Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Senegal 2019 travel blog

Sunset at the beach

Our hotel

Young girl and her sex coach

Old colonial building in Grand Bassam

The old Post Office

Stained glass window in St Paul's Cathedral #1

Stained glass window in St Paul's Cathedral #2

Stained glass window in St Paul's Cathedral #3

Musicians on the beach outside our hotel


This morning we first went to the Cathedral of St Paul in Abidjan - quite a modern one designed by Italian Aldo Spiritom and built in the 1980's with magnificent stained glass windows depicting missionaries arriving in Africa, St Paul going to Rome etc. Beautiful.

Leaving town and heading east, we encountered a procession on the road, many people dressed in hessian sacks and with ash plastered over their faces - apparently a religious procession but that's all we could find out.

We then drove the 45km or so to Grand Bassam, the colonial capital of Cote d'Ivoire from 1893. The capital only lasted six years as there was an outbreak of yellow fever with many deaths. The capital was then moved to Bingerville. Grand Bassam is on the coast and the French first settled here on the land between the ocean and the lagoon. Across the lagoon was where the locals lived and also the servants of the French. We are staying in a hotel right on the beach, and a very rough beach at that. I watched a fishing boat trying to get out this morning, one sweep behind and two paddlers paddling furiously but getting washed back by the huge surf every time. They gave up eventually.

We spent a pleasant Sunday morning visiting the costume museum to see the costumes of the various ethnic groups of the area, including one display of a young girl about to get married and her "sex" coach, a woman dressed as a man with a big wooden penis around her waist. This is the custom of the Malinke people of the north.

After this we wandered round the old city, which is World Heritage and falling into decay. We could see how graceful these old colonial buildings would have been in their heyday.

This evening we ate at a small cafe where they barbecued fish while you waited. We sat at a table on the roadside waiting for our meal of fish, fried plantain and cassava couscous, plus a few bottles of local beer and listened to West African music and watched children dancing in the street - what a great way to end the day.

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