This travel story is from a superwoman Toma Dambrauskė, a mother of twins, co-owner & fashion designer of a well known brand Happeak, simply a very gentle and thoughtful woman. I noticed her on Instagram, her every day life & travel pictures mesmerised me. I adore how she loves her twins Vėja & Uvis and everything around her. Together with her husband, they spent the coldest days of Lithuanian winter in Cape Verde islands, West of Africa.
Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. The islands are spatially divided into two groups: The Barlavento Islands (windward islands): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista; and The Sotavento Islands (leeward): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava. Cape Verde's climate is milder than that of the African mainland, because the surrounding sea moderates temperatures on the islands and cold Atlantic currents produce an arid atmosphere around the archipelago. Average daily high temperatures range from 26°C in February to 31°C in September. Sounds amazing right? We had -20°C in February this winter.
The man behind all the family travels is the father of twins, Toma's husband Gedas. He loves traveling and plans it really well. Toma is only left to agree with all his travel plans, her main job is to take care of the twins.
They chose Cape Verde islands, because of its climate. "We did not want to spend most of the time at home during winter in Lithuania, therefore we were considering only warm destinations", says Toma. They started preparing kids for traveling with their first trip to Rhodes island in Greece. Twins were only 5 months then. Everything went really well. After two weeks they decided to try a longer flight to Tenerife and it was a success again. Then it was time to choose whether to go to Asia or to Africa. Since everyone now chooses Thailand or Indonesia, they wanted to explore another part of the world and chose to see Cabo Verde islands.
During the first trip to Rhodes, it was pretty easy, as the twins did not need much more then their mother and breast milk. This long trip, when they were already 8 months old, was a little bit different as they were already eating normal food, trying to stand up, walk, crawl and move around. Every stage has its own charm, brings new challenges, but they like it! "It is amazing to see how they progress, and at the same learn with them",- says Toma. Twins Vėja & Uvis learnt so much during this trip: walking first steps, eating everything, getting stronger every day.
Main disadvantage when traveling with twins are: the whole family cannot sit together with two babies in the plane and there is noone around to hold your baby when you get tired.
Advantage: you see, learn & explore the whole world together with your closest ones. "You do not need to give up anything, especially traveling, when your kids are born. You have to experience the world together!", - says Toma.
When it comes to accommodation, Airbnb is the best option. It is cheaper to live in the apartments, especially when you have some special needs. Few rooms for us and the kids and one room for a teenage son of Gedas (he stayed with them for some time as well). You need to fit a lot of things into apartment - two baby cots, double baby wagon, etc. In other words, you want to feel comfortable when living away from home.
During those 3 months in Cabo Verde they changed 3 islands and stayed in Sal, São Vicente & Santo Antão. At Sal (they stayed at Santa Maria town) it was very warm, with wonderful golden beaches & light blue ocean. At São Vicente (lived in town Mindelo) they saw a famous carnival and every day was filled with local live music. At Santo Antão island they had a different view - green nature and mountains, where they hiked with twins everyday!
To finish off this trip in Africa, they flew to one of the Canary Islands - Fuerteventura. Holidays in one place is simply not possible for this family, children like to move around, adults like to hike & husband Gedas likes to do water sports. Waves can be good at different places each day!
In Africa, Dambrauskai family really admired the simplicity and kindness of local people. "You feel really welcome there. You wake up in the morning to go get some fresh bread, everyone says hello, gives a smile to you, even though you have not slept a minute last night and wear sun faded shorts that day",- says Toma. Moreover, when it came to food, finding big supermarkets was a challenge, as there were not any around. In order to get vegetables, for example, you had to walk through a couple of areas, as in one there was potatoes, in another carrots, garlic and so on.
Another challenge was to survive the twins being ill. Medicine is great there, doctors are all wonderful, but the fact of them being ill was a big stress for Toma. Last but not least, family had to deal with the attention from the locals towards the twins. "They were watching, touching many times, - all ok, but I had to say STOP many times",- says Toma.
Toma would definitely recommend visiting Cape Verde islands, to meet different people, known as ex-slave nation. Only recently they received their independence. It is wonderful to familiarise yourself with their local music, did you know that legendary Cesária Évora is from Cabo Verde? Go and experience their slow, consumerism-free, just simple living, especially with kids.
Check out their pictures, kids should not stop you from traveling!
Photo credit: Toma's personal album