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My many short trips
18th Jun 2018 - Cape Verde
The Coastal Hike - an accidental 8.5 hour hike!

There are long days when you get up early or go to bed late or have a lot on. And then there are long days because of a cockerel and an accidental long hike. The cockerel belonged to the house next to our hotel and became our sworn enemy within our three days staying there. It would start its racket before 5am (one day it started at 1.30am) caring not that no buildings had double glazing or sound-proofing. We eventually got up at 7.30 swearing to have roast chicken for dinner one night and had a lovely breakfast at 8. Our first priority was to find a bank so that we could finally get our hands on some local currency. Then we were off to hike.

We had studied the guidebook the previous evening and decided that the two hikes we wanted to do were the coastal hike and the Paul crater hike. We would do the coastal hike first, as the crater hike is steep and can leave you with either aching legs or knees, depending on which way you go. Despite the hills in the centre of the island, we had naively assumed that the coastal hike would be predominantly flat, some undulation but nothing too major. Therefore, Melissa had the great idea to combine it with another hike so that we could work up a sweat. The guidebook showed another hike that would end in the same town of Chã de Igreja that the coastal hike began and this seemed like a sensible idea. The book also told us that the coastal hike would take 5 hours and that their writer was a fit male in his mid 50’s. Great, we thought. We are two fit females in our mid 30’s so the timings would be about the same. The other hike was 5.5 hours so we figured that would be too long to do. The notes suggested cutting out a large amount of the hike by starting at the town of Boca das Ambas Ribeiras. Great, we had made ourselves a hike that would take 6-6.5 hours. Hmm, we should have read the notes a bit more closely!

Conveniently, there was an aluguer hanging around outside our hotel and so we hopped in and headed off to the town of Boca das Ambas Ribeiras. The driver, Alberto, spoke no English but fluent French, which we could both speak more of than Portuguese (although Melissa did have to keep telling me off for accidentally speaking Spanish). We went back on the same route out of town that we had come in on the previous day as far as Ribeira Grande, where we then turned inland and into the Ribeira itself, also called Ribeira Grande. The road was dusty and heading steadily uphill, passing a large aqueduct before arriving at Boca das Ambas Ribeiras. This directly translates as Mouth of Both Valleys as the main ribeira meets the smaller Ribeira dos Caibros. Here we jumped out to begin the walk, with a point from Alberto in the correct direction. We could see a path in the distance heading up some very high mountains and it was this path that we were to be taking. Up, up, up. There was limited shade and the sun was scorching even though it wasn’t yet 11am. The path wound round the edge of the mountain but steadily upwards, with the valley stretching out behind us. In places there was a knee high drystone wall, but in other places nothing, to protect from a 500m sheer drop. After an hour and a half we had made the rim of the mountain at 830m from where, over the ridge, we could see down to the sea on the west coast of the island. And we were already behind on the timings.

The downhill took us another hour, through the village of Selada do Mocho, dropping all the way down to the base of the ribeira, where we were surrounded on both sides by steep cliffs. The ribeira would lead all the way to the coast but halfway along, on a small promontory, was the town of Chã de Igreja. To finish the first hike we were supposed to enter the town, but the first part of the second hike was the leave the town and head into the ribeira so we walked past the turning to the town and continued in the ribeira until we reached the coast, near the small fishing village of Cruzinha. As we left the village, we found a shady spot where we stopped for lunch – tuna sandwiches all round! The remainder of the walk would hug the coastline all the way back to our hotel in Ponta do Sol. This was the part we expected to be relatively flat and we soon found out how wrong we were. The path would go from the beach, wind its way to the top of a cliff, then head all the way back down to the beach and start again. In many parts, the path looked as if it was cut into the cliff and there was even less shade than before.

It was another 2+ hours before we fell into the village of Forminguinhas, stopping at the first building we came to that said it sold cold drinks. Whilst we had had enough water to get us to this stage, an ice cold Fanta was calling both our names and we could also buy another bottle of water to get us back to Ponta do Sol. The lovely lady owner then proceeded to tell us that we still had another two hours to go which crushed our spirits a little. 20 mins from here and we could see the small village of Corvo, both of these villages can only be reached by walking as there is absolutely no road access. We could see that Corvo was inland a little in one of the folds of the mountain and that the cliffs on the far side of the village were higher than the ones we were currently on. This lead to a lot of praying that we didn’t have to go down to sea level and back up again, followed by a lot of swearing when we realised that we did. The village itself wasn’t even the bottom and once we started to ascend we were kept entertained by signs showing the stages of the crucifixion. We finally stumbled into the village of Fontainhas, where the village clings to the cliff edge, with sheer drops to the base of the ribeira instead of back gardens. It was quite a spectacular sight. The final 40 minutes took us back into Ponta do Sol, after 8.5 hours of solid walking up and down the cliffs.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we barely had the energy to collapse onto our beds but managed to have a shower and head to a local restaurant for dinner before falling asleep rather rapidly.



Next: Cova de Paul hike - just where did we go?
Previous: Mindelo, Santo Antão


Diary Photos
18th Jun 2018  Aqueduct

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Pulley system across the valley

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Top of mountain

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Top of mountain

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Lunch spot

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Forminguinhas

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Corvo

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Fontainhas

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Fontainhas

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Fontainhas

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Fontainhas

18th Jun 2018  Coastal Hike
Ponta do Sol

18th Jun 2018  Ponta do Sol
Diary Movies

Fontainhas


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