Dakar is the capital of Senegal in West Africa, A country that borders the Atlantique Ocean but also Mauritania, Gambia, Guiné-Bissau and Mali. A busy capital with a melting pot of nacionalities. Trying to get away and finding quiet spots is not hard though. Close by to Dakar's train station you'll find the port where boats depart regularly to the Island of Gorée.
You get a small ferry boat to get from mainland Dakar to Goréee, locals call it "chaloupe", it takes less than 20 minutes and people commute to and from work using it.
Gorée is part of the "World Heritage" and were the habitants of the Island that got together to recuperate all the beautiful buildings of the Island that time was eroding. There are no cars or other engine veihicles in the island and in a leisure afternoon stroll you get to see the whole of it.
As you approach it , the red tiled roofs and colors you can see from far away start making you eager to discover this beauty.
Her past its tainted, though, as Gorée was one of the places used to send slaves to the new world.
Getting lost in its alley ways is a pleasure for the eyes and after busy and noise Dakar, Gorée is like a balm.
You'll find plenty of places serving food from classy to home made meals, for all pockets. The Island elevates (it was an old volcano) and you can reach its top by walking along a winding stone paved road surrounded by street sellers. An enormeous amount of souvenirs are made of local paintings that repeat themselves in some well known Senegaleses styles.
Your reward after venturing in this shopping ascent are the magnificents vues of Gorée tiled roofs and Dakar cityscapes surrounded by the sea.
Marie-José Crespin, an activist for the proctetion and promotion of Gorée is part of the comité that organises every year the Festivel "Regards sur cours" http://www.goree-regards-sur-cours.org/2008/index.html, where artistes are invited to present their work within the gardens or patios of the houses that are normally closed to the public. She 's a well known Dakaroise figure.
Her family's house is a museum harbouring all the pieces that she collected in her travels, her own jellerewy creations and during the Festival some of the best comtenporary artistes of Senegal like Solly Cisse http://www.africancontemporary.com/Soly%20Cisse.htm, a contemporary painter of international aclaim. in the basement you can still visit the old quarters and cells used to keep the slaves before they boarded the ships taking them away to the Americas.