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britman Mindelo - A travel report by Brit
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Mindelo,  Cape Verde - flag Cape Verde -  São Vicente
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britman's travel reports

Cape Verde – Sao Vicente- Mindelo

  18 votes
Page: 1 2

Mindelo travelogue picture
Mindelo is the international port on Sao Vincente it has a deep sea harbour formed from a volcanic crater, and is most difficult to get to unless by passing ship. It is different but certainly NOT worth a special journey! The only reason I found myself there was that the ship I was travelling on was refuelling there that day. The history of the island is quite short but not particularly sweet. Its economy relying for several hundred years on the Slave Trade until it was abolished in 1876. In the days of sailing ships the wind pattern apparently made it probable that all the ships passing between Europe and the Americas or the East would find themselves passing or sailing nearby to these islands and they would call in for repairs and provisions.

Favourite spots:
Mindelo travelogue picture
Since 1876 the population has suffered depression after depression. The huge British owned coaling station closed down, sea traffic declined. It is hard to believe that in the mid-20th Century that drought and famine took a heavy toll. Indeed more than 20,000 people died in 1947-8. The only bright spot I am told is the increase of fishing and its related industries. The economy revolves around the export of Salt from the island of Sal and pozzolano from the volcanoes to make cement and of course agriculture based on coffee and banana. The Cape Verde Islands lie well within the Tropics and enjoy a fairly consistent temperature in the 70’s year round. There is very little rain but the wind is a constant feature. At the end of summer when it does rain briefly, it is torrential!

What's really great:
Mindelo travelogue picture
Only 10% of the land is fit for agriculture and most of this is dedicated to cattle and goat grazing. The human population is made up of a mere 1% European and 25% African; the rest are a Creole mixture springing originally from the union of Europeans, or perhaps passing sailors with black slaves who were working on the plantations or were abandoned here when the slave trade ended. Today marriage appears, as in parts of the west, to be less fashionable and almost half the births are illegitimate. All the inhabitants were given Portuguese citizenship in 1961 but the population bellowed for independence which was granted in 1975. Freedom and independence is wonderful but it does not bring automatic health, wealth or happiness!

Sights:
Mindelo travelogue picture
The Beach at Baia das Gatas is good and was lively the day I was there.
The Centro Nacional Artesanato - for local handicrafts, weaving and pottery.

Accommodations:
Mindelo travelogue picture
Mindelo is lively and prosperous on the surface and the Portuguese Colonial Buildings are picturesque and colourful and give the whole place a false air of grandeur. So in fact a walk around the centre is not without interest. The Fish Market and nearby vegetable markets are well worth seeing. Although Portuguese is the official language the local dialect is known as Criulo. There are as many Cape Verdeans living abroad, notably in America and Africa, as there are on the islands themselves and the money that they remit is obviously beneficial to their relations.
Hotels:-
Aparthotel Avenida.
Porto Grande Praca,
Hotel Foya Branca

Hangouts:
Mindelo travelogue picture
Drink beer, wine or local spirits. The aquadiente is a potent firewater! milk is unpasteurised and best avoided and soft drinks are quite expensive

Restaurants:
Mindelo travelogue picture
The local speciality is cachupa a mixture of maize and beans. Visitors in the know try the diverse selection of fresh fish and shellfish.
Restuarants the locals recommend:-
Restaurante 003. Rua Libertadores de Africa
Le Bistrot, Avda 5 de Julho
Chez Loutcha, Rua de Coco


Other recommendations:
Mindelo travelogue picture
Listen to the wonderful native music of Cesaria Evoria – buy an album – wonderful stuff!

Published on Friday April 23th, 2004


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Thu, May 19 2005 - 05:25 AM rating by ardelia

Great report! Such an intereting place. I have never heard of this place before in my whole life.

Ardelia

Sun, Nov 07 2004 - 10:52 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

nice report again by you brit.

Fri, Apr 23 2004 - 02:58 PM rating by travelalain

It seems like a nice place to wonder around. But I can imagine why the ship only stayed one day. Good report

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