Santo Antão, Cape Verde

The last day alongside Arlindo promised to be more intense but also more challenging. After buying what was to be our lunch (fruit, bread, canned octopus and tuna and goat cheese) at a gas station near Ponta do Sol, our aluguer dropped us at the feet of the mountain. That’s when we started a pretty incredible journey on the Ribeira do Torre which led us to meet incredibly welcoming, sociable and curious villagers. It was the perfect opportunity to test some words of Creole that we had learned from Arlindo and Marie the day before and try to learn a little more about their lives and their work. Many Cape Verdean appropriated themselves a piece of high ground, well hidden in the mountains to install their own vegetable garden. Incredibly enough is that it seems that this ultra fertile volcanic soil can grow any fruit, vegetable or plant. We have seen banana, almond, mango, eucalyptus, aloe vera and many others. They sometimes walk for several hours to reach this green area they cultivate. We will keep in mind that old lady walking with insurance through steep paths to the highest elevations in flip-flops, a big bottle of water on the head. We looked pretty ridiculous nect to her, sweating as hell with our sticks and walking shoes!

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Nath during our trek - Santo Antão, Cape VerdeLittle break after the effort - Santo Antão, Cape VerdeSome slope! - Santo Antão, Cape VerdeSanto Antão, Cape VerdeThe Xoxo cascade and its natural swimming pool - Santo Antão, Cape Verde[/photosetgrid]

After about 2 hours of walking, Arlindo has opted to take us in a very remote corner that even some locals do not know. Imagine: a rock wall, a small stream of water for supplying the villages below, a small ledge not much larger than your foot and to the right, a gap of several tens of meters. Needless to say, this passage needed our full attention and we have requested a high concentration level to not look down and risking ending up paralyzed by vertigo. It is with great caution that we evolved on this path, taking care to keep staring at the feet of our predecessor. And as often, such an effort has allowed us to access a simply magical reward: the Xoxo cascad and its natural pool. You feel so alone in the world, privileged and extremely pleased to have dared to take the challenge. A little dip and now we taste with relish papayas very kindly given by one of the villagers during one of our stop in a nearby village. Sweet! We then went to search for a suitable place of picnic and it is once again in the wilderness that we found our happiness. And once your stomach is full, what better than to lie down, put your hat over your face and make a little nap in peace. It is good to know that Cape Verde has no wildlife. All animals on the island have been introduced by humans and used primarily for breeding. There where neither spiders nor snakes or other dangerous exotic animals which enabled us to carry out this wild nap without any apprehension.

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Nath and Arlindo at the Xoxo cascade- Santo Antão, Cape VerdeNath during our trek - Santo Antão, Cape VerdeSanto Antão, Cape Verde

We finished our journey through Ribeira Grande and after a walk of about 5 hours, it was soon time to reach the level of the sea and jump into an aluguer towards Porto Novo, where we would take the ferry to return to São Vicente. Again thank you to Arlindo and Marie for making us experience these magical and unforgettable moments.

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