Sal (= salt - see later) is the oldest of the Cape Verde Islands, and because of this most of the interesting bits have blown away. Basically, it's flat with two mountains (each about the size of Muswell Hill), and it's covered in sand and broken rocks. And it's windy.
In the somethingth century, it was noted that sea water was seeping into the crater of an extinct volcano, and that it was drying out in the sun, leaving a lot of salt (see earlier). This became the primary export, before the Irish and the Italians (see later). Eventually, the salt became too expensive to transport, and so the island became a refuelling post for long-haul aircraft.
Thirty or so years ago, a (probably mad) Belgian industrialist and his wife built (not personally) a holiday home on the beach on the south coast, and Sal thus became a TOURIST DESTINATION. Their home became a hotel, got bigger, was taken over by their grand-daughter, and is now famous because we have stayed in it.
Lots of other hotels sprung up, due to the natural assets of sand, sea and wind, and the island became famous for wind surfing - which needs sand, sea and wind. As a direct result, it was suddenly realised that thousands of people, many of them Irish and Italian, would need to buy holiday apartments which they hadn't actually seen, and so thousands and thousands of them were started, a few of which have actually been completed. In the remaining places where there are not hotels and half-completed apartments, there are empty building sites behind tall fences with pretty pictures of imagined developments. Many of these pictures, which are displayed on enormous hoardings, are now so old that they are protected by the government.
As a result of the minor financial difficulties that the Europeans have been experiencing recently, the Irish and the Italians are now one of the prime exports of Sal (see earlier), replacing the salt, and leaving behind them a number of semi-abandoned towns, empty hotels, closed restaurants, and very sad developers.
We experienced all three of the natural assets: sand (everywhere), wind (lots of), and sun (twice). We also played table tennis rather a lot.
Next year - the Canaries? Who knows?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Morabeza We are located on the beautiful Santa Maria Beach on the southern most part of the island of Sal, Cabo Verde. We are confident that you will find your stay at our hotel to be a most enjoyable and memorable one ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Morabeza Hotel Santa Maria
- Hotel Morabeza Cape Verde/Santa Maria, Ilha Do Sal