I spent the morning washing and writing up the blog whilst Gary went to collect Hayley (our daughter) from the airport. I met them both down in Playa Blanca at 1.30pm. Hayley had only been with us an hour when she fell over a rock, I do hope we can return her to the UK in one piece. We had lunch on the rocks before purchasing some wine and heading back to the shared house. It was lovely, we had it to ourselves for at least 3 hours before a Mother and daughter joined us from the UK (Cornwall). We had just settled down to watch a video on the Apple Mac, but delayed this to talk to our new house guests. They were quite talkative so we had to wait a while before we could settle down. Hayley was shattered and a little stressed from work she went to bed at 8.30pm. We had a family room and all slept fairly well, Hayley complained that I snored, I gently explained that it was not snoring it was purring. We woke initially at 5.00am but as we were sharing a house we agreed to go back to sleep, and surprisingly we all did.
I had a poor night sleep for the second time in the accommodation, I think the room is too warm.
Breakfast of poached eggs and tomatoes on French bread then we set off for the 4K walk to the ferry port. We had to put some pace on to catch the at 9.30am, but speedy knickers Netty set a quick pace for us to follow and we arrived with 10 minutes to spare.
It was a pleasant ferry ride, the boat had a glass bottom and just outside the harbour the crew threw bread down the hull sides and we spent a while admiring the fish.
We arrived in Fuerteventura mid morning; the initial walk out of the port town was not very pretty but after a while, the walk took us away from the buildings, work sites and quarries so that we were walking along a mud and stone road come track.
Route signs were very poor out of town and instead of following red ringed posts, like we had in Lanzarote we had red and white posts to spot and follow.
As we walked along the track just out of town we were ambushed and attacked by at least 7 evil Chipmunks, they came right up to our feet and pulled out huge knifes telling us to give them all our food, they didn’t even break into song. This must happen often because a group of people stopped after us and they handed them their food, we had a lucky escape.
Ginette is really suffering with a pain in her foot, she is Ok when she gets going but it looks like agony especially first think in the morning and whenever we set off after a break.
In the afternoon we were all tired and made an error of buying wine and water from a restaurant at a much higher price than we would like, but it was getting late. The only supermarket was another 10 minute walk off the track and there was no guarantee it would be open. Our tired legs didn’t want to play. The wine cost 13 euro, compared to the 1 or 2 euros it would have cost from the supermarket! We probably wouldn’t have bothered but as it was Hayley’s holiday, we wanted to make it special for her.
As the day ended we were passed on the dirt track road by a boy racer, we have seen several Capri style cars that zoom past leaving a dust of cloud behind them.
The days walk had been fairly flat and mainly on dirty track roads or pavements, quite dull and uninspiring. Fuerteventura is a little greener than Lanzarote but the landscape is very similar.
We camped in an ideal flat clear area out of sight of the nearby houses. Not far from Julie’s finca/Casa. As we passed her house we could see someone exercises the horses in the yard.
Dinner was pasta, onion, tomato, pepper, chilli and garlic plus the expensive wine from the restaurant.
We are all a bit tired, this was Hayleys first walking day with us, she enjoyed her day but felt tired from walking with the extra weight that comes from this type of backpacking.
Gary’s diary with contributions from Ginette
It was a good nights sleep however we could hear a dogs chorus throughout the night and the wind picked up at about 02.00am.
Breakfast of coffee and porridge, packed up and set off at about 9.00am
Ginette wanted some Aloe Vera and was teased by the only plants being on private property but in the end, we found a wild plant. It was surprisingly easy to cut off a leaf and the Aloe Vera was easy to harvest as the leaf was well juicy. Ginette tried putting the sap on her foot and eating it but the pain persisted.
It was a really hard long days walk, covering about 25 k and finishing late. I wrote the blog feeling exhausted and struggled to remember the events of the day.
The terrain had been greener than previous but it was still patchy most of the area was desert like but with rock not sand. The rocks have a green moss on them making the landscape seem greener than it actually is.
Hayley took a tumble and landed on her face, she is shaken and bruised and may have a black eye tomorrow.
At lunchtime we stopped in a small village for some provisions the man welcomed us in perfect in English, he’d apparently moved out to Lanzarote many years ago and had been in Feurterventura for 20 years. He looked a bit fed up and said he was ready to go home, to England.
The tail end of the walk was the hardest, we were all aching and had a combination of niggles such as blisters, sore shoulders from rubbing (Hayley had put her rucksack down on the sand in Playa Blanca and the sand had ingrained itsself to her shoulder straps), aching shoulders and backs from the load we were carrying and Ginette was suffering from her sore internal heel injury. So when the signs started to contradict the distances we found it hard to stay up beat. The final town we needed to pass through before setting up camp turned out to have no shops to buy any provisions, we tried to buy water from a tourist spot but the lady was totally unhelpful on a grand scale, in the end I filled our empty water bottle from the sinks in the toilets. It was not drinking water but it was ok once we boiled it to use for coffee and porridge.
We were all very tired and stroppy with each over but managed to keep going without any major fallouts. I wanted to stop and camp out on the flat open ground but Ginette had spotted a building up ahead that she thought might make a secluded, sheltered pitch for the night. She left her rucksack with us and went to investigate, she came back 5 minutes later and encouraged us to join her. It was a great place and far better than where I’d wanted to collapse. We even cooked and ate our dinners on picnic benches whilst watching the sun go down.
We slept well but there were a few dogs barking, Hayley had visions of animals outside her tent, several sheep had been grazing near the tent when we bedded down. Ginette heard Hayley coughing in the night, at first she was concerned it was a shepherd then she was worried Hayley was having an asthma attack. She didn’t settle fully until she heard Hayley turn over. It is amazing how the motherly instinct kicks in once your children are around you.
The first part of the walk was pretty much the same with flat stone roads to walk on.
We reached Llanos delta conception but there were no supermarkets in the village so we stopped at a small cafe for goats cheese and tomato sandwiches with fresh juices.
Not long after leaving the village we found a mini market and stocked up for dinner. We have learnt to buy everything we need and additional water as the shops are very sparse. Many of the villages do not have a shop and those that do are often closed.
The terrain and walk changed in the afternoon we followed a narrow footpath straight up to the top of a 600m climb to the monument a Ayoze, we had great views both sides of the mountain and shared the experience with bus loads of tourists and some cyclists.
The walk down into Bentancuria was not as steep, we were grateful for this as it had been a steep climb up the mountain. Hayley is like a mountain goat as soon as she sees a hill/mountain she is off, her ultra marathon legs leave us standing.
We stopped for a while in this pretty town, it used to be a capital but is now a tourist hub. It is small and quaint. It made for a nice rest spot, especially as we found a store that sold cold beer at one euro a can! (in the supermarkets they are approx 50 cents a can). Just like the UK, the minute you are in a tourist area the prices increase.
We had another large climb out of town, again up a steep and narrow path right to the top of another mountain. Tiring but the views were great and worth the effort.
We managed to set up camp just a short distance from the peak of the hill.
Initially, we were bombarded by flies as we were hot and bothered, but once we cooled down and settled down then the pesky flies left us mostly in peace. It took Hayley awhile to chill out, the flies particularly liked her hot and frustrated body. Once she’d sat down and had a beer she chilled and the flies left her alone. It is really hard to calm your body down when you’ve completed a hike, you’re in unfamiliar territory, very hot and flies are buzzing around your face.
Dinner was gluten free spaghetti, tomatoes, onions, chilli, peas, pepper and tuna, very nice and filling.
Net and Hayley played Ludo and cards whilst I wrote the blog. It was a very enjoyable day. We are so pleased that the terrain has changed and that Hayley is enjoying the hills.
We thought we had the perfect camping spot and apart from the wind keeping us awake at times, it was a pretty awesome spot.
We choose the site because we could see a building just in the valley and if we walked to this we knew we would have to walk another 0.5km past the house.
However in the morning, we walked down the hill only to find the building was part of a dedicated picnic area with toilets and shelters and absolutely no one around, it would have been an even better camp site. We didn’t mind we took advantage of the toilets and had a strip wash in the sinks. We also filled our water bottles from the sink, water is really hard to find and we were not used to sharing ours between 3 people.
Ginette is really suffering from the pain in her heel, she tried setting off with no pain killers as we had no water, but in the end, she had to pop some with the water we took from the toilet sinks.
Early in the day we came across two barking dogs, they looked aggressive but merely were warning us not to stop on their turf. They came right out in the middle of the road, snarling and edging their way towards us. It appears dogs are used frequently to protect properties in the Canary Islands. Up until now the dogs have been behind fenced/walled areas or chained up. It was a little unsettling but there was no harm done.
A day of mountain trekking, we had a few large mountain climbs to do, at one point we were walking along a valley looking up at the road right above us and joked about seeing the view from up there. Only to find our route took us up what can only be described as a rocky goat track right up to the road and then gave us a bit more of a climb as we crossed the road and walked right up to the peak.
Great views but the day was really hard, the temperature went up to approx 27 degrees and we had no wind, plus we were struggling to ration our water. We did manage to buy some small bottles from a restaurant on the route, these were expensive and didn’t sustain us for long.
The walk down the mountain zig zagged but as both Hayley and I have weak ankles we had to take these downs gingerly as loosing our footing could be painful.
We stopped near the bottom of the mountain we were all pretty tired and very hot. We had no drinking water so I used the water from the toilet sinks to make some coffee so at least we could hydrate ourselves.
Ginette needed a wee, as soon as her knickers were down a car drove right past her, she was on a gravel track, in the middle of nowhere! It was the only car we saw all day. Ginette has a track record of showing her white bum off to locals in this manner.
On approaching the next town Pajara, we could hear music, the town was in carnival mode. We stopped in the square with the locals, Hayley popped to a bar to buy us a drink and in this short time a local lady came along and gave me and Ginette a free beer each, then when Hayley turned up with her cans of beers the same lady gave us a plate of potatoes ham and spicy local sauce.
The locals were all in fancy dress and there was a live band playing, we spent a good while in the square enjoying the atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly we had a great time mixing with the locals. It was great that Hayley got to experience this impromptu part of the travel adventure; one minute walking in the wild the next partying with strangers.
A couple of characters that stuck out for me are:
Two young girls dressed as old women with walking sticks really playing the part well, and an older man dressed as a woman that was more than happy to engage us all in the festivities.
The town had a couple of supermarkets which meant we could stock up for the next couple of days. We had a hearty pasta and sardine meal, beer and wine and camped in another small picnic area just out of town. The towns festivities were still going as we collapsed in our beds. It had been a great way to end our day.
The party went on till after 12, we could hear it but it was not disturbing. At around 1 pm we had a little dog come barking at us, it went on for a while so I got dressed and got up but by the time I had done this the dog had scarpered.
It was another very hilly hike, we joked before setting off that we would be walking in the mountains, which were shrouded in clouds, in front of us, this seemed bonkers as they were huge. However they say be careful what you wish for as this is exactly where we ended up.
The views were fantastic, panoramic views of both side of Fuerteventura coast line and a whole range of undulating hills and mountains all around us. The colour of the muddy rock faces was amazing, reds, browns and a scattering of green from the fauna and flora so unlike Lanzarote which in contrast appeared very grey and volcanic. Fuerteventura was the first of the islands to be formed from volcanic explosions. The landscape is still very volcanic in its appearance but it has more appeal than Lanzarote.
The wind was much stronger which in someways was a blessing as it stopped us from overheating. But with the strong winds we were buffeted about due to large backpacks we are carrying.
At the top of one hill (or at least we thought it was the top) after a bite to eat with only the birds and goats for company we had a stretch of pretty dangerous path to walk, one slip and there would be no coming back. We did this bit as safe as we could and once we had scrambled around this difficult section we then found ourselves going to the top of the next crag, eventually reaching the very top of the range.
The walk down was still interspersed with several more ups. We reached Cardon around 1.30pm found a small bar and treated ourselves to a beer, a bottle of wine for later and water.
We decided to call it a day, we had been trying to complete all of Fuerteventura with Hayley but time and hills had not been kind to us.
We spent the afternoon and evening settled down in a sheltered picnic area which provided protection from the strong wind. It was clear we would not reach the port in the time we asked Hayley what she wanted to do and she said she’d like to rest. She has a marathon to do in April and her feet were covered in blisters. We agreed to take a bus over to the coast, this would enable us to log on to the internet and book somewhere for a couple of nights. Our bodies and feet are weary and we all need to rest.
The ground was too hard to put up both tents so Hayley slept in our vestibule. We had thought it was going to be a windy night and had made her a really cozy space to sleep in. As it turned out in was the calmest night we have had since arriving in the Canary Islands. The picnic area where we camped was right near some wind farms, they were huge and noisy, it felt like an aeroplane was constantly flying over head. Fortunately, they stopped for part of the night which meant we could sleep quite comfortably.
The wind turbines were great to watch, they are so graceful an amazing invention and perfect for the windy islands. However, I have a new understanding of why people who live in close proximity of them complain about the noise.
As we were putting up the tent several lads arrived on their motocross motorbikes, they suggested we were in their home. This was possible but Gary laughed them off and when they asked him for some water he was pleased we had plenty to offer.
We awoke early and packed up the tent and made our way to the local bus stop. We waited for over an hour and did not see any buses. Gary enquired at a local supermarket and the woman seemed to suggest a bus would arrive at 12.30pm. That would have been another hour and a half away. A local man took pity on us and tried to explain that we were at the wrong bus stop (at least that is what we think he was trying to convey). It was clear we didn’t really understand him and he went to talk to his daughter. She came out a few minutes later and offered to take us to the next town Tarajalejo. She was very elegantly dressed and tried her best to have a conversation with us but it was very difficult as she spoke very little English and our Spanish is very poor. Again we were pleased that Hayley had got to see this side of travelling, we meet so many people who are generous with their time and go out of their way to help us. Once at the coast, we had a bite to eat, more beer and booked an apartment in Costa Calma.
This time a bus turned up as soon as we reached the bus stop, so it wasn’t long before we were sunning ourselves on a white sandy beach while waiting for check in time.
The apartment we stayed in was huge and well fitted out.
We stocked up on food beer and wine and settled down for a well-earned rest.
Ginette took advantage of the internet to self diagnose her heel problem. She is pretty sure it is Plantar Fascilitis which means she needs to rest her foot and purchase some sandals with support. She has mainly been walking around bare foot in the evenings and this apparently aggravates the heel.
Hayley’s summary of her week with us
Stress-free, amazing scenery, meeting new and different and welcoming people. Enjoyed seeing the chipmunks and the wild Abubilla birds. Didn’t like the pain, from carrying extra weight on my back and face planting the route. Loved the partying and walking up mountains with my crazy parents.