On a quiet Sunday morning, I am lucky to find an aluguer, local minibus, to Ribeira Grande from Punta do Sol with only one woman as the other passenger. Waiting for another aluguer towards Coculi, I chat with some locals who are going the same way. After a while, they start running after an empty aluguer which does not have the red colour the ones going to Coculi are supposed to have, and I decide to follow them. When we arrive in Coculi, they jump out, thank the driver, and tell me I don't have to pay because the driver just had to go home. I feel lucky, and start hiking up the valley, and turn left into Chã de Pedra after talking to a local who, after asking for a confirmation of the right way, does not stop talking about all the things I can see further up the valley. Behind me, clouds hover around the peaks of the jagged mountains, and I wonder what the weather will do today. You never know, in the mountains.
Without wanting to hurry, I am trying to combine two hikes today, and I do not want to be back on the main coastal road too late, so I decide to keep on hiking. The valley is still wide in the beginning, and well-dressed people walk down the same road, on their way to church. Pia de Cima is quickly reached, and from here, the track that can also accommodate cars, becomes a trail. Most of it has stones as surface, just like the coastal trail we hiked along the day before. I quickly gain altitude, and the view gets better every step I take. Small villages on the other side of the valley are perched on narrow ridges, there are terraces everywhere, and I now have a view all the way up the steep mountains. Dogs bark at me in Agriões, but I just keep on walking, have to ask for directions once, and work my way up the steepest stretch which directly leads to a lone cottage with fantastic views into the valley which now lies deep below me. From here, I climb further, and suddenly, there are clouds below me, and I can only see the top of the mountains floating on top of the fluffy white stuff. When I reach the top, the landscape changes considerably: there are wide valleys, small streams, scattered houses, and people working the land. The description of the hike fails here, and I realize I am going the wrong way before it is too late, and ask two farmers for Lin d'Corv - a curious name for a village.
To my surprise, I walk through a pine forest and cool air, and just when I wonder if I am on the right track (I have not seen a living soul since the two farmers), I reach the track, turn left, and walk through Lin d'Corv to Espongeiros, where I drink juice with a friendly woman selling from her house where an old drunk is dancing, and eat some cookies. The stoney road leads through a pine forest, and I reach what I think is the turnoff for the trail to Ribeira de Torre. Again, the guide is not clear, and I take my chances. To my surprise, after a couple of minutes, I find myself on a ridge, and look down right into Cova, the ancient crater. To my even greater surprise, I can see the sea, and the island of São Vicente. I savour the view, before going on. When I start to descend, I shout out loud: the view is magnificent! A thick layer of clouds, above which mountains appear, with terraces on amazing places. I enjoy the views, knowing that as soon as I hit the clouds, I won't be able to see anything anymore. Then, after a while, I suddenly break through the clouds, and see the village of Rabo Curto before me, built on a long, narrow ridge, which leads to Torre, a pinnacle in the middle of the valley, and the source of its name. The village has one street, and one house on the side: the ridge is too narrow for more. After views of spectacular rock formations and pinnacles, I reach a new asphalt road, making the walk back to Ribeira Grande easy. When I reach it, my legs scream to stop and my body begs for a soft drink. I decide to listen to my body - after having taken me over the mountains, giving me a deep feeling of satisfaction, it deserves it!
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Coculi to Rabo Curto hike (Cape Verde). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Coculi to Rabo Curto hike.
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