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Where hurricanes are born

Cape Verde day two

View Cape Verde winter break Feb 2018 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Local boatmen battling the surf

We awoke to another very windy day. It is in the Cape Verde islands that some of the most notorious hurricanes of the Caribbean have their origin, so it is perhaps not surprising that days here can sometimes be windy. Wikipedia explains:

'The average hurricane season has about two Cape Verde hurricanes, which are often the largest and most intense storms of the season due to having plenty of warm open ocean over which to develop before encountering land or other factors prompting weakening. A good portion of Cape Verde storms are large, some setting records. Most of the longest-lived tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin are Cape Verde hurricanes. While many move harmlessly out to sea, some move across the Caribbean sea and into the Gulf of Mexico, becoming damaging storms for Caribbean nations, Central America, Mexico, Bermuda, the United States, and occasionally even Canada.'

It is also perhaps not surprising that the world kite surfing champion, Brazil’s Mitu Monteiro, runs a renowned kite school on Sal, nor that the first world championships were held here, in 2011.

View of kite-surfers from our room

Breakfast view

After a good breakfast from the extensive buffet at the Sal Hilton, enjoying the views of the palm trees and cheeky crumb-seeking sparrows but somewhat buffeted by the wind, we decided that a walk on the beach was the best way to fill the few hours before we were to be picked up for our short flight to Santiago.

Sign in the restaurant

The beach near the Hilton, looking towards Santa Maria




Surf's up!

Windbreakers on the beach

The strong winds however made both walking and photographing difficult, whipping up particles of sand that stung our faces and raised concerns about camera lenses, so after a while we retreated to the relative shelter of the hotel grounds and enjoyed a good cup of coffee at the poolside bar there.

Pool at the Hilton Cabo Verde Sal

Flying to Santiago

Late in the morning we returned to our room to pack the few things we had taken out of the suitcase for this brief stay on Sal, and checked out. Our taxi arrived bang on time to take us to the airport for our flight to Praia on Santiago, but after that any notion of punctuality began to slip a little. The flight was delayed by about an hour so we had a rather dull wait in a domestic departure lounge devoid of any facilities other than seats!

Our plane to Santiago

When we did board, it was a smallish propeller plane ATR72 operated by Binter, the national inter-island carrier. There were some good views of Sal on take-off but we were soon in the clouds. Despite the short flight duration (37 minutes) the crew served a snack of still or sparkling water and a bag of salted peanuts and corn. While I know some people may be nervous of such small planes I rather like them and the stronger sense of flying that they give.

Leaving Sal

Up in the clouds

First sight of Praia

Coastline in Praia

We were met on arrival by a rep from the local travel company, Barracuda, and drove the short distance to our hotel, the Perola. In contrast to the Hilton in Sal, this is very much a city hotel rather than a beach resort, though it does have a nice rooftop pool. Unfortunately, the wind had followed us here, so there would be no swimming today at least.

We checked in to our comfortable room, decorated in a modern style with the inexplicably trendy frosted wall between sleeping area and bathroom. We spent a bit of time catching up on messages, which meant sitting in the lobby as the room WiFi was poor.

Our room at the Perola

Perola lobby

Rooftop pool at the Perola

View towards Praia from the hotel roof

First evening in Praia

In Gamboa

In the evening we went to the restaurant next door to the hotel, Gamboa – a casual restaurant obviously popular with locals. Like a lot of restaurants here it specialises in fish, but there were meat dishes too, which pleased Chris as he’s not over keen on fish. We skipped the starters as we were brought a generous basket of crusty bread for the cover, along with herby soft cheese. I wanted to have the swordfish but this wasn’t available (as seemed to be the case with a number of dishes) so I chose cod instead, but was disappointed to find that this was the dried bacalau version and far too salty for my taste. I only ate a little but did enjoy the accompanying potatoes, as did Chris his beef and chips (his first choice of turkey also being unavailable).

Cod and potatoes

When the waiter noticed my barely touched fish he kindly offered to bring a replacement, suggesting one of the other fish dishes on the menu, but I declined, as by this point Chris had finished his beef. My dessert of lemon mousse, while not being very mousse-like in texture, was sharp and refreshing and Chris also liked his fruit salad, but the best bit of the meal was probably the bottle of vinho verde we drank with the food, the same Gazela I had enjoyed in the Algarve when at the VT meeting there.

When the bill came I discovered that I hadn’t been charged for the cod - a very nice gesture and one which we rewarded with a generous tip. So overall a rather pleasant evening.

Posted by ToonSarah 02:20 Archived in Cape Verde Tagged beaches planes food hotel flight restaurants weather seas cape_verde

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I always used to like small planes and helicopters (when I was in the army), even though I can't stand commercial airliners today.

by Nemorino

Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting Don - much appreciated :)

by ToonSarah

I love the little prop planes too. When I was very young, my father rented a small plane and pilot to take me up and see my grandparents farm from the air. I was amazed at how tiny the cars and people were from the air. It's one plane ride I've never forgotten . . . although I'd love to forget a couple more recent ones. :)

by Beausoleil

Nice photos and story. I never like flying in those small prop planes. The pool top roof seems to have nice views of the ocean as well.

by John Maurizi

Thanks Sally and John. I think the prop planes are like Marmite - love 'em or hate 'em ;) I'm the same with boats - I much prefer a small one that actually feels like a boat :) That flight over your grandparents' farm must have been a great experience for a small child Sally! And yes John, good views from that roof for sure, right round the bay

by ToonSarah

Like you, I am also rather partial to small planes. Love the opening picture of the boat and the waves.

by Grete Howard

Thanks Grete :)

by ToonSarah

a good thing they didn't charge you for the food. It was indeed a nice gesture. I must say that I don't particularly like the dried bacalau myself, it seems a required taste! :)

by Ils1976

Yes, it was a nice gesture Ils, especially as it was my decision to decline the offer of a replacement dish :)

by ToonSarah

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