are at work here. We must ask about this.Hike Twilingate“You’re the first ones to ask me how we got the name,” the ranger jokes. “Dildos are the pegs around a ship’s steering wheel.” I didn’t want to ask about the nearby Nanny’s Hole or Cuckold trails. I read that Captain James Cook had a sense of humor back in 1763.hike cupids On the way to Butter Pot Provincial Park, we stop at England’s first colony in Canada. The town of Cupids boasts the gorgeous Burnt Head trail, (I’m not making this up), lined with billions of wild blueberries, upon which we walk and feast.berriesInstead of Cupids, it’s the nearby town of Brigus that grabs our hearts.BrigusFull of historical significance and charm, (during WWI Rockwell Kent the American painter lived here, before being deported for suspicion of spying) we marvel at the waterfront and the Brigus Tunnel.tunnelConstructed so that Arctic explorer Captain Robert Bartlett, the town’s most famous citizen, could easily access his ship, the tunnel was cut through rock in the 1860’s. Brigus waterDriving around this Province we notice huge and abundant piles of wood along the road. “What is with the wood?” we ask a local man.woodHe explains that each “NewfenLander” gets 10 cords free yearly, with permits for specific areas. Yes, they must chop, stack, and haul their own.20170910_064534Back at the Butter Pot campground, moose roam in the fog of morning mist.easterly pointOn the way to the city of St. John’s, we fulfill our fascination with extreme geographical points. Cape Spear marks the most easterly point in North America. (Nome, South Africa, Portugalhike cape spearA trail hugs the cliffs and weaves inland where again, wild blueberries abound.cape spearAfter all this camping and hiking, it’s time for a hotel splurge. Besides, the truck needs servicing and the rain has returned. 20170910_110356The JAG Boutique Hotel in the city of St. John’s is the hippest place we have ever stayed. What could be better than a hotel filled with images and uninterrupted music of an eclectic array of musicians and bands?20170910_110255It’s hard to pull ourselves away from the JAG radio station on our TV to watch football. Now that is saying something!St JohnsWe fall in love with the city of St. John’s immediately. An attractive city with a small- town feel. Colorful houses sit on hilly streets surrounding a sheltered harbor. Full of innovative restaurants, friendly pubs, and live music, what’s not to love?

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Labrador

Our guidebook describes the Labrador Straits as cold, wet, and windy. Even so, we could not drive this far north in Newfoundland without seeing it.20170909_111103After a turbulent ferry ride, thanks to remnants of hurricane Harvey, we can’t wait to drive off the boat. Bring on the wind and rain.20170901_161329We quickly abandon plans to camp, and wild ideas about driving the 775 miles on the mostly gravel road to Labrador City.RoadInstead, we find a cottage with a sea view. There must be a sea out there somewhere beyond the rain and fog.red bay 2Fortunately, the beauty of this pristine, rugged land reveals itself to us the following morning when the skies clear for several hours.road 1Let’s drive north as far as the paved road permits, which isn’t very far.signArtifacts from Basque whalers at the Red Bay National Historic Site describe how this area was the largest whaling port in the world during the 16th-century.red bayHard to imagine how fishermen braved the wind in these icy waters. Many shipwrecks lie under this ocean. Shoot, even the mud puddles have wind-blown whitecaps!shipwreck betterFew restaurants in these parts, so we cook comfort food in our cottage. Fresh cod tongues sauté with scallops in the kitchen tonight. Melt in your mouth.dinnerLabrador’s population is under 27,000 people. We think half of them attended the wedding held in our hotel. As the party spills into the parking area we receive numerous invites to join the celebration.River Time to catch the ferry this final morning. A clear, sunny day allows us to see what we missed when we first drove in from the dock.

Lab 2We have only scratched the surface of this cold, wet, and windy land and its hearty people. So grateful to have seen it.
 

 

 

New Found Land, the West Side

The NFLD Ferry swallows our Toyota Pick-up for a smooth, six-hour ride to Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.Port au BasquesWe waste no time finding a Provincial Park, and light a campfire before dark. Brrr…, taking a pee under the stars in the cold night reminds one that they’re alive.

sunriseIn the morning, forget about cooking coffee. A brisk 42 degrees Fahrenheit convinces us to hightail it to “Tim Horton’s.” If you’re on a road trip through Canada, remember that Tim Horton’s is your drive-through coffee/snack friend!Tableland campsiteWelcome to Gros Morne National Park, where glaciers, frost, and flowing water have carved deep lakes and fjords out of bedrock. Some of these tectonic plates, the earth’s mantle, have traveled here from as far away as the equator to heave mountains into place. Plants can’t even grow on some of this strange rock.20170830_124623  A steady upward trail passes meat-eating plants. The Pitcher Plant is the floral emblem of Newfoundland and Labrador.flowerThe mountain top views of the area remind us of the Mt. Riley trail in Alaska, but geographically older, thus minus jagged, snow-capped peaks.

LO trail view Lookout trailHiking/walking coastal trails surround the working port of St. Anthony. Fresh air and rugged wilderness leave us lightheaded.Hiking St. AnthonyEven local folks come out to the lighthouse in the morning to sip coffee with a view. One man teaches me how to pronounce the name of his province, “NewfenLAND.” He tells a story about the boat being tugged in the bay.boat tow“My brother was on that fishing boat,” he says. “He was stuck out at sea without a rudder for two days before being rescued. Can you imagine being at the mercy of wind and tides for two days?”Cod tongues 2

Instead of going fishing for cod, we order at a restaurant. I order cod tongues, which are the fleshy lower jaw lightly fried, while Marilynn gets fish’n brewis, which is salted cod, hard tac, onions and scrunchins (fried salt pork!). Excellent!Fish n brewisTo the top of the island with you, Viking! Yes, Leif Erikson first landed right here.

LeifThe Vikings constructed sod buildings for living and storage.sod house 2Decomposing plants from bogs and fens in this area produce acids, which leach iron and other minerals from the soil and bedrock.Leif areaWhen the iron rusts, it adheres to sand and peat particles, forming nodules of bog iron. The Vikings forged bog iron into boat rivets. Could this be Newfoundland’s first blast furnace?Leif area 4A young couple gathers bakeapple berries (cloud berries) that grow in the bogs and fens. They spend a lot of time gathering wild berries to make jams and other delights to supplement the fish, moose, and caribou that will fill their freezer for winter.picking cloud berriesWe could spend more time with these friendly folks, and have much more to see in Newfoundland, but first will ferry over to explore Labrador. Stay tuned!

Nova Scotia, Loving New Scotland

Tide coming inWelcome to the highest ocean tides in the world. Folks around Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia adapt to tides from 47 to 54 feet.

IMG_2389We start to set up camp in Advocate Harbour, when a woman calls us over to her car, which contains seven small yapping terriers. “I know a campsite with much better ambiance,” she says. “Get your money back and follow me. It’s a bit hard to find. I’m Glenda. I’ve had three concussions.”Eagles on Bay of FundyOkay, how can we refuse that offer? Fifteen minutes later we set up camp on the edge of the Bay of Fundy at low tide, and watch eagles feast on easy prey. Yes, this former shipyard turned campground turns out to be a gem. Thank you, Glenda!Camping on Bay of FundyIn the morning as we watch the tide return, two women walk past our campsite carrying bags full of what we surmise to be clams. “Oh no,” Jan says. “This is dulse.” She grabs a handful and shows us. “Seaweed?” I ask. “Yes. We come here every year during a new moon to collect enough to last all year.” She explains that you dry it out in the sun until it gets crispy. “I like to leave the sea salt on it, but some people wash it first. It’s good for the blood.”Drying DulseDulse contains a bunch of minerals like potassium and iron. Supposed to improve vision, immunity, bones, thyroid, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the brain. We now carry a bag of it in the truck and chew some every day. Thank you, Jan. We need all the brain help possible!Cape dOr LighthouseAfter an outing to explore the Cape d’Or Lighthouse, we return to camp and watch the tide surround us. Soon we sleep to the sound of waves lapping within a few feet of our truck.Cape Chignecto 2Let’s hike part of the Coastal Trail in Cape Chignecto, an isolated wilderness area. Filled with many sea cliff views, this heart-pumper provides a sweaty workout.Three sistersDuring the drive back to camp, we must wait in the truck for the road to clear from high tide. Good opportunity for a cold one. high tideWe have lots of fun driving around Nova Scotia, stopping in cool fishing villages for tastes of local craft beers and seafood delights.LunenburgMarilynn finally finds some oysters to her liking, and I find scallops. As you can tell, folks are beyond friendly. Nova Scotia scallopsAfter a week of camping, the rains decide to pour, presenting perfect timing for some luxury. We splurge on a harbor view room at the Cambridge Suites in Halifax. The hotel feels so good that I don’t leave it, not for one step, except from the parking lot. Marilynn walks around town in the rain, while I write in the luxurious room.

20170824_064542We happen to hit the hotel on Wednesday, when they have free drinks and hors d’oeuvres for an hour in the evening. Of course, we make friends with the free drink guy. Follow up in the morning with free breakfast, a gym workout complete with sauna and jacuzzi, and we’re strong, clean, ready for more camping and hiking.WhycocomaughDriving the Cabot trail offers diverse scenery and excellent hiking opportunities.

Driving

Driving 2Perhaps we expect to see more dramatic vistas due to the hype, but it’s still nice and will be spectacular when the fall colors come.IvernessAlong the Celidh Trail, the scenery reminds us of Scotland. Of course, we have never been to Scotland, but almost feel as though we’re there.

Skyline Trail 2The Skyline Trail wraps around an easy five-mile loop through boreal forest and coastal views. Fenced-off areas keep moose out so that the forest can grow.Hiking Skyline Trail 1Otherwise, moose consume the saplings, leaving the terrain barren. Our good luck continues when we spot a mama moose eating the forest, despite the crowds and fences. MooseBack at camp, to hell with lobster utensils. We have an ax!LobsterThe first lighthouse in Canada was in Louisbourg. It’s no longer there, but they built one to replace it. Louisbourg LighthouseThe Lighthouse Trail traverses about 4 miles, weaving between boreal and Acadia forest, over bogs and fens, and Precambrian polished granite on the coastline.HIkeThe French fought off the British here, and many shipwrecks lie somewhere under that ocean.MareOkay, it’s time to clean-up again, this time at Mountain Vista Seaside Cottages in Bras d’Or. We’ll cook our own food and reorganize the truck for the morning ferry ride to…, drum roll…, Newfoundland!

 

 

Escaping the Eclipse in Northeast Canada

While hordes of folks in the US flock to the diagonal line of the total eclipse across the country, Marilynn and I take a road/camping trip in the opposite direction towards Nova Scotia (New Scotland) Canada. We’ll sleep under the cap of our truck for the next two months or so.

home

First, though, we revisit the Bar Harbor campsite in Maine where a few years ago (Click here for previous post) we ordered lobster dinner delivered to our tent. Well, they still deliver. Two lobsters, two ears of corn, and two dozen mussels delivered to the camp for $31.95!

Lobster delivered to campsite

Hello, New Brunswick, Canada! We camp for several nights, sleeping in cool, fresh air. Starting to mellow-out, Canadian style.

PEI

A short hike to the flower pots at Hopewell Rocks provides a worthy walk on the ocean floor at low tide.

Hopewell Cape

Time to drive the “longest bridge in the world over icy waters,” that strides the ocean for eight miles.

Bridge to PEI

It’s the only way to drive to Prince Edward Island, where red dirt, shores, and lush views of rolling farmland make for intense scenery,

Westcoasst PEI

Drink craft beers, and devour fresh seafood in one of the numerous small fishing villages.

Farm land

Could we ever get sick of lobster and other shell fish? We intend to find out.

oysters

Usually, we travel in the off-season, and enjoy cheap prices and scarce crowds. Currently, we travel in the heart of high season, when everyone that can is trying to take in one last holiday.

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Campgrounds with no vacancy surprise us, but we always seem to grab a tent spot where we can sleep in the back of our pick-up truck. Geez, many Canadians already live in the wilderness. I find it curious that so many go camping when on holiday.

PEI fishing village 2

Onward to North Cape, the northern tip of PEI. We spot three men raking in seaweed, sorting through it, filling up a truckload. Marilynn asks what they are gathering.

Harvesting 3

“Irish moss,” John says. He shows us a handful. “We sell it to a farmer who dries it for feed for his cows.

Irish Moww

They’ve found it to be an unlikely weapon against global warming. The combination of Irish Moss and other seaweeds has shown to nearly eliminate the methane content of cow burps and farts.

Invasive

John eats a spoonful of it every morning. “It’s rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.” He went on to explain that they extract carrageen from Irish moss, which is used as a thickener and stabilizer in milk products. It is also used as a clarifying agent in beer and some wine, and used to be produced industrially. Well that’s good enough for us.

PEI potatoes

Okay, Canada. We love your clean air, laidback friendly folks, and fresh seasonal food, including new potatos. What’s not to love, eh? The scenery grows more intense the farther we travel. Stay tuned, it’s aboowt time to check out Nova Scotia in the next blog post.

 

Last Days in Lisbon, Portugal

After renting a car and driving most of Portugal for ten days, we spend the last five nights in the great city of Lisbon. Full of historical/naval significance (the longest reigning modern European Colonial empire in history), shops, boutiques, museums, and cafés fill the buildings and fortresses of years past.

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Pedestrian walkway in Lisbon

Fabulous food and dramatic coastline emerge as our main travel theme of the entire Portuguese adventure.

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Views of the river from Lisbon

We find the final entrée on our “food list” in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant across the street from our poorly located hotel.

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Morcela de arroz – Blood sausage made with pigs blood and rice

Morcela (pig blood in sausage casing). Not too bad when mixed with rice. A tad too strong for us in its pure form.

pig blood

Pig blood baby

“You must try our other Portuguese tradition, Bacalhau a’ Bra’s,” (salt dried cod mixed with hash-browns) Antonio, our waiter says.

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Bacalhau a’ Bra’s

Well, all meals cannot claim a savoy title. The cod claims the title of “least favorite,” beating out Caracois (snails) by a fish bone.

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Caracois – “Poor man’s snails”

Our hotel’s location demands six-mile (round trip) sweaty walks to the center of Lisbon where the good cafés exist.

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Lisbon

A great way to burn off excesses of the past three weeks. Walking moves faster than traffic once the city awakens. Many guys try to sell me hash, weed, and cocaine along the way.

lisbon

Lisbon

“Those guys don’t have good stuff,” Antonio the waiter explains. “They are from Romania and just rip people off.”

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Lisbon on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Along with a poor location, our hotel offers see-through walls surrounding the bathroom. I don’t care how much you love your travel partner, some activities in the bathroom need to remain private. (Especially after eating blood sausage and snails)

We take three subway lines, and then a train to what guidebooks claim is the “must do day-trip from Lisbon – Sintra.”

Castelo

Castelo dos Mouros near Sintra

The city of Sintra disappoints. Although a walk through old forest up to the Moorish fortress and palace proves exhilarating, elbow to elbow tourists deplete our remaining energy.

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Palacio National da Pena in Sintra

The next day, we hop onto the “Hop and Ride” tour bus to the coastal tourist destination of Cascais.

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The cliffs near Cascias

If you’re going to do a tourist area, this would be the best spot in our opinion. Full of beautiful beaches and magnificent coastline, cafés compete for your palate pleasures.

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The beach in Cascais

To wrap-up Portugal according to our style of travel, we prefer the laid-back atmosphere in the small coastal towns.

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Green lip mussels

Feasting on an array of seafood, amidst waves crashing on cliffs and rocks, will stay with us more than historical accounts of greatness. But that’s just us.

 

 

 

 

 

A Portuguese Feast

It’s time to drive north through Portugal’s mountainous interior in search of meat and liquor. Melt-in-your-mouth “piglet cooked in wood oven” starts things off perfectly in the town of Monchique.

piglet

Piglet

José, the proprietor at our guesthouse Casa Mirante, shows us the fruit he uses to make medronho, a local brandy/moonshine, also known as “firewater.” Private distilling is tolerated, keeping this Portuguese tradition alive.

Jose

Jose

The fest continues late into the evening with peri-peri chicken and more medronho moonshine. Oops, suddenly even the street statues aren’t safe!

ron

Too much moonshine!

We’d do well to regroup the next morning with sardines for breakfast.

sardines

Perhaps it’s time to seek spiritual healing with a visit to the megaliths outside the town of Evora. Appearing around the sixth to fourth millennium BC, this large circular stand of stones represents one of the oldest monuments of humankind. Nobody knows exactly why they are here. Theories abound. If that’s not spiritual, what is?

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Megaliths near Evora

A drive through groves of olive and cork trees brings us to the medieval town of Evora.

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Stripped cork trees near Evora

Relics from Greeks, Romans, and Moors appear here.

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Evora

Our good fortune continues, as we happen to visit during the annual street fair. Who cares if we can’t find the hotel, while the GPS lady yells at us due to road closures? Bring on the street food! We’ll leave the moonshine alone tonight.

quail eggs blood sausage

Fried quail eggs and blood sausage

Continuing to the northern coast, the city of Porto greets us with beauty and delight.

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Our castle in Porto

We spend two nights in a renovated castle, and feast on the local traditional dish of pork tripe with beans.

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Cafés line the river and streets in this friendly city.

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porto 2

We make friends while sharing glasses of Port (we are in Porto).

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Making friends in Porto

Francesinha, a sandwich of egg, meat and ham smothered in melted cheese and sauce, is the local hangover cure.

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Francesinha

Back on the beach, the town of Ericeira grabs our heart.

Ericeira

Ericeira

Known for sun, surf, and seafood, it’s a smaller town, close to Lisbon, and offers a laid-back atmosphere.

goose neck

Goose neck barnacles

This would be a perfect place for an extended stay.

lobster

Lobster

For now, it’s off to Lisbon to wrap up our Portuguese adventure.

Celebrate Portugal’s Delights: The Best Meal in Three Weeks

After three weeks of hiking and public transportation around the hot Cape Verde Islands in West Africa, it’s time for some cooler temperature and creature comfort. Once we land in Lisbon, Portugal we indulge in the independence of a rental car in search of excellent food and scenic drives. Our car includes a “hot spot” which provides internet and google navigation from our cellphone. Let’s go! A road map would be useless on these infinite streets with no names.

looking back at Lisbon

Looking back at Lisbon from Costa de Caparica

We stop in Costa da Caparica, a short drive and hot spot for tourists. Enter our first delightful celebration in the form of seafood pizza and beer. Finish with wine and cockles and shrimp sautéed in garlic. Our best meal in three weeks.

couldnt wait

All that is left of “one of the best meals in three weeks”

Let’s head south to the laid-back beach town of Vila Nova de Milfontes for some raw oysters and octopus salad. Our best meal in three weeks.

octopus salad

Octopus salad

We will eat our way through Portugal. Delightful.

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Near the lighthouse south of Vila Nova de Milfontes

Our waiter for dinner that evening, Antonio, explains that he works 12 hours each day, with a two-hour break in the afternoon.

seafood platter

Seafood platter

He recommends the seafood platter crowded with shrimp, lobster, fish chunks, and an array of shellfish. Our best meal in three weeks.

Rota trail

The Rota Vicentina walking trail

Along the way south, we spend the day hiking a segment of the Rota Vicentina walking trail.

Rota

Views from Rota Vincentina walking trail

No need to bring sleeping gear, as the 217-mile trail cuts through small villages where hikers can secure food and lodging.

Rota 1

More scenery from Rota Vicentina walking trail

We stop in the small town of Zambujeira do Mar for a seafood salad lunch. Yet more delight.

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Zambujeira do Mar

Driving through broccoli-like forest, we reach the most southwestern point in Europe, Cabo de Sao Vicente.

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Broccoli trees

Cool temperatures and harsh wind with spurts of rain greet us at this hot surfing spot.

Cabo

It is a rainy, windy day at Cabo de Sao Vicente

Time to celebrate with wine and Cataplana Mariscos (like paella but no rice, just various seafood with potato), again, our best meal in three weeks.

Cataplana

Cataplana – the Portuguese version of paella

The sun shines in the town of Sagres. We delight in dramatic cliffs and secluded beaches.

beaches

Just one of the many secluded beaches in southern Portugal

Searching for coffee in the morning, a stranger who speaks no English motions for us to get into his car. We do, and he peels rubber flying down a straight road. We’re beginning to wonder.

Dramatic scenery near Sagres

Then he stops and lets us out at a local coffee/bakery off the main road. The kindness of strangers – traveling’s greatest delight. Stay tuned, as we continue to celebrate Portugal. Maybe we will have out best meal yet.

 

Santo Antao Island, Cape Verde: Made for Hikers

We ride up a snaking cobblestone road that separates many fertile valleys, canyons, and Ribeiras of Santo Antao Island.

Road to cova

Ron up in the clouds on the road to Cova de Paul. Ribeiras on both sides!

The town of Ribeira Grande is the gateway to the island’s Gothic-like volcanic peaks.

town of Ribeira Grande

Town of Ribeira Grande on Santo Antao

Ribeira de Torre

Looking up Ribeira de Torre

Visitors come here to hike. So, here we go. The driver drops us off in a volcano crater carpeted with crops and fruit trees, better known as Cova de Paul.

climb out of crater

First we have to climb out of the crater

From here, we trek out of the crater and then into the Ribeira do Paul. The trail switchbacks down for about three sun-exposed hours, to our guesthouse in the middle of nowhere.

switchbacks

Just part of the long walk down

Stop to take in views of villages below, where block houses cling to the side of jagged peaks, often blending in with the scene.

civilization 1

Cha Joao Vaz village

Terraces with crops of all kinds layer the peaks that we descend. This ribeira is best known for its grogue (strong alcohol).

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Typical homesteads in Ribeira do Paul

The trail eventually transforms back into the cobblestone road, and passes through several small villages. Friendly locals always greet us and often give a “thumbs up.” We stop briefly for a cold beer and plate of fresh goat cheese.

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Lunch at O Curral

Back at our guest house in the middle of nowhere, the shower still does not work. I’m sore in strange places. We lay on our bed, soaked in sweat, and listen to the drunken proprietor rant and rave at phantom tourists, or perhaps, at his partner. Doors slam and employees scatter. Eventually, the electricity turns on and we shower. Refreshed and renewed, we decide to leave the drunken proprietor’s place, despite having booked for another night. Let’s find some peace and quiet in the coastal village of Ponta do Sol.

ponta do sol

Ponta do Sol

We sit on a balcony and bask in the cool breeze. Sip beer, and stare at the ocean.

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Our favorite drinking hole in Ponta do Sol – Veleiro

Fisherman clean their daily catch of tuna and eel on shore. Children dive from rocks and swim in the turbulent pools.

active harbor

The active harbor at Ponta do Sol

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Kids will be kids

The streets come alive with warm and friendly people each evening. They often try to have conversations with us in a language we cannot understand. We are beginning to feel like locals as we recognize not just the people, but some of the free roaming dogs as well.

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Ron making friends, drinking grogue, and eating chicken

Time for a change from hiking the ribeiras. We follow yet another cobblestone road, this one hugging jagged cliffs that drop into the ocean below us.

hiking cliffs

Hiking to Fontainhaus

We stop in the small village of Fontainhas for refreshment. Again, folks all wave and greet.

hiking in to F

Leaving Fontainhaus

Back at Ponta do Sol, we watch children and adults alike enjoy the water and each other. Gentle and genuine best describes the people of Cape Verde. Throughout these past three weeks, we have felt nothing but welcome.

Saturday afternoon

Saturday afternoon in Ponta do Sol

As for tonight, we must decide on dinner of either Cachupa (national dish of corn, beans, herbs, cassava, sweet potato and sometimes with meat), or should we try the baked goat? Life is good.

From Rolling with it to Dancing with it in Mindelo, Sao Vicente

We expect difficult travel in West Africa. Here in Cape Verde, which we call “West Africa Light,” (click on previous posts Ghana, Togo, Benin) the mindset of “just roll with it” works fine, but doesn’t make travel any easier. Last-minute flight cancellations (four thus far) happen, and it’s best to have wiggle room rather than be on a tight schedule.

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“Rolling with it!”

We’re exhausted, and there’s something draining about the African sun that is beyond mere temperature readings. Binter Airlines cancels our flight and comps us a room at the “Seafood Hotel” in Sao Filipe, on the island of Fogo, that comes with a meal of fried fish or chicken. I believe that nobody comes to Cape Verde for the cuisine. After a bottle of fine Fogo wine, we don’t mind getting up at 4:00AM for the rescheduled flight, until morning of course.

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You don’t come to Cape Verde for the food

When our two-prop plane finally shoots down the runway for take-off, Marilynn whaps me in the arm with her elbow.

“That guy across from you is freaking out!”

“I’m on the wrong flight!” he yells. He stands up and tries to bolt for the emergency exit.

The flight attendant and I make him sit, and eventually calm him down. Now, I’m his best friend, and am forced to listen to him bitch about the airline company the entire flight. I just nod, and am grateful that this flight duration is only forty-five minutes. Roll with it. (He’s lucky he wasn’t on a flight in the USA)

Mindelo

Mindelo Harbor

We land in the port city of Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente. Set on a natural harbor, full of cafés and music, we instantly love this lively place.

man in boat

Dancing in the streets of Mindelo

It is a nice break from the silence of Fogo Island.

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Many cafes have live music

Enter our short attention span…, how long can we watch the active fish market by day, and explore the back alleys full of restaurants and live music at night? Three days.

fishermen

Just outside the fish market

 

view from room

Looking at the Presidential Palace from our terrace

They hand out vomit bags on a one-hour ferry ride to our fourth island, Santo Antao.

view from ferry

Leaving Sao Vicente

Avoiding seasickness, we soon fight motion sickness on land, while riding in a packed Collectivo that whips around dramatic coastal scenery.

coastal road

Driving the coastal road of Santo Antao

Once the driver turns inland and uphill, volcanic craggy mountains conceal lush, green canyons.

Paul

Next stop – Cuidade das Pombas (Paul), Santo Antao

From banana, papaya, and mango trees to corn and sugarcane, Santo Antao provides produce for all the islands. We plan to hike down from the Cova de Paul (volcanic crater) tomorrow.

making grog

Making Grogue from sugar cane

At our guest house, an older French man, whom we think is the proprietor, is drunk on Grogue (sugarcane rum), and slurs only a few words of English. Simple things, like trying to order dinner a day in advance are difficult. The room is sweltering hot, and the shower doesn’t work because of an electrical outage. Roll with it. And we do. Oftentimes, difficult travel culminates into luscious reward…like tomorrow’s cool hike! Stay tuned.