Cidade Velha – Cape Verde
I went to Cape Verde for 2 things: see around and meet my nephew. Of course, the 2nd one was also about helping and spending few days with my sister-in-law over there.
Most of my days were around in Praia. Of course, I want to go back so I can visit other islands and even in Santiago to go to the north to Tarrafal. Which it was a plan but it got complicated.
Close to Praia, you’ll find Cidade Velha (Old City). We took a taxi in Praia to go to Plateau (City Centre) one day and he was telling us about that area and offered to take us there one day. He told us that most taxi can drive us there. It’s about 15km from Praia.
Our first stop was at a fortress “Fortaleza Real de São Filipe”. Here, you have to pay an entrance (about $5). First, we enjoyed a video (I believe they have it in English and other languages) which at first I wasn’t excited to watch it, however, it not only shows things about the fortress but also about the Old City.
Once inside, we met a great guide. He was telling us a lot of interesting stories about the area and also about the places we saw at the Old City below us. Naturally, he speaks Portuguese (since it’s one of the official languages in Cape Town) but also speaks Spanish and very well. Not sure if he speaks English or any other guide in the area. I’m sure at least some one does.
The fortress was built to fight and keep away the pirates, of course. One of the places I visited was where they kept the water. You can actually spot how high the water was and the actual stairs they used to use. Now they have wood stairs for you to go down and get a glimpse of the old stairs and a little bit more.
It is very windy, so ladies, be careful what you wear 😉 and don’t forget to bring a hat to protect you from the sun.
I started to walk around the area, stopping at various points for videos and photos. But when I got to the border and saw the view to the ocean and the Cidade Velha below us, wow, stunning view!
You get to see places as where they used to keep the slaves that were coming (mostly) from Guinea Bissau (I invite you to read my brother’s post about that area and Île de Gorée – in Spanish though- at Manu Por El Mundo) or the ruins of the Cathedral. Not forgetting the gorgeous blue ocean that always amazes me.
After a long tour around the fortress and relaxing at some other points just enjoying the view, we went back to the taxi so we could visit Cidade Velha.
Also, you’ll find vendors with handicraft and a restaurant in front of the sea.
There was a small church we wanted to visit but it was closed. Before getting there, we wandered around Rua Banana (a road) which it was the 1st street Portuguese urbanization in the tropics.
It is a small town for sure, but a must see if you are in Santiago Island.