Grand Africa, voyage day, 63 Mindelo Cape Verde

11 December 2022, Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

We were docked by 8am at Mindelo on Sao Vicente Island in the Cape Verde Islands and cleared for passengers to go ashore by 8:15am.  We are not the only cruise ship in port.  A huge German Mein Schiff is also here today.  And a local Navy ship.(French Navy Patrol Ship – JWC)

My Sunday morning Holland America tour got moved to 12:45pm, so I have a leisurely morning.  Breakfast was muesli + granola + berry slurry + apricots, orange juice, & coffee.

I left the ship about 9:15am, got photographed, and boarded our Grand Voyage complimentary shuttle bus.  Chatty driver welcomed us to Mindelo and delivered us to the town’s waterfront.  The other ship’s passengers are walking the mile to town.
Beautiful waterfront.  Pigeons, sleeping dog.  The Eagle Monument fits on my map, so I try to find the market building.  Men are putting something together for maybe a celebration in a square.  I asked a local lady about the market, and she told me that it is closed, because today is Sunday.  I did find the City Hall and a nice shady seat to rest.  Several walking tours made their rounds.  This town has some beautiful buildings, trees, and streets. Found the impressive pink & white People’s Palace (formerly President’s Palace).  Crossed paths with others from our ship.  Peeked into the closed Mercado Municipal building.  And made my way back to the shuttle bus.  Quiet town today, invaded by lots of cruise passengers.  I was back onboard ms Zaandam about 10:45.

It is nice to have time to go through photos and write in this journal.

My Holland America tour met at the World Stage 12:45pm to leave at 1pm.  White sticker #16.  Elevator down to A deck forward.  Disembarked and boarded bus #16.  Tour guide Marcio and driver Victor.  Twenty passengers.

“Volcanic Cape Verde, 2 1/2 hours, $49.95, Easy.  Acquaint yourself with the volcanic nature of Cape Verde by way of a panoramic drive of Cape Verde by way of a panoramic drive through fantastic landscapes and volcanic valleys.  You’ll pass dramatic coastlines, where the beaches are typically comprised of white sand and a black backdrop of lava mountains.
Enjoy a drive-up Monte Verde – the highest point on the island – for a glimpse of Sao Vicente’s many different landscapes (weather permitting) and the neighboring islands.”

This tour was an amazing experience, but there are not many photos, because I was 

hanging onto my bus seat for dear life.  It was an elevated triple sideways front seat shared with the tour guide.  The open windows blew my hair all over.
The bumpy road up Monte Verde was cobblestones and one vehicle wide, unless pulling off to one side.  The steep switchbacks reminded me of the Troll Road in Norway.  Victor was a superb driver.
My left hand held tightly onto the upright floor to ceiling pipe.  My right hand held onto the back of the next seat whenever I slid around on the slippery plastic seat.

The top of Monte Verde was covered by clouds, so there was no view there.  We got out of the bus and walked around in the wind.  A white cat was sleeping on a big tabletop.  Agave (century?) plants were prolific and beautiful.  Driving down the mountain was less terrifying than I had expected because Victor was so competent.  When we reached a clear area, we stopped to take a few photos.

“A coastal drive leads you to magnificent Praia Grande Beach – the venue for a tasting of local liquor.”
Mario had told us how sea turtles are protected here.
The liquor he served was 46% alcohol.  (Guardente Velha de Cana Sacarina – from sugar cane, produced for Alcand, LDA).  
Many walked down to the beach, and one lady found the remains of a broken turtle egg.

“From there, the road back to the pier passes through the Calhau Valley agricultural region – the breadbasket of Cape Verde.  Your guide will tell you about the farming methods used and the crops grown here.”
Throughout the tour, Marcio had been showing us maps, photos of birds (Darwin found the Lava Sparrow here.), their Cachupa stew, and Carnival celebrations in February.  
We returned to the town of Mindelo, which was briefly toured and explained by Marcio and back to the ship about 3:45pm.

“Complimentary Wine & Cheese Sail away.  Join us for a festive sail away from the islands of Cape Verde to commence our transit toward the final call (San Juan, Puerto Rico).  Enjoy complimentary wine and cheese snacks and live music by the Ocean Bar Band.”
Loud noisy party.  I took my white wine and cheese snacks to my room.
My dinner was delicious Carrot Cream Soup (ginger, nutmeg, orange, roasted carrots, creme fraiche), Smoked Rack of Pork, Carrot Cake, White Wine, and decaf coffee.
I stopped by the Explorer’s Lounge to listen to the end of the Classical Duo piano and cello music.

“On World Stage, Comedian Gabe Abelson, a five time Emmy nominated comedy writer whose numerous credits .  .  .  He has also written for two sitting presidents.”  He was funny, good evening entertainment.
Two dark chocolates, etc. were waiting in my room, along with “Tonight the ship’s clocks will move backward one hour.”  🙂
Now we have five sea days, and the ship is already moving back and forth in the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo gallery by Barbara Cummings

One thought on “Grand Africa, voyage day, 63 Mindelo Cape Verde

  1. Barbara, I’ll long carry the memory of this continental voyage in my memory. You courage, enjoyment and writing of these adventures is almost like a modern day Darwin. When we’re both back in PA, I want to see you again. However, you may be back before I am. Time will tell

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