Day 51, Tuesday, April 15, Banjul, Gambia Mindelo, Cape Verde

The Crystal Symphony is in Shanghai, China. The Crystal Serenity is in Lisbon, Portugal, the last port call of her world cruise.

For the first time of the cruise my morning did not start out on the lower Promenade Deck. There was a full lunar eclipse and Dan Benedict was doing commentary on the aft Lido Deck. I spent some time there and took my walk on deck 9 where I could keep an eye on the moon’s progress. There were some clouds but the moon was visible until fully blocked in the earth’s shadow, and the moon set before the full eclipse had ended.

The Archipelago country of Cape Verde has 10 islands with 9 populated. San Vicente, where Mindelo sits, is smaller and less populated than Praia’s Santiago Island, but Mindelo has the main harbor and some of Cape Verde’s better facilities. The island is volcanic in origin and quite hilly.

My tour was titled “A stroll through Mindelo”, but we actually spent quite a bit of time on the bus. We rode to the Praca Novel to begin our walk, viewing a couple of statues and continuing to the waterfront with the Cultural Center (not much), the fish market, a replica of Lisbon’s Tower of Belém and a statue of navigator Diego Alfonso. We left the waterfront and stopped at the African Market, the Town Hall, and entered Mindelo’s main church, Nossa Senhora de Luz. Our stroll concluded at the Vegetable market. We left Mindelo and made our way along the slopes of Monte Verde, stopping at about the 1300 foot level for views of Mindelo and of surrounding islands. At that level it was pretty cool and windy. We continued to Baia das Gatas, on the Northwest corner of the island (Mindelo is to the Northeast) where there was a fishing community, a place for refreshments, a sandy beach, and where music festivals are held.

The roads of Sao Vicente are mostly cobblestone, and most of our travels were quite slow and bumpy, but the distances were short. Our final stop was a souvenir shop near the Praca Nova, where I excused myself from the group and tried the wifi in the square (very slow) and enjoyed the walk back to the ship (about a mile).

After lunch I took the shuttle into town and explored a bit more, and returned to the ship for the day about 3:30. In the future cruise talk Sunday I learned the Statendam will not be doing 7-day Alaska cruises in 2015, so before dinner I booked one for August. I expect to combine my Southbound Statendam cruise with a Northbound one on the Radiance of the Seas with just a few days in the Seward area.

With the ship in port overnight, attendance in the dining room was pretty sparse, including just 5 of 10 at my table. While we were eating Fred Olsen’s Bremar joined us in the harbor.

The primary entertainment was a movie in the Queens Lounge, but Debbie Bacon took he piano bar out to the aft Lido deck for the evening. I was a bit surprised that a real piano had been set up out there rather than the electronic keyboard I was expecting. Her theme tonight was pairs of songs, such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” with the theme from “Titanic”.

Fatigue pretty well caught up with me today and I found myself napping at my computer after dinner and I’d planned to skip the parting but changed my mind overnight. Our 2 lecturers left us in Cape Verde. I had found Dan Benedict’s presentations pretty boring and could easily have been unimpressed. What did impress me was his passion and willingness to meet people on deck virtually every night. For his final day, the lunar eclipse was awesome, and I’d never have known if he hadn’t brought it to our attention. Dan, you really left on a high note.

Roy

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1 Response to Day 51, Tuesday, April 15, Banjul, Gambia Mindelo, Cape Verde

  1. Mike Ferrari says:

    Fascinating to follow you. I miss the menus! 🙂

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