On the way to the Camino de la Costa

Spring 2009


emerged from the sea
I love it
When the wind gently
your green hair moves,
if your black body
evaporate in the blazing sun
and the sand of
your thighs trickles.
My soul dreams
at the sound of the waves
from early days and Tanausu
La Palma
Isla bonita

In the summer of 2009 Irene wrote me of their idea to hike around the island on the Camino Real de la Costa for several days. I was immediately hooked. We planned 6 days for the trip. It was 159 km and about 6400 meters height to overcome. I had hiked some steps already, but in the north I did not know some canyons. In addition it was tempt to sleep on the way in remote villages or caves. That would be an adventure again, I thought. Irene organized the various stages and the accommodations. She knew the whole route and had chosen for one of their guides and described, but she had not sleeped on the way.



On Saturday, 28.3.09 our men got final instructions to survive and 10.15 o clock we started happily in San Nicolas; the final goal for this day is Fuencaliente. There are 800 meters height to overcome and to hike about 15 km with a backpack of 9 kg. We walk about 2 km down the road and at the last houses from Jedey we turn off right on a foothpath. The path is full of flowers: daisies, geraniums, snake heads, fern, mixed purple Cinarien Right accompanied us the sea. Behind a forest of white lilies (asphodilias) left and right of the way and up to 2 m high began an impressive lava-landscape. Afterwards a pine forest and finally in 750 m we reach the road. Phew, the largest effort for the day is over. It is sunny, the first water bottle is empty, the backpack is still difficult. Difficulties given me put down the backpack – I almost dislocated my left shoulder – and by the put on I tip over forward. This must still be practiced. We walked about 800 m on the road, then turn left into a forest track and walk up to the Hoyo frio, an old volcanic cone with a flat sole, and surrounded by pine tress, flowering clover and Cinarien we make our lunch break.Afterwards we hike slightly downhill, on the right side the blue sea always in sight. In small depressions are chestnut trees an the slopes have vineyards on her back.



We reached Fuencaliente after 6 hours in the late afternoon. Anxious I am looking forward to the pension Los Volcanes. A friendly Spaniard greet us, a narrow staircase and a long dark corridor leads us to our apartment at the back with a view to a wall covered with green-blue king winds. The walls in the room are painted skyblue with an edge in rust tones. The windows have the same edge. We have a small, square balcony and a small kitchen. First, we decide to go to a fine dining. We go to the restaurant Era, which has a very nice palm garden and we will not be disappointed.We then make an evening stroll through the village at sunset. The houses are all there so calm. It smells of pine forest. Small, beautiful lanterns lining up the street to the church. Suddenly we hear hot music. I do not believe it is hop in the house of culture. About 30 couples, mostly white-haired move skilfully and beautifully to the sound of a real bigband. Paso doble, swing, foxtrot. The gentlemen in perfect posture. Looks like dance course for advanced students, said Irene. Reminds me of a group of sculptures by Balkenhol, which I had seen in a museum at Duisburg. The night is very cold. We keep on the socks in bed. At night Irene brings the bedspread. Under 3 blankets I sleep wonderfully.For the breakfast we proceed to the Bar Parada. A huge sandwitch with cheese, but otherwise very dry is divided, with half we are going to walking tour. The host fills our thermosflask with coffee and lets go.


Sunday 29.3.09 at 10.15 o clock
We go behind the church into the pine forest. On the left side we still look for a while by the morning sun on the beautiful terracotta houses of Fuencaliente. Slowly it goes in great switchbacks up into the forest. The sun sends wide strips through the trees as skyladders, where the angels climb down and the souls probably up. The forest floor is a green mat with yellow flowers. There is a mystic silence. The landscape opens up, vineyards on the left and on the opposite the wide, blue, empty ocean with a white edge of clouds as the cream on a fruit cake. From a distance greets the Fortaleza of Gomera. We run full of joy on the camino de las flores in expectation of many flowers and other high points in the landscape. So, think buddy! About 12 o clock suddenly pull on thick clouds, it begins to rain. The rainpants and waterproof jacket must pass their dress rehearsal. It now pours out of full cans. The visibility is zero. And after another half hour Irene is wet to the skin and I – well, yes – we say a wet, sticky feeling is spreading on my body. We go down and land in La Luna at the Casa Bar Augusta. Noisy drunken guys welcome us – the sunday brunch on the island. A very young host keeps in check the band. Respect! Irene changes her cloth and because the rain still does not stop after two hours we decide to take the us to St. Cruz.



To 16 o clock we reached our guest house. A beautiful apartment on the fourth floor of an old canarian townhouse awaits us. We make fresh and decide to lift our spirits with a nice dinner. But this is in St. Cruz on Sunday not possible. So what of pants of dead in the city, there is in the central cemetery in Vienna on Sunday more going on. All cafes and restaurants are closed and the whole city seems in a Sunday-sleep. No people in the alleys. Stop!! Almost at the end of the street the restaurant Ola is open from 19 o clock. The restaurant is on the first floor. It is six fifty and we decide, to go up and to start with a red wine for the evening. Slowly the room fill, but the service is nothing to see. We sit at the window. Looking over the ocean and slowly we die of thirst. After half an hour a waitress is coming. She is very surprised that we all sit there. Yes, what she expected? Aliens, or what? Then there is nothing wrong in eating.
Monday 30.3.09
Since the Camino de la Costa Puntallana winds up almost along the road, we decided to take the bus at 10.15 o clock. Irene still buys a fast rain pants and a rain shirt, because her jacket is still not dry. We have breakfast together with the President of the government!! And still get the bus to Puntallana. The weather is mixed, cloudy and humid. 10.40 o clock we start our day trip on a narrow, almost completely overgrown meadow that will eventually go down in a canyon. It is green, flowers to be in bloom and beautiful flowering thistles pricks,



which certainly feel disturbed. Until shortly before the canyon Tangu begins, I use my stick as a machete and I am pleased that we are not in south America, where the alligators springs out of the bushes. Irene said she has never seen an alligator jump, not even in Mexico. But who white? Fishes jump too! It goes through vineyards, banana plantations, vegetable fields slightly down; right side always the ocean, until we reach the lower part of El Granel and short reach the edge of the Canyon Nogales and see the other side of the impressive canyon the little village La Galga.To get there, we descend almost to the sea.The sea is wild today, the spray reaches us almost. The rise of a narrow rocky double bind get us into a sweat. Once at the top left we see the Montana de La Galga and right of the cliff. From here the trail leads almost no difference in height to the next canyon to the Baranco de la Galga, in which we descend again to the sea and up to Los Galguitos. We now proceed to the next and last canyon for the day, the Barranco de San Juan. It is beautifully covered with flowers and shrubs of all kinds, but the descent is a nightmare for me. Everywhere, water drips down the walls, the road itself, hidden among plants, rocky, slippery, never viewed. Step by step I hangel me down the ravine. Below my knees shake and I asoaked with sweat. We take a break in the small bay that opens up before we go slowly and already a little tired again on the way up. On the cemetery San Andres we come up (I could lie down smoothly, too) and now run comfortably in the village with its picturesque streets and quaint corners.



We still want to come to the Barlovento hotel Romantica. In overturning the hours that lie ahead and when looking at the clock – it is 18 o clock at Sauces – we find that we have a little bit wrong with the distances. We take a taxi and are around 19 o clock in the hotel. Over seven hours we were on the road today, about 15 km we have run, four canyons we have crossed, in total 800 m climb. It did not rain, clouds and sun altermated., Sultry warm we felt the temperature, the constant terrific view of the sea, which is offered only gray, then blue with white spots, always moving. Tired and broken then we stumble along behind the receptionist, the winding corridors accompanied us to our room – then drops down us the jaw – We open the door and are in a suite. Living room, closet, bathroom and huge bedroom. 7 windows, two terraces, Persian carpets and what I know yet. Unfortunately there is no loudspeaker-system in the facility, so we can only talk screaming when the one is in the bedroom and the other in the living room. For such a suite should actually get a butler to put that buys one of the paths etc., or bring messages from others in the room. If only it was not so cold. The room smelled slightly musty. It was probably some time no one lived here, the beds are not warm after two ours heating with a small fan heater. The are clammy and cold when we get insideIt rains and thick clouds envelops Barlovento. At once we explore the hotel. Everywhere, dark corridors, small, dark living rooms, a dark spa. As the hotel is open only slightly, it will probably save power. But this is no romance. The dinner – I eat chicken in rosemary-sauce – is edible, however the beer very, very good – Pilsner Urquell


Tuesday, 31.3.09
After a good breakfast we are at about 10 o clock back on the track. It is drizzling. After a short time I feel in my reaincoat as a sausage in their jackets. I will not get wet from the outside, but inside I start to steam. After half an hour, just before we reach the first canyon, it stops raining. First off times, five curious cats watching us. Then it goes down. The first two Canyons are to cope with difficulty. Due to the heavy rain of recent days the trails are slippery, partly buried by which fell on earth and in any case only shoe size 38-wide. We must be very careful where we draw near and we need a forty-five minutes at the 8oo m down to cope. According to is the climb very strenuous too.Bur very nice; very deep and overgrown on the ground with laureltrees, gorse and heathen trees. In between giant flowering, Calla, Cinarien, yellow clover. And the these silence. It is simply stunning. In the Barranco de Gallegos comes to us a troublesome narrow climb of a galloping herd of goats. We gφing to the hillside and then I think I am in a Hitchcock film. There are not 10, no less than 100 animals, with long horns, the happy bleating, jump down to ringing in the Canyon and they amazement at the strange bipeds hanging from watching there with a huge hump his back on the rocks.”Skin and not just stare yet,”I shout. “I will be right here windfall”. At last the nightmare is over. Silently we shimmy us up. “In Gallego, there is a bar and a supermarket, because we allow ourselves a good coffee and buy something for dinner,” says Irene.



We continue to the sky – yes, very nice – the bar does close in front of our nose, and the supermarket is closed – Siesta – make us worry, because our water supplies must be replenished and what should we eat dinner. Irene calls to our pension in Franceses to say where we are and what about shopping in Franceses. There is none, but Ineke, our hostess, says that we need not worry us, she cooks dinner for us. We are pleased but we can see from our location Franceses already on the opposite ridge. But yes, first it is to cross the ravine and back again is an enormous effort. The huge, imposing Canyon goes deep down to the sea and is still divided, which means we have to squeeze around a rock back around. To 18 o clock we finally reach Franceses.The card appeared this section is not very long, but as he goes through several canyons and we have to deal with large heigh differences, the tour is hard and exhausting. I believe that we have wandered through one of the most beautiful and authentic areas of La Palma.For all the efforts we are rewarded in Franceses. Ineke and Jan, two very nice Dutch people, welcome us with a cup of tea. The apartment is beautiful, delicious red wine with dinner. Frogs croak us to sleep – wonderful

Wednesday, 1.4.09
Early in the morning wake us the birds. After a delicious breakfast brings us Jan with his car part of the way so that we can save some time because we want to achieve on this day Garafia and not arrive at night the sleeping



is still questionable, it should be a cave!? In the Barranco Fagundo we see on the flanks several caves, which until the 20th Century were still inhabited. By Juan Adalid changed the landscape . It is barren on the slopes. We leave the moist north coast. The terrain is not so rugged, the canyons are less and are not as deep.It is sunny and warm. Abandoned fields with Sukkulenten bushes accompany us. The Canyon de Domingo leads again for hundred meters in depth and four hundred and ten up again. In this gorge there are again dragon trees and palm trees to admine. After a few small climbs off and we reach El Palmar to 250 m high and are continuing on a slope to the south. Finally, in Salvatierre separates us only the Barranco de la Luz from Garafias. We reach Garafia sweating. On the Plaza Balthasar Martin, near the beautiful church we make an extensive break. It is deathly quiet here – Siesta total – The church of Garafia with their unique twin ships, incidentally, one of the most beautiful ceiling of Mudejar-style of the island. We drink delicious fresh Zumo de Naranja and doze al little in the sun. As the supermarket will open at 17 o clock, we buy some food and red wine for dinner, which we cook and do the search for the caves. We will about 2 km on the road towards. Las Trizias along and turn right after a bus stop in a little house right lane. After about 15 minutes we reach the brink of a gorge. Irene begins to call out, from the bottom is an answer and we climb down a steep, narrow path insecure about 50 m. We come to a den and take on a small, somewhat dingy Indian women, who straight cut the hair of her teenage son.


She can not interfere her work, we must take on wobbly chairs, study space and the environment. It is not very reassuring. Where we sleep here? It turns out then that the cave allocated to us for 50 meters below the rock sticks. We see a giant hole in the wall, no doors, open, right on the hillside, into which one is a smaller hole, that is the bedroom. No beds, no electricity, no toilet. Shit is released above the slope. What a great event! But not for us. We flee the area and dive to the bus stop. At 19.30 o clock a bus comes and we decide to end our walk here and go home.After 5 days, 4420 m above sea level and 79 km of , our tour is over. Thanks to Irenes excellent guidance of their assets and organizational skills, we had beautiful days in this magnificent landscape. I have only tried to describe my personal impressions. Anyone who feels inspired, to make this tour, I absolutely recommend the travel and tour guides from Mueller Verlag, www.michael-mueller-verlag.de . All accommodations in which we have stayed,I can recommend. At best it was by Jan and Ineke in Franceses www.loscastros.nl