Saturday, 30 May 2015

The two day trip to Senegal (Day 1 morning and early afternoon) - Gorée island -The Mosque; down by the harbour and the History Museum - The 23rd of May 2015

As we walked down from the Castel we could barely see the rather small Gorée mosque said to have been built in 1890. It came out of the rock and seen from above didn't look like a mosque at all. I just saw it from the outside as we moved onto the opposite direction, heading towards the History Museum.

We walked along the shore on which several children were playing football and quite a few street vendors (whose merchandise one couldn't see as their little stalls like storage boxes were located behind the colonial buildings), were sitting around. I would later return to see one of them Khadi, who had promised to show me some African waxed tissues. Most people were on the little fishing beach close by as I had the impression some fishing boats had just made their way ashore.

The History Museum occupies the former fort d'Estrées built in 1890, whose circular shape was one of the eye catching structures one was inevitably drawn to while approaching the island. I was the only visitor, I believe because of having been lunch time and thoroughly enjoyed walking from gallery to gallery, each of which was dedicated to a different period of the history of Senegal from the discovery of the island to the number of tribes and its distribution in terms of territory, the presence and role played by the various invading countries, the importance of religion and even additional information regarding the slave trade.
The whole information was provided in French and despite the fact that part of what was in display were not original documents or pieces, with the exception of two statues depicting saints, I felt it was well organised and allowed visitors to get a thorough perspective of the country, especially the island, thus allowing us to better understand what it had been through social and historically.

It took me about an hour to visit it, as I spent quite a lot of time in the section of the Portuguese presence in Senegal and on the island. Soon it was time to see my guide off, not before having arranged things for the next day visits.

As he made his way to the ferry I made mine to the Bed and Breakfast Hotel as I was in need of a "siesta", so as to recover.


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