Archive for October, 2012


Roça de Água Izé (“roça” is the designation for a large plantation in a Portuguese colony) is the first one will find while driving from the city towards south. Some of its facilities were built near the road, namely the storage buildings, where goods would wait to be loaded into one of the ships coming to pick them, in their way to Europe.

Nowadays Água Izé is a village, which is what most of the old plantations became. A poor village with sad inhabitants. Most of the folk here, unlike in other part of the island, came from Cape Verde islands and still speak a form of Creole, although they can speak fair Portuguese. As in everywhere else in the country, kids are suckers for pictures. They will ask you for taking them a picture, and then to show them the results in the LCD of your camera.

Actually I had been here before, only I forgot to visit one of the most interesting spots in Água Izé, the old hospital. As my host in São Tomé generously handled me his car keys for the day, I took the opportunity to return to the village and look for the decadent building. In my quest I had the help of a bunch of local kids, boys and girls eager to step out of their routines, with some hope of getting a gift (candies, pens, notebooks, whatever…), but ready to help the visitor even without a reward.

The flock of “little sparrows”, flying around me, showed the way to the hospital. The location is obscure, a bit out of the village, on the top of a hill, offering great views to the buildings down and to the sea.

At this point I would like to advise you an exhaustive article about Água Izé (in Portuguese – use Google Translator if needed) here:

Actually there are two hospitals. The first one, built in 1914, still have people living in it and therefore I didn’t visit it. The second one, which actually comes first when you walk from the village is mostly deserted (I suspect there is still somebody living there) and was built probably in 1928. Due to the high number of workers (2500 Africans and 50 Europeans) the hospital was upgraded and new rooms were gradually built.

Well, this is it folks. Enjoy the pictures. And let me show you the exact location of the hospital:   0° 13.065’N   6° 43.498’E

This place is located near Constância. It used to be a sawmill, a big one, like a factory. It belonged to a man called Manuel Ferreira da Cruz, who, at least from the material point of view, apparently led a good life. There is a small palace attached to the workshops, most probably his personal residence. Or perhaps it was just the office area of the company. I will never know.

To get to the sawmill, park your car near Praia do Ribatejo train station and wall a bit along the rails, towards East. It’s just a couple hundred meters. Soon you will see the sawmill and you will be able to enter the premises.

There are considerable areas to explore here. I specially liked the technical workshops, which are still labeled, and the house which was either the owners home or the office building… well, or both.

But the most impressive thing I saw here will not be easy to recreate. As I entered a huge roofed area, like a storage building, I saw something special: there he was, this guy, dressing like a bullfighter, practicing his technical acts, slowly, very slowly, in the dusk, like in slow motion. I don’t even like bullfights… actually, I hate bullfights… but this was quite a sight. He kept his practice, ignoring us. I wanted to much to take a few shots… they would be AWESOME shots, but I couldn’t, I don’t know… the situation was to solemn, I guess.

Well, this is it. I will keep the details in secret so I don’t spoil the experience of whoever will come here. The provided coordinates are just a general reference… it’s so easy to get in….
39° 27.998’N   8° 20.918’W