If you’ve never heard of Cape Verde, it is a group of ten islands off the coast of West Africa known for its Portuguese, African and Dutch influences. It has been dubbed the ‘African Caribbean’ with only 6 hours flying time from the UK, you can feel like you’re in the West Indies without the jet lag (or the price tag).
Back in early December I headed off to Cape Verde (the island of Sal) with my BFF Emma, as we both had annual leave to use and needed some Winter sun. I love going away at off-peak times of year because it’s cheap, it isn’t crowded and most of all I find super hot weather unbearable. I just want to be able to enjoy the heat without constantly feeling like I need to cool down!
Our flight was a delightfully early 9.25am departure from Gatwick Airport, so we decided to stay in the Premier Inn North Terminal the night before. It was only £45 split between us so ended up being much cheaper than a cab. Best of all, it meant we’d get a somewhat decent night’s sleep instead of doing the disgusting 3am wake up call we usually do. As much as I love mornings, I do have a limit.
We arrived at Premier Inn around 8pm the night before, grabbed some dinner from the on site restaurant (and a glass of wine of course) before getting some much-needed rest. For some reason London was absolutely FREEZING that weekend so our last-minute Winter sunshine begun to make so much sense! We woke up around 6am, weighed our suitcases to double-check they hadn’t put on any weight overnight and headed to the check-in desks. I’m not a fan of Gatwick Airport in the slightest as I find it really cramped (not as bad as Stansted) and I always find myself rushing to get to my flight.
We waited in the check-in queue for around half an hour and debated where to go for breakfast and if we had any last-minute things to buy. After checking in, we went through security and of course I forgot to take off my watch meaning I had a more thorough pat down. Nothing like good pat down before 9am on a Sunday to make you feel like this country is safe.
Anyway, after my watch debacle, we quickly went to Boots to grab some last-minute bits and then to Garfunkels for some breakfast. If I’m honest, the service was a little slow and the breakfast was pretty greasy but when you’re hungry you kinda don’t care. But we did have to ask for the bill for a couple of times, even though we’d asked for it when we ordered, but oh well! At least I got my request of more sausages in place of tomatoes…
Boarding for our flight started at 8.30am if I remember correctly, so we paid the bill and headed to our gate. It was a bit of a walk and when you have a heavy backpack, jumper on and jacket it can begin to feel a little sweaty. I guess this was a good way to get into the holiday spirit.
Our flight began boarding on time and I was so eager to settle in, take my shoes off and watch a few movies. One of the things I love most about flying is silence, the silence to switch off from social media, from real life and just the hustle and bustle of my London existence. I feel like it’s the one true time I can get engrossed in a movie, book or album and even thinking about it now makes me want to dedicate more time to switching off. If you’re wondering I managed to watch The Chernobyl Diaries which is absolutely sh*t, Dirty Grandpa which makes me fall deeper in lust with Zac Efron and a little bit of House at the End of the Street with my girl crush Jennifer Lawrence.
We landed on the island of Sal around half 3 in the afternoon and as soon as I stepped off the plane I had to soak it in. No traffic outside my window, no pigeons and no work. The heat was also welcomed with open arms as the London cold can make you feel like the sun doesn’t exist.
We boarded a bus to the terminal where we had to wait a little while for our luggage (the airport is absolutely tiny), and then to our coach transfer. Our hotel, The Sol Dunas, we were informed was only 15 minutes away, so it meant we’d be able to enjoy some sun.
We were checked in pretty swiftly, and a kind porter helped us take our luggage to our room. I’d read on TripAdvisor that the queue at check-in was disastrous and would take hours but it was the exact opposite – it just goes to show you need to take everything with a pinch of salt. Once arriving in our room, we were a little sunswept and humid, especially after travelling in jeans and jumpers. The best thing to do was put on our swimwear, head to the pool and relax…