We have officially recovered from New Years Eve and from the wine with Christina and Werner last night. So this morning the alarm woke us for an early breakfast and while Heidi packed our rucsacs, Neill ferried the bikes to land with the dinghy. On the pontoon, we assembled both bikes and left the dinghy with some Norwegians who we first met in Portugal.
From the marina we cycled through Mindelo and then uphill on a cobbled road. This is definitely not a place for race bikes. As soon as we left town the traffic reduced to almost nothing and we could cycle next to each other most of the time. The landscape is a desert and it is not hard to believe that the average rainfall is 98mm. In January it doesn’t rain at all. Not surprisingly there is little population, few houses and just the cobbled road.
It is a few weeks since our last bike ride so we could be fitter. Even so, when your front wheel leaves the ground you know it is steep and you aren’t too unfit.
As the road climbed to the summit of Monte Verde at over 700 meters and through the surrounding national park, we were very impressed by the rugged beauty of the volcanic cliffs above us and the stunning views to the beaches far below. As we neared the top we entered the “farmland”. Crops have been planted between the stones and stand dried out and brown in the sun. We guess the dew waters them.
Before we reached the summit with all its antennas we were stopped by a military policeman who waved us away and glowered until we disappeared. Out of his sight we stopped to eat our picnic lunch before the descent.
We have never cycled down 12 kilometers of non-stop cobbles before but now we know that it turns your hands to jelly.