Our fellow volunteer friend Lynette organized a group hike from Serra Malagueta National Park to the coastal town of Calheta. Serra Malagueta is located in the mountains toward the northern end of Santiago. It’s often cloudy there, and cool, which means at this time of year it’s also greener. There are several endemic species there that are found only in the highest of Santiago’s mountains, including these. From Serra, we descended through ever browner terrain, through agricultural fields, into the town of Espinho Branco.
Outside of Espinho Branco is Rabelarte, an artists’ colony that somewhat paradoxically displays the traditional lifestyle of the Rabelados (‘Rebels’), a group once by its cultural and physical isolation in opposition to Portuguese Catholic rule. Visitors can see the traditional thatched-roof homes and folk art of the Rabelados, which is done on canvas, wood, or found objects like bones and trash. The art for sale in the shop was interesting and original, but what really impressed me was the art filling the homes, such as the pattern of grass thatching painted onto the ceiling of a metal roof, a mixed-media collage, a local landscape painting, and a floor-to-ceiling self-portrait of a painter and his wife.
After checking out Rabelarte we stopped short of our original goal of Calheta and caught a Hiace the rest of the way.