on Brava Island Cape Verde
The Island of Brava is perhaps the most beautiful of Cape Verde's ten islands. Cape
Verdeans call Brava, "the island of flowers." But this entirely misses
the point of Brava's beauty.
Cape Verde is a magical place. Before the arrival of the Cabo Verde Fast Ferry
which now provides daily service to the island, Brava and its 6,000
residents were virtually cut off from the rest of Cape Verde, and by
extension, the rest of the world. It is no surprise then that going to
Brava is like a journey back in time to a period when life was simpler,
to a place where you walk along narrow, country lanes lined with
beautiful flowers. You won't find airports, shopping malls or hotels
When you arrive at the small port town of Furna on the ferry, your first
thought is whether anyone actually lives here. That's because the
principal town of Nova Sintra is a 10 km climb from the port up into the
mountains where Nova Sintra is nestled. Make sure you catch one of the
Hiaces (mini-vans) which will transport you up the steep, winding road
to Nova Sintra. Its not a journey you'll want to do on foot.
The ferry gets in at night so you may not have time to explore the port
town of Furna. It's actually more lively that the capital, so if you get
here on a weekend, perhaps you can check out the local tavern before
heading up to Nova Sintra. I stayed at the quaint inn, Pensão Castelo
(Eugenia 238-982-5786) in Nova Sintra. The room was spartan but clean
and inviting. And it was a good base from which to explore Nova Sintra
and the rest of the island, like the picturesque fishing village of Fajã
|Picturesque Fajã d'Agua
Fajã d'Agua, is located in a beautiful setting - a wide bay at the foot
of tree-covered slopes. It's a "must visit" if you spend even a day in
Brava. A small cruise ship came into the bay on the day I visited Fajã
d'Agua. I knew the place was in demand because there is no port in this
village where large boats can dock. Instead, the visitors came ashore
aboard small pirogues. Obviously, they really want to see this place ...
or they would have stayed on the ship.
Be sure to visit the other side of the bay where there is a natural pool
between the steep cliffs. There's a well-maintained, safe path where
you can walk down to the pool.
|Lota at the Coqueiro Bar
The town has one cool bar, the Coqueiro, and an equally cool bartender,
Lota. It's the place to get a well deserved drink after you've checked
out the town. While you are sitting there having a drink, keep an eye
out for the "old dancer" ... he is a crusty old fisherman with impish
eyes. In order to actually see him, you must ask Lota to turn the music
up. Whenever this "old dancer" hears music, he comes to the front of the
bar and dances and mimes the music. He is actually mentally unstable.
LOL. But he obviously loves to perform and he is quite entertaining. His
name is Lastanha!
Now, to get to Fajã d'Agua, you have to take a Hiace or one of the two
taxis on the island. I chose to go by taxi - Gabi's taxi that is! He is a
friendly chap and good company for the trip. You can contact him at
238-989-8347, especially if you miss the Hiaces from the port at Furna. I
guarantee he won't be too far away at any given moment.
|Catia and Sofia - sisters meeting for the first time
There is definitely something magical about Brava that's hard to define.
Here's another example. It's the story of Catia and Sofia - two sisters
who are now both in there 20s and living in Cape Verde. Catia was born
and raised in São Vicente, while Sofia was born and raised in Brava.
Well they may as well have been born in different countries because they
had never met ... until today. Catia works at the Fast Ferry company in
Santiago. Sofia walked in to purchase a ticket to Brava. And just by
happenstance, the ticket sales agent notices that Sofia's father has the
same name as one of the employees who works on the port in Brava and
wonders if Sofia is related to that port worker. She replies that they
are not related. But the sales agent notices that Sofia has the same
last name as Catia who just happens to be sitting one desk away. He
calls over to Catia and introduces the two women. Sofia mentions that
she has a sister she has never met who is also named Catia but that this
sister lives in São Vicente, not Santiago. Catia is stunned, she just
arrived in Santiago one month earlier from São Vicente to work at the
Fast Ferry company! Her father was born in Brava. The women compared
names of their respective fathers and discover that it is one and the
same father ... they are long-lost sisters!
And if you aren't yet convinced about the magic of Brava ... just take a
day to visit. But first, check out the slideshow below and see if you
can spot Brava's magical cow.