The Pauls Valley
In the last couple of days, we were exploring the island of Santo Antão by hiking in the mountains and at the coastline. For this journey, we got separated into three groups with 13 persons each. Our guide “Mr. PP” planned a tour around the eastern part of the island for us with different start points for every group. The navigation, time management and the whole organization of the days was done by ourselves. We had to overtake responsibility for the whole group. Sometimes it was kind of hard to communicate with the locals, because only a few were speaking English, but it worked all the time. The landscape was absolutely incredible. There were many different types of it, the biggest part of the island is dry and hot. On the one hand it’s like a desert, full of rocks and sand, but on the other hand you can find places like the “Pauls Valley”, a place full of tropical plants and trees with enough water for people and nature.
The Pauls Valley is a very special place, everyone of us will keep in mind, because of the interesting people we met and the experiences we made there. It is a Valley that starts at the coast and ends in the middle of the island, surrounded by high volcanic mountains and is mostly covered by clouds. The most unique thing about this valley is, that you can find healthy ground combined with enough water, which allows the locals to plant sugar cane, coffee, papayas, bananas and even more…
The spectacular landscape and nature are just one reason, why we liked the Paul Valley that much. In the two days we stayed there we also had a lot of contact with the locals, who are living in the small village, that is actually just a 200-meter-long road. For example, we met Edna, she is 43 years old and lives in the Pauls Valley since she was a child. Edna gave us a short tour around the Valley and showed us how to make coffee by yourself.
It was very interesting and special to see how much time and effort it takes to produce the products of daily use by yourself. Most people living there have to do so, not just because they are living in the middle of nowhere, most of them can´t afford to go shopping in the “bigger” cities or even get there by car.
My personal highlight of our time on the trip was the football match at the soccer field against the children of the Pauls Valley. No one of them was able to speak English or French but we communicated without words and had a very fun match, that we suddenly lost about five to nineteen.
Overall, we had a very nice time with unique experiences. We learned a lot about the culture of Cape Verde and their way of living. Everyone we met was incredibly kind and open to tell us about their daily lifestyle and to answer our questions. We were able to try local products and even had the chance to see how they are made. By hiking around the island, we saw and experienced the spectacular landscapes and climatic zones of Santo Antão.