Monthly Archives: April 2019

Tenerife

19th April

The buses were on a limited service so we had to take one that got us to the airport 2 hours early, it’s a small airport so we just chilled and read.

The flight was only 30 minutes, and cheaper than the ferry.

We were worried that we find all the shops closed as it was good Friday so the previous day we stocked up on the food we need for at least 4 days. We had to buy water when we landed, the airport prices were high (3 euro compared 45 cents) so we only bought one drinking bottle from them and filled our bottles from the toilets taps. This meant we had to boil it for hot drinks and cooking food.

The walk out of the airport was not pretty, It’s hard to work out on MSN’s whether you can walk as the road systems tend to loop over each over but we did manage to find our way out with a little bit of jaywalking involved.

The GR131 goes right by the airport so we simply got back onto the route, there were no signs on the way and the walk was just up roads so was not very interesting.
We did finally find an information panel but the facts it offered differed from the route I had mapped. Ginette is a stickler for input and we were on the verge of getting the computers out to check the route, however, we decided to follow the signs and see what came of it.

Eventually, we were off the roads and walking in a woodland area, not unlike any in the UK. It wasn’t long before the route we were following had disappeared from my plotted Garmin route, as neither of us had spotted any other turnings we continued to follow the signs. This resulted in us getting lost when the signs suddenly stopped,. This was only for a short while as we managed to navigate our way back to my Garmin route. I have no maps on my Garmin only the course I have plotted, hence it doesn’t show any other paths.

Ginette – it was a little frustrating Gary’s Garmin trace did not follow the route and he was adamant he was right whereas I could see the route was different on the info boards. Although we were both shattered from lack of sleep we remained chilled and I agreed to follow Gary’s route even though I was sure it was wrong. At the end of the day, we were walking across the island and it didn’t really matter what route we took. After 17km of walking we stopped to look for a camping spot, Gary wandered along the route and returned a couple of minutes later to inform me we could camp about half a kilometre away. I followed him only to realise we were walking up a steep hill and they’d be no camping until the hill levelled out a further 2km away. He is rubbish at finding camping spots.

Gary
We eventually camped in a pine forest at 1450m,. I was still unsure why the route markers were so misleading and why the earlier information board showed different destinations and distances.

As the signs were still heading to our next stop we weren’t too bothered to research the issue, perhaps another board will clear things up.

20th April

Ginette slept very poorly last night. I slept OK but at one point I was being attacked by a bird from outside the tent, it managed to grab my legs and drag me along, it was shouting for Ginette’s help that woke me up, weird nightmare probably fuelled by the Raven on La Palma

It was a very cold and overcast start to the day. I spent some time trying to figure out what the route should be but our dongle internet was not very good.  I discovered that I had not plotted the route correctly and the actual GR131 heads over to the other side of the island and skirts Mount Tiede. I am happy with this as it looks a better route than my original route and takes us up much higher than my route.

The walking today has been all through heavy woodland, it’s not great to do this type of terrain as you have no reference points behind or in front to give you. No feeling of achievement, we could be on a treadmill in the woods.

Ginette was weary today from lack of sleep, this is day 2 of the Tenerife walk and to date, neither of us are enjoying it.

There were a view places that would have offered us breathtaking views of this side of the island and with Tiede as centre stage which would have lifted our spirits but it was so overcast that we couldn’t see this view. We know it’s there as there was a viewpoint with a picture labelled to tell us what we should have been able to see.

We had booked into a free campsite, just before we reached it we past a busy recreation area and a bar, so we treated ourselves to a beer and some wine to take away.

The camping area was rubbish, it’s was the government designated site that we needed to book online, it had no toilets and no water (I think the intention is that you use the recreation areas toilets and water supply, fine but it’s a 1000m walk for a pee) it’s basically just wild camping again but with some other people around to intrude on our privacy. But at least we can’t get fined for staying here.

Ginette – feeling really tired and emotional. I have not slept well for at least a week. Last night I had a huge hissy fit, I can’t get warm in our tent and spend most of the night shivering. If I put more clothes on, my movements get more and more restricted, to the point I feel I am in a straight jacket.

It was a cold, damp, dark day, it was really hard to put one foot in front of the other. With no views, it was difficult to see that we were making progress. Although tired, I ambled along, most days I love walking but occasionally I just want to sit and chill for the day. I am hoping tomorrow will be warmer and the clouds will clear. Tenerife at the moment is pants.

21st April

Last night we were tucked up in our bed when a group of teenage boys started to pitch a large groundsheet up as a bivouac right next to our tent, we both got up and asked them to move further away as there was a huge area to camp in, they did eventually move about 50 metres.

However, it quickly became obvious that this group was going to be a noisy bunch. We opted to move as well, we left the sleeping stuff in the tent and left the poles in and carried our kit to a spot further away from the teenage rabble.

It was a good move but I think we would have had to go into the next valley not to hear them. I think perhaps they were all competing to be the next town crier as they had several goes at bawling out in their strongest voices into the late hours.

Today we walked down through the woods then eventually we walked up to a long hard climb of about 1000m. We had sunshine in the morning and the odd promise of nice views, even a clear glimpse of mount Tiede peak. Then the clouds came in and we spent a good part of the day just trudging uphill and eating up miles.

However towards the end of the day, we broke through the cloud layer and we ended the day in the sunshine with great views all around, we couldn’t see the coast due to the cloud blanket.

We reached the area of Portillo and treated ourselves to a lemonade. We purchased the water we needed and a couple of expensive cans of beer to take with us.
We couldn’t find the GR131 route, all markings had disappeared. We scouted around and found a track which led to a visitor centre but we were given a bum steer by the staff and ended up going in circles.

Ginette did some more searching and found a mention of the GR131 on a signpost and this happened to tie in with my Garmin (which may not be set to the right route and is now just a guide) we followed this track and set up camp on a plateau at 2000m.

We managed to get some internet use from our dongle and it looks like we are on the right track, the signage here is rubbish if we are on the track then we have had no confirmation of this in the last hour.

I am now having to use Kerosene to cook on, it’s not as effective as the gas and harder to start and keep going.

Net and I had a little tiff when we couldn’t find the route, it was late in the day and very frustrating so we were both a bit fraught. This was not helped by the fact that I felt weak all day whereas Ginette is back to feeling strong.

Ginette – It was a frustrating day, Gary was clearly tired and like all of us this meant irritable, his Garmin and the GR131 signage posts were not compatible. The signs on this island have been really hard to follow. The blogs I had read in preparation for this island had mentioned that the route was a miss match of different routes.

When we stopped for a lemonade, Gary was exhausted, it took him a while to generate the energy to motivate himself. I put all our groceries in my bag, which is now as heavy as Gary’s and encouraged him to move forward. I was happy to follow the Garmin but Gary wanted to ensure it was set to the right route. We rarely get stroppy with each other but the last few kilometres were walked in silence. I walked ahead whilst Gary struggled behind. It didn’t help that we were unsure whether we were walking the right route.

22nd April
A cold night last night, that’s what you get for sleeping at 2000m on a clear night, I checked the temperature as the sun was rising at 1 degree, so I guess it was below freezing in the night.

I have an off tummy today and have managed to help fertilise various areas of Tenerife, it’s been OK to carry on walking I just feel a little weak.

Ginette set off a stinking pace along the plateau and I struggled to match her pace, then gave up and plodded on behind. Ginette has always walked faster than me, but today I could not keep up. Once I explained I didn’t feel so good, she slowed down and we walked together.

We had some great scenery to walk through, including a plateau between Tiede and a high ridge to our left. I joked that there would be some good views from the top of that ridge, and a half hour later we were climbing to the top of the ridge, we should have known the GR131 would send us uphill again.

It was a hard climb but it actually made me feel a bit better than just pounding along the flat.

Once over this ridge, we could see the southern part of the island, it was a long way down. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking down the hill, this is not easy as it’s hard on the muscles and joints.

There were a few more tourists around mostly going the other way to the summit we had just left.

We arrived in Vilaflor, the highest town in Tenerife, it was weird arriving in the highest town having spent 3 hours walking downhill to get to it, shows how high we were.

We were both weary, the supermarket was closed till 5 so we had 45 minutes to kill, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch, beer and wine so we didn’t need to cook tonight.

After a small shop for tomorrow’s packed lunch we set off planning a few more miles before setting up camp, the route obviously went bloody up and pretty steeply, as we were both tired we didn’t go far out of town and settled on a wooded hill with a view over southern Tenerife.

The wind picked up so before going to bed I added some rocks to our pegs. Hopefully, tonight will be warmer, but the wind is sounding threatening and we are still at 1550m.

23rd April

Last day of walking all the Canaries.

Ginette picked us a great camping spot last night we could hear the wind howling through the surrounding woods and hills but we were pretty well sheltered plus we had great views and even a fire pit where somebody else had been before. For the first time in a while, I actually got hot in the night and had to sleep naked and with the sleeping bag zip open.

I have been wearing the same clothes now for the 5 days of this section of the walk, I even sleep in the same tops but change my shorts for trousers and swap socks for sleeping.
My walking socks I don’t change at all and have used the same pair for 7 weeks (they do get washed but not whilst camping) and this morning I had to loosen them up as they were set like they had been in a freezer but they were not cold just stinking, they are going in the bin tonight.

Ginette cleans herself with wet wipes and has a couple of changes of light clothing but all I have been doing is brushing my teeth, so I guess I pretty much hum.

We have been leapfrogging a couple from Spain, we saw them on our first night, they’d camped where we would have liked to camp. The following day we saw them as they overtook us into the designated campsite, we saw them at the end of the next two days, we had finished slightly ahead of them. They were younger than us and carrying far less but they looked just as knackered as us at the end of each day.

The walk was fairly easy by GR131 standards, mostly down with the odd ups thrown in which were good for giving the legs a break.
I took a photo of a pointed mountain and should have guessed that was where the route would take us, we found at the end of the walk we were traversing a narrow path around this mountain to reach our final destination. The ground was uneven and both Ginette and I had a little tumble, Ginette managed to cut her hand whereas I escaped without any cuts or bruises.

The end of the walk in Tenerife was in Arona, the town is nothing special and to us a little disappointing as we couldn’t even find an end of the walk sign.

We had a little packed lunch picnic to celebrate our achievement then jumped on the bus to Los Cristianos to a hotel we had booked for one night.

As we approached the hotel, Ginette recognised it as somewhere she had stayed before with her sister, she wasn’t keen on the place last time but it suited us well today.

We had an apartment so I made use of the luxury of a kitchen and baked fresh fish, potatoes, broccoli and leek. Oh, how nice this food is when you haven’t had it for a while.

I think there was something wrong with the shower because the water ran brown when I used it. I am now clean but have lost some of my suntans down the plug hole. The socks have been binned and I have even had a shave.

We spent the afternoon being holidaymakers and sunbathing around the pool.
In the evening we ventured into the nightlife (well it was only 9pm but late for us) we sat in a karaoke bar and didn’t enjoy that or the €8 it cost for two wines. We then went to watch a Boy George tribute act, he was pretty good and got chatting with the audience so I managed to relax and enjoy this plus we switched to the beer which was much cheaper.

Ginette
It was a great feeling finishing the walk, but Tenerife was a little bit disappointing, the signage was poor and compared to the other islands the views were poor and the terrain less challenging.

24th – 28th April

For this last bit of the Canary trip, we are taking a rest, we have flown back to Gran Canaria as this is where our flight back to the UK is booked from.

We moved up to a hostel in Las Palmas, Gran Canary, it’s very basic but cheap.

The staff are lovely, the guests are not very communicative and you are lucky to get a grunt from them as you pass.

The first night was not too bad, but they moved us to a “better room” and the next night sleep was interrupted by the noise from the guys and girls having out on the roof as we had a high up broken window with access to the roof. The worst bit was that this window opened into the next room which was one of the shared toilets. In the night when someone turned the loo light on, it lit our room as well and then we could hear the moans and groans and plops like our heads were on the toilet seat. Yuk.

The area we were in was the old town so it’s, a great area to be in. We needed outfits for Shaun’s wedding so we did a shopping trip up to the main city, I bought a shirt and tie, Net failed to find anything.

The next day we rode a bus out to Aruba’s, a quaint little town in which we took a tour of a Rum distillery in which we got to try plenty of samples.

We then rode a bus out to Agaete, the plan was to bathe in the natural rock pools, but the weather was cold and windy. I don’t how but there were people trying to sunbathe.

The Hostel was getting us down as we had no privacy so we splashed out and moved to Playa Del Ingles, next to Maspalomas.

Our room here is much better, and the sun has come out so we are spending the time laying in the sun, resting our bodies ready for the next stage of our adventure.

KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still CameraKODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

La Palma

12th April
We moved to another accommodation, as we wanted an apartment with a kitchen and washing machine. The place Net found was great, it was an old typical Canarian home. It was a little odd though when looking out the kitchen window I was treated to Net waving at me from the loo as the rooms looked over each over and the windows were wide open.

We washed a load of clothes by hand, I had started a machine wash but before I pushed go I thought I had better check the soap powder on google translate, just as well as it turned out to be a bleach again.

Today we rested, sunbathed, looked around the pretty town of Santa Cruz.
Dinner was Alfonso, a Red Sea bream cooked with vegetables and potatoes.
Fish is really expensive here, these two fish cost us €8.

We ventured out later to see if any Easter parades were running, there was a build up of musicians forming slowly outside the main church.

Net went back to the room as it was getting cold and dark. I waited and watched as the parade started. They manoeuvred this heavy idle of Christ out of the church and down all the steps, it didn’t look easy but it was done slowly as with as much grace as they could muster. Then the parade took a very slow walk down the high street with the band playing behind and the locals all gathered and I followed as well.
It’s an amazing sight to behold.

Net
I went back to the apartment, I was cold and I knew I had a glass of wine and a packet of Maltesers with my name on them. We had seen a very similar parade only the week previously so didn’t feel I was missing anything. It was lovely having an hour by myself. When Gary got back we curled up on the settee and watched another episode of Fleabag. The small pleasures in life.

 

13th April

We took full advantage of the kitchen and had poached egg and mushrooms on bread for breakfast.

Our bus was not till 11.15 so a leisurely morning.
We managed to buy another gas bottle this time with the right screw fitting so I will not need to use the adapter, this was from a small hardware store just like Browns in Nailsea, this guy had everything.

Our bus was later then we thought as it was running on weekend timetables, one of my rucksack securing straps was on its way out so I went back into town to try to get a sewing kit, luckily a small cobbler had a spare needle and thread that he gave me for free, even threaded the eye of the needle for me.
I repaired my strap whilst waiting for the bus.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Whilst I was at the cobblers an older man and women behind me started to chat (in Spanish) quite animated as they had spotted my hearing aids and were both deaf themselves. This couple stopped again to chat to me and Net at the bus stop, they were a nice couple but towards the end they showed us some information that they were keen for us to have, it turns out we have now been chosen by the local Jehovior witnesses.

The bus took us to Los Canaries, we had a spot of lunch. I had a piece of cooked chicken and Net chose a dish that turned out it needed cooking so she ended up with bread and cheese. We purchased a lemon drink from the fridge and we both thought it tasted odd, it turned out to be lemon beer.

I think we made an error as we took a taxi down to Fuencaliente lighthouse for about €17 but we found since then we may have been able to get another bus.

The lighthouse area is pretty, the beach is black sand and rock. The sea looked inviting but it was very windy and was already 1 pm.

The walk from the lighthouse and the beginning of the GR131 route in La Palma went straight up climbing over 800 metres in the 7k we walked. The initial terrain was all volcanic, Ginette was strong today and was flying up the hills, from behind she looked like she was summiting Everest. I was feeling pretty weary, I think we are a bit overloaded as we are stocked up for a few days.

Once we were back to where we got the taxi, the town of Los Canaries, the terrain changed to pine forest. The walk was still climbing and will be all day tomorrow as well.
Net managed to find a lovely clearing in the woods to camp, we had to be quiet as the walking track was nearby and sound travels, we could hear the odd walker going by, but fortunately, no one seemed to see us.

Ginette
It is great wild camping but we really don’t want a fine for illegal camping which means we have to be constantly on our guard, this adds to the excitement but is a little exhausting as we are constantly on alert.

14th April
Net had another bad night, I had to get into her sleeping bag to stop her shivering, she is a worry. In my mind I had worked out I could leave the tent up and take Net down the hill in the morning if she was no better.

Ginette – I am not sure what is going on with my body, it has happened three times now, I suddenly feel very strange, I feel like I am going to faint, be sick or go to the loo. Last night it was the latter, but I was extremely shaky and like the other times my body went instantly into shivering mode. I took some paracetamol and it calmed down. The next day I had similar pains in my back as I had on previous occasions. Very strange but obviously nothing serious as I soon bounce back. I think my body takes about 6 weeks to realise I am actually going to be adventurous whether it likes it or not. On a funny note, I got up at about 4.00am with an urgent need to go to the loo again, it was possibly wind but in a tent, I was taking no chances. I scrambled out of bed and tried desperately to find the toilet roll in the dark, I didn’t want to wake Gary so gave up and grabbed what I thought was the baby wipes. Fortunately, it was just wind because when I looked down at the ‘baby wipes’  I realised I’d grabbed a bar of chocolate, I had a little giggle to myself and stumbled back to the tent, I so wanted to share the moment with Gary but he was fast asleep.

It was Easter Sunday but, other than the religious festivals it would be hard to tell, no Easter bonnets and not a chocolate egg in sight.

We set off about 8am we were not sure how far we would get but agreed to give it ago.  Breakfast was planned at the picnic area, approximately 2km away from where we camped. It was a tough 2km all uphill. Net struggled to moderate her breathing so we took frequent stops and walked slowly, but she is so strong willed she kept plugging away and eating into the miles.

We hadn’t realised the recreational picnic area would be off our route and down a steep path so rather than adding a further 0,5km we decided to have breakfast on the route. I used the last of the old gas bottle so it took a little while to heat the water for the porridge and coffee.

In the morning we were overtaken by several runners who appeared to be taking part in an uphill race. They definitely looked fitter than we did.

At our lunch break, we had a little doze, Net was woken up by a large crow trying to get into her rubbish bag attached to her rucksack. The cheeky bugger was as brazen as brass, he didn’t fly off when we jumped he hopped about wanting to be fed.

The day was mainly uphill and several times I suggested we could stop for the day but Net wanted to persevere. Our water supplies were low but manageable. As we approached the last 4km before our planned stop at a recreational ground we agreed to call it a day but the route suddenly changed and instead of climbing mountains we were able to make the distance easily.

Once at the campsite we were keen to have a shower but they were freezing cold, I eventually got some of my bits in and Net opted for a strip wash. We blagged a couple of cans of beer from Spanish lads, we offered to pay but they gave them as a gift.

The views today were glorious, we had blue sky and could see for miles. Sometimes you could see Tenerife, La Gomera and La Hierro in all the same view. We were above the cloud cover at a height just under 2000 meters.

The downhills were a little scary we both looked as if we were auditioning for mission impossible.

15th April

We did try to book the campsite last night before we left Santa Cruz but the offices shut as we arrived, we needn’t of worried as we were the only campers there for the night. All the family’s in the neighbouring park left as it got dark.
In the morning following a good nights sleep we set of with only one bottle of drinking water, three other bottles we filled from the taps so at the campsite so that we could boil the water for cooking.

The tap water in La Palma is not suitable for tourists so we are playing safe and trying to boil water or buy bottled water.

Ginette is far better today and set a fair pace all day, I was tired and let the feeling enter my head for the morning. I had to have a talk with myself, yes I am weary but it’s not that bad, once I started singing, the blues disappeared.

We spent the first few hours walking in cloud cover and rain, but once we gained some more altitude we broke free from the clouds into a bright hot sunny day, spending the rest of the afternoon above the clouds. Of course, this sunshine could be due to Ginette’s chanting to great sun gods to let the clouds clear 10 minutes before it actually did, she is a bit of a witch you know.

At one rest point, we were bombarded by an elite squadron of fighter pilots, they were zooming right next to us so close we could hear the windbreak as they whizzed past, we think this elite fighting force may have been Swifts.

Net had saved half a litre of wine to drink this evening, she has been carrying it around for 3 days and rather embarrassingly when she put her rucksack down she must have punctured the carton and found herself with red wine leaking down her legs. I tried to help but ended up bursting the carton which made it look like her waters had broken. There was only a couple of sips left in the carton so I did the decent thing and finished it off.

We reached Ponta De La Roques at about 3pm, there was a well-built cabin with sleeping quarters of 4 large wooden bunk beds for approx 20 people and another room with tables and chairs. It had one water tap outside but no toilet facilities which would explain why the area was scattered with wet wipes as we approached. Wet wipes are a sin when it comes to walkers, they are scattered around where people have done there business but unlike the shit which can and has decomposed these bloody wet wipes remain to spoil the countryside.

We filled our water bottles but didn’t stay as by the time we had soup and hot water it was 4pm and we felt we could get a few more miles in. A German couple that were there said we may be able to camp at the car park of Pico De La Nieve. The couple were staying in the cabin along with at least one other. They explained they’d rang ahead and 12 people were scheduled to stay the night. The female of the group was keen that we went on, to the lower area, eagerly telling us about the flat ground and how we could cover the distance in 2 hours. The male was much more relaxed and argued we had all the time In the world. On balance we decided we preferred a little more privacy so decided to walk on.

The walk today once out of the clouds was again very hilly but not as bad as yesterday as we are already up pretty high, each rise or corner turned was greeted with a fantastic view over all the clouds with the higher mountains poking out.

When we reached the turning for Pico De La Nieve it turned out we had a further 2K walk downhill to get to a car park, which was off our route, we didn’t fancy this so, at the first camping spot on the route down to the car park, we pitched our tent. We camped on the footpath itself in a slightly wider area so if anyone does use the route then they can get by.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

16th April

It was a cold and windy start but the clouds were well below us so once we got back on the ridge we had a day of fantastic views again.

We had worked out that if we could not finish the route today we had enough food to wild camp but not enough water. When we finally reached the star observer which was on the highest ridge (this seemed to take ages as you could see them from a long way off) we set about finding water. Ginette managed to ask a worker who shot off in his truck and came back with a pack of water, he gifted two us free of charge, there are some lovely people in this world.

We continued to the highest point at around 2500 meters of Roque De Los Muchachos. It’s a little disappointing to get there and find a car park, with lots of tourists visiting the scenery the easy way. It is well worth the drive up (or the bus) as the views are great. A family group were desperately looking for their two lost dogs, we hadn’t seen them but offered to call them if we did. We could only hope they hadn’t fallen off one of the cliff edges.

Whilst we ate lunch
Ginette had a little wobble and was worried we wouldn’t find anywhere on route to camp, we had a further 17km to complete, I was keen so we set off with our fingers crossed.

The route was mainly downward with a few ups for fun, the going was hard as in some areas we were both slipping on the loose stones. It has been interesting watching people running up the hills and then skidding down them. They are a lot braver than we are.

We traversed a whole range of rock types on the way down, flint, red sandstone, yellow sandstone, chalk, granite, sand and volcanic rocks.

With about 9km to go, we were both weary, La Palma has been a hard walk, we managed to stop at about 5 pm and set up camp next to the path, there was nowhere else as the mountainsides are really steep.  I wrote my blog on the ground sheet and we cooked dinner, the tent had to will till nearer sunset, this way we avoid being fined for illegal camping.

Ginette shoes are falling apart, tonight she has tried to pack under the insole for the remainder of our walk tomorrow.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

17th April
Sleep was intermittent as we were on a slope and every time you turned over you had to reposition yourself on the small mattress, ours are the shape of the sleeping bag so are tapered at the feet so there is not a lot of room to play with. The wind also picked up in the night and you could hear it walking through the woods, fortunately, the trees were helping deflect it from us a bit. In the morning it was raining so we had to pack everything away soaking wet.

The initial walk continued downhill through the woods in the rain. The terrain improved and we began to think we could have gone a bit further the previous day but that soon changed.

It did start to clear up and stopped raining and eventually the clouds cleared and we had a clear sunny but windy day.

We stopped for breakfast at a clearing on route and rang my mum to wish her a happy birthday, as we sat there we could see the sea about 1,000 meters below us and in the opposite direction, we couldn’t see anything through the wet, cloudy mist.
Not long after setting off from our breakfast stop another couple of walkers caught us up, they had found a piece a loose string at a dry spot where someone had been camping and thought it might be ours. I dare say the dry campsite they had seen was ours but the string was not, they were fine about our wild camping and had been doing the same themselves, they had also done the GR131 from the lighthouse. This couple were Spanish and live in Gran Canaria, they had also walked La Goroma but they did this at Christmas. This couple were younger than us and were travelling much lighter, compared to us they looked like they were sprinting down the hill, we felt very slow and clumsy in comparison.

To reach our final destination of Puerto De Tazacorte we had to divert off the GR131 as it was closed for maintenance and follow the GR130, this was a slightly longer route but looking at the cliff face we would have had to come down may have been easier.

We saw a few more tourists on day walks heading up the hill as we got closer to the towns, they had no bags and seemed to us too unprepared and in some cases very white, sweaty and unfit.

Puerto De Tazacorte was very windy and the sea really rough. We witnessed a lady be dragged into the waves as she paddled too far into the breaking sea, a lifeguard had to go and help her as she was dragged back and forth in the breaking surf, it was funny at first but then started to look very dangerous and scary, in fact she was lucky to have been rescued.

We met a charming elderly German couple, we had seen them a couple of days ago at the top of the mountain, they came for a chat and we exchanged travel tales, he had been on many adventures himself in the past and he enjoyed sharing these with us. That will no doubt be us in 30 years time, who am I kidding that is us now.

We took the bus to our booked accommodation at the nearby larger town of Los Lanos. It took us a while to gain access, booking.com had the place marked in the wrong place on their map and when I called the number the lady had no English. After an interesting exchange over the phone and with the help of google translate, we finally find the correct street.

Our first task when we entered the property was to wash our very dirty bodies and clothes after 4 days of wild camping we were very smelly.

Interestingly neither of us could sleep well, we had a warm dry and quiet room but I wrote this blog update at 4am as I was wide awake, perhaps I should have slept on the floor in my sleeping bag on the terrace roof?

Giving up!
Last night we were both exhausted and we were looking at the alternatives we had for the remainder of our time in the Canaries. We were considering camping on a free site either on this island or even travelling right back to La Gracosia on Lanzarote. We also considered booking accommodation. But yesterdays mornings walk was not so bad and the cost of accommodation is pricey on all of the islands as it is Easter and this is a special time for the families here. So we have opted to stick to the plan, therefore we are off to Tenerife to finish the walk. We have another day on La Palma, we plan to take a bus back over to Santa Cruz where we have another place booked, this time with no kitchen but we have worked out that this place is cheaper so will allow us to eat out. We will also be able to buy Net some new boots as her big toe is now hanging out the bottom of her boots.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

La Gomera

7th April

Net’s diary

Early start to get the bus, fortunately, I woke feeling 100% better. We had plenty of time to pack up and get to the bus stop for 7.30am. Each bus zone costs one euro sixteen and I have been really good at ensuring we have the correct change. Sod’s law I was 20 cents short for this early trip, I apologised to the driver who was not pleased and offered either a 10 euro note or the change I had, he reluctantly agreed to take the change. I didn’t feel too guilty because I had consistently rounded up the amount required on each trip and on balance I think we were probably about equal.

The El Hierro airport is small, really small, we have been in smaller but it only has two airlines Binter and Canary Airlines. The process for checking in is really straightforward you simply present at the desk, hand in your allocated luggage (free 20kg allowance for all passengers) and return to your seat. Once security arrives you go through the normal process of taking your shoes off and separating out your electrical goods into trays but the process is very quick and hassle-free. Of course, that is if your name is not Gary, he would be the one picked for a random check. In fairness, it only took a few minutes more and as he was dressed in colourful shorts with two hats on his head I am not surprised they pulled him they probably thought he was the most likely passenger to be carrying drugs.

The plane ride was only 40 minutes long but the air hostesses managed to provide all passengers with a courtesy chocolate wafer biscuit with a napkin, later a glass of water and a little later a boiled sweet and a face wipe. Amazing service, Ryan air and EasyJet can learn a thing or two from this airline.

Once in Tenerife we decided to visit a small town called La Laguna, we had a short wait for the bus but we didn’t mind. The journey cost 5 euros 30 this was extortionate compared to what we had been paying on the other islands especially as it was only a 10 minutes bus ride.

We stuck lucky with our choice of destinations, we had 6 hours to kill before our onward flight to La Gomera, our luggage had been transferred direct so we were carefree tourists. As it was the Sunday before Easter there was a big religious procession taking place in the town it was led by men, women and children dressed in blue gowns with blue cone hats, followed by a group of marchers carrying staffs and behind them a statute of Christ being wheeled by several dignified older men, finally at the back of the procession was a brass band. It was great to follow the procession in the midday sun through the streets of Laguna.

It was a chilled out day and we arrived back at the airport in plenty of time for perhaps the shortest flight we’ve ever taken to La Gomera. Two of the passengers carried dogs onto the plane, I don’t recall ever seeing that before.

We stayed the night in Saint Sebastian in a lovely (but noisy) apartment in the centre of town. Before settling down for the evening we ventured out to explore the town and to have a drink in the bar where competitors meet for drinks before starting their 3000-mile journey across the Atlantic. The bar was much smaller than I imagined, it must be heaving every evening during the run-up to the event. Our host said she is already fully booked in all 5 of her properties. It was interesting to hear that have arrived on the island at the end of the seasonal period, apparently business slows down after April as the island is too hot for tourists.

 

8th April

Gary’s diary

We left San Sebastion by bus this morning after a shopping trip for food for camping.

The bus route number one didn’t stop exactly where we wanted but the stop was only another 1K down the hill so this was not a problem.

The bus rides in La Gomera are up switchback mountain roads giving stunning views of the surrounding mountains and sea, plus Tenerife in the background.

The bus dropped us at a scenic view area just as a coach arrived and spilt out its tourists in front of us, our walk took us away from the crowd, straight onto the GR131 and into the rainforest.

We followed this path for the 1K then headed down inland towards El Cedro, down some steep slippery tracks and also onto the road which was also very slippery.

We reached the campsite and booked in at the cafe.
I don’t think Ginette was impressed, but at €3 each I thought it was pretty good.

We have terraced areas to camp in, shelters to cook under and picnic tables on each terrace. We have a cooking area on each terrace where we can build our own fires.
The toilets aren’t great but at least we have them. The showers are open, outside and cold water.

One of the snags is there is a footpath where we have seen lots of walkers pass right through our campsite heading for the cafe.

Net – for context the views from this campsite are beautiful however we passed 4 large barking dogs, at the bottom of the campsite was a field full of mangy sheep, goats, turkeys and other birds. There was only one toilet with no toilet seat. The showers were outside with a note saying it was OK to wash naked! The sink for washing dishes etc was full of leaves and scum. Admittedly we only paid €3 each but we would have had more privacy wild camping. Moan over.

Gary – After setting up camp we set off downhill for a walk, Net turned back after a while to save herself for the long walk the following day, I headed on right down to the road about 4K downhill, then climbed back up, collecting firewood on the route.

The walk was steep and strenuous so I needed a shower when I got back to camp. I did this naked in view of the cafe and ready to shock any passing walkers, but as the showers were bloody freezing I don’t think I could have shocked anyone.

9th April

Gary’s diary

A bad nights sleep, we had dogs nearby barking, a couple who decided they wanted to talk all night right outside of our tent and to top it off a stoned young lady came to our tent in the middle of the night shouting and whistling (this Island has its own whistling language, which is great but not outside your tent when we had both gone to sleep). I had to get out of the sleeping bag and out of the tent, she was after some more papers for her roll-ups. I am not sure what time this was but, it was probably 2 or 3 in the morning.

After breakfast, we walked back up the 4K climb to the main road and the GR131.

We hiked back to San Sebastián which was a total of 17K.

The walk was through rainforests and had spectacular mountain views. We followed tracks hugging the mountainsides and enjoyed the ocean views across to Tenerife. Mount Tiede was playing hide and seek between cloud cover.

Towards of the end of the walk, we were both very weary, the walk had been hard going and the track was often uneven stone and steep ups and downs, the knees and thighs took a real battering.

We were also tired from last nights restless sleep, this was the most tetchy I have felt on this trip.
We reached San Sebastian with an hour to go for the next bus back, we shopped for fresh fish to treat ourselves and foil so we could cook it over a wood open fire. To award our efforts we had a beer at a local cafe.

I was tired and managed to confuse myself on the bus times, I initially thought we had missed the bus and we would need to get a different one but when we turned up at the station there was the bus I initially thought we were going to catch, told you I was tired.

We were dropped off slightly lower than the previous day which meant a little further to walk, the clouds had covered the mountains and it was raining. We walked the short distance to a shelter and had a small pack lunch.

The walk back to the campsite took nearly 2 hours which is a small feat in itself.

We treated ourselves to a beer in the cafe on site, Ginette then went quiet and pale. She was then very poorly taking to the tent in a shivering fit, she is such a worry.

Gary
I was unsure what to do for her, in the end, I cooked the fresh fish and Langostine so she would at least eat something.
To cook the fish I cut and garnished with garlic and chilli and wrapped open foil to steam roast on the open wood fire I had made.
Ginette did get out of her shiver pit to come and eat, she was still odd, very pale but had stopped shivering.

The lady from the previous night walked nearby our tent with the owner, she was still making loads of noise and whistling, I made sure I walked over to see them, I don’t think she is all there either, she was definitely stoned again. She asked me again if I had any weed, I told her no we are poor, I hoped that would deter her from waking us again.

Ginette – One minute I was absolutely fine the next I felt extremely weird, I almost fainted and then I went very cold. I was that poorly I left my beer and went straight back to the tent. I realised I was wet so stripped off and got into my sleeping bag but I could not warm up. I took paracetamol fearing another infection but after an hour of none stop shivering took another. I would have gladly stayed in my sleeping bag, but Gary had gone to so much trouble to cook the fish, it would have been selfish of me to not even try some of it. I had no appetite at all but once I’d eaten some of the fish my body started to recover. I think my blood sugars must have dropped and perhaps my blood pressure dropped. I don’t really know what happened but I didn’t like it one bit.

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10th April

Before Ginette was ill yesterday we had decided to pack up camp and walk the rest of the island with our packs. I was surprised to find Ginette still up for this plan, she had already packed the bedding away while I was doing breakfast.

Our walk from the campsite took us through the rainforest national park, it’s surprising how remote some peoples houses are, only accessible by a walking track, there was even a small church on the edge of town in the forest on its own.

Today we bumped into loads of other hikers, mostly from Germany. Some are walking in small groups with a guide, others as couples or small families.
It took 7km of uphill walking to reach the GR131 route, this happened to be the highest point on the island.

Ginette struggled in the morning with the hill climb (Ginette – my legs felt like jelly and I was exhausted from the previous day. I remember thinking at one point, I don’t want to do this, I am such a liability to Gary, he would be better off travelling on his own). The weather was overcast, damp and cold. But once we started the slow descent the sun came out the clouds cleared and this section of the walk led us along mountain tracks on steep mountainsides so we had some great views.

We found a camp spot on a terraced piece off farmland with great views of a valley in front of us but it was right in front of a village called Pabon. Due to the terrain, we had to pick a flat spot that we hoped would be OK. Before setting up camp we left our rucksacks concealed and went in search of a cold beer. We found a lovely sunny spot, I did contemplate climbing a mountain opposite us a German couple had recommended the climb but my knee has started to twinge a little so instead I relaxed with Net and enjoyed the view.

We set up camp hoping no one would complain, it is illegal to wild camp in all the Canary Islands but La Gomera is most anti-wild camping. This may be due to the fact that in 2012 there was a huge fire that destroyed a lot of their forests. Several websites warned of on the spot fines for wild camping, however, we had little choice so we tried to be as discreet as possible. This is not easy on La Gomera as the ground is very cracky and mainly on steep mountains, with very little flat ground.
As we finished dinner a man walked past on the road above us, he shouted down to us, I initially thought he was telling us off but it seemed more likely he was warning us of rain. It was possible that the terrace area we were in could be affected by heavy rain, we couldn’t be bothered to move the tent, it was late and there were very few places we could have moved it to. As a precautionary measure, we put our rucksacks in the inner tent area with us. Not long after seeing the man the wind picked up, so it is possible he may have been trying to warn us about this, either way, we couldn’t understand him and he walked off and left us be.

We hunkered down for the night with rocks on the pegs, hoping we would not find ourselves swimming in the night.

Ginette was much better, it’s no fun walking when your partner is obviously not happy and well but this afternoon we took it easy, the route was easier to walk and we stopped by 5pm.

Ginette – I found the morning really hard, my foot ached, my legs were like jelly and I was exhausted. I remember thinking Gary would be better off without me, I am such a liability. It was the first time on this trip that I would rather be back at home, fortunately, the feeling didn’t last long and by the afternoon my mood and outlook improved.

11th April

A very cold and windy night, we had to sleep in all our clothes, thermal socks and two layers. To reduce the weight for hiking we purchased lighter sleeping bags and a tent. The sleeping bags are great if it is warm but useless on cold evenings. For the next stage of our journey, we will replace these with our old sleeping bags, which were much more effective. It was very windy during the night which meant another restless night.

We didn’t cook at our makeshift campsite as it was windy and we were in an exposed position in the town. As we packed up the tent we realised we had no walking sticks, we had left them in the bar in the village. Fortunately when we arrived at the cafe/bar one of the staff arrived to let us in. It was a small village we would not be surprised if they’d seen us packing up and opened up the cafe especially so we could retrieve our walking sticks. So much for us being discreet!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

After a short while, we came across another small town with a supermarket with a bar/cafe attached we treated ourselves to coffee and a hot baguette. The GR 131 walk has very few villages on route, in this village, we met a German couple who were hiking the island. They stopped us to ask us about the route to San Sebastian and asked us if there was anywhere on the route they could get water. We suddenly realised that unless they stopped at the campsite there was nowhere on the route and the campsite was a good 4km off route.

Ginette looked a lot better this morning despite the cold night’s sleep so we made good progress. We had planned to take a bus to our next destination Villahermosa however when we crossed the bus route she was still going strong and we decided to continue on foot.

The initial stage of the day was on the east side of the island, we had some narrow tracks and steep rocky gorges to pass, once past the main road we entered the national park again and walked through the rainforest.

When we started to make our way down the mountain onto the west side towards Villahermosa we were treated with some great views down the beautiful valley (Hermosa is Spanish for beautiful). The path was pretty steep at 30% and we both found this a struggle with sore knees hips and nets bad heel.

At the bottom, surprise surprise we had another up to do, this GR131 must have been planned by a relative of Stuart Pattern-Lawrence.

On the way down we wondered if we might be able to time it right to be able to catch the bus back to San Sebastián and the ferry to La Palma, it didn’t matter if we couldn’t but we decided to give it a go.

On arrival (after even more steep ups and downs) in Villahermosa, we arrived at the bus stop with 3 minutes to wait for the next bus would have been another 2 and a half hours wait. We couldn’t believe our luck.

The bus ride up and down the switchback mountain roads is a treat and I tried to video some of it.

When we reached San Sebastián we marched straight to the ferry port as there were two ferries docked in the harbour, but it turns out neither of these were going to La Palma, the ferry wasn’t until 8pm and it was only 5pm.

After some internet research, we discovered the evening ferry would take 2 hours and cost £85 whereas the ferry the following day would cost £45 but would take 5 hours. We looked at accommodation prices and the apartments were slightly cheaper on La Palma so we decided to cross on the 8.00pm ferry. To pass the time we treated ourselves to a pizza in the main square. We were served by a girl who came from Blackburn but had been raised in La Gomera when her family returned to the UK she decided to remain on the island. Although she has retained her northern accent she explained she now thinks in Spanish and English is like a second language to her.

Our Ferry was delayed, which meant we didn’t arrive on La Palma until 11.00pm. We had booked accommodation in a hotel and after departing made our way – uphill (of course) to book in. We were greeted by a very friendly and welcoming receptionist, who showed us to our room. Although small, it was very nice, the staff had made the towels into swans and chocolate had been placed on our pillows. Despite the late hour we both stripped and jumped in the shower, we felt very smelly and dirty. We ended the evening watching an episode of Fleabag and having a glass of wine in bed, very civilised.

El Hierro

30th March

A transit day today in preparation for tomorrow’s flight to El Hierro.

A leisurely breakfast and a bus trip to Aguimes which is closer to the airport.

On the walk to the bus stop some German or Spanish elderly gentlemen had a little tussle, I think the cyclist was annoyed by the walkers yapping dog, but he went back to them, we didn’t see the whole thing but he was pushed off his bike by one of the men and it looked like punches were about to be thrown when the women stepped in to try to calm things down, oh the excitement. The irony was this little tussle took place in a park dedicated to
Mahatma Gandhi and around the park there were plaques with quotes denouncing violence.

The bus route dropped us off 7k from Aguimes so we jumped in a taxi, we were glad we made this decision as the route was all main road with no footpaths.

Aguimes was a nice surprise, it is a little tourist town with narrow streets and loads of bronze sculptures, the kind you can interact with.

Our accommodation was in an old townhouse with huge high ceilings, we had a shared kitchen and loos.

Not long after arriving it started to rain pretty heavily (and rained for the rest of today). The house had an open courtyard and it was weird watching and listening to the rain. The rooms led off the courtyard and it was strange having parts of the house open to the elements.

In a rain break, we had a wander around looking out for the many sculptures and even treated ourselves to a beer in a bar.

We had bought pizza and bread to make our own garlic bread but on return to the house, we found the electrics in the kitchen had failed.

The man came out and couldn’t fix it, he said it was the rain, he did move the microwave to our room for us.

The internet t the rescue, I searched for the best way to cook a pizza in a microwave and found a method thus;

Bing the microwave for 1.5 mins
Then heat the base on a job for a few minutes ( the hob was electric so didn’t work so I used our camping stove instead).
Having added some more fresh ingredients re-microwave for 2 mins, then heat again on the makeshift hob to keep the base crusty.
Meanwhile garlic bread in the toasting grill, again using a plug-in our room.

Dinner was actually OK but it was a lot of faffing around.

 

31st March
Travel day to Le Hierro

I had four bad things in the first 10 minutes, turned the shower on only to find the head was pointing upwards, the water cascaded all over the bathroom, spilt sugar, dropped and smashed a glass and discovered I had set the alarm to 6.30pm. Just as we woke early as we had a plane to catch.

Breakfast of porridge and coffee made from the kitchens kettle that we had to plug in our room as the electric was still off.

We called a taxi at the taxi rank just as a bus came around the corner, which was a surprise because our interpretation of the bus timetable was that buses didn’t run on Sundays. We clearly read that wrong, as there were several buses operating. We ran (well hobbled along) to the bus stop to see if we could catch it. Turned out the bus for the airport would leave at 8.00am, giving us 15 minutes this was great as it saved us a few bob, the buses on Gran Canaria are really cheap.

I loved the flight as we had great views over the Canary Islands, I could pick out landmarks, as we flew over them. It was interesting to see there was snow on the top of the mountains in Tenerife.  There were only 14 people on the plane and that included the air hostesses.

Arriving at le Hierro the island was covered in a huge dark cloud. Ginette had checked the weather and it looked like rain so had booked us into a room for 3 nights. We could have camped in the mountains for a few Euro a night but if it rained it would make an unpleasant walking experience. We only have a couple of sets of clothes and would not be able to dry them out.

Another influencing factor was the fact that it was much colder in the mountains, wild camping was not really an option as we wanted to walk without any weight in the hope this will enable Net’s foot to heal.

Initial Impressions of El Hierro is it is quiet and not as tourist developed. Unfortunately, the cloud over the island makes everything look a bit greyer than it probably is.

We have decided we will walk parts of the island but not cover the GR131 route, as this would mean wild camping and carrying our rucksacks. However, we will cover the middle stretch, over the highest point on El Hierro, which is based on the centuries-old pilgrimage route, the Camino de La Virgen. Every four years the whole of the island walk the length of the GR 131 route, this would be an impressive time to be on the island.

The main town of Valverde is really small, we arrived on Sunday, all the shops were shut and there was hardly anyone around so probably not the best first impression. Added to this we were approached by a man who was down on his luck, he had stitches over his eye and looked in a poor state. He wanted money for a meal, we bought him some bread and cake. We saw him again later in the week as we moved onto a new area and again felt compelled to give him some money for food. We have not seen any other beggars on our travels in the Canary Islands.

The buses are easy to get around on. We took a bus straight from the airport for €1.16 each. Then another to Frontera for the same fee.

We are just on the outskirts of Frontera in Tiguary.

The room is pretty poor and has no cooking facilities but at least it’s dry and we can go walking with no kit on.

The sea was a 2.5k walk downhill to a rocky cliff face, most of the island is rocky cliff faces, the walk was OK we passed pineapple and banana plantations en route. There was a guy fishing but his spot on the rocks looked a bit precarious.

We splashed out and had dinner out it is nice to eat out but it seems such an expense when we can cook food exactly as we want it for far less cost. Not eating out means we are not interacting with the locals as much as we would like to.  We are trying to learn spanish and the best way to do this is to speak the language. We found trying to read the menu difficult even with our translation apps. So we learnt a few new phrases for cooking terms last night.

 

1st April

Although we had no kitchen we boiled water on our little terrace and had coffee and porridge to start the day.

We decided to walk the first half of the GR131 Camino de Le Virgin but doing it backwards and straight from our accommodation.

I carried a light rucksack, with our coats and lunch, Net was able to travel light, in the hope that this will help with the healing process, however, we still had a 20k walk to do.

The first 5k was up a steep mountain behind our village of Frontera. At first the track was not signed and had been barely walked and we found ourselves bouldering as it was so steep, however, we joined a far more defined and signed track for the rest of the walk up the hill. It was hard going but great.

We walked through a rain forest environment, very lush and green with moss growing on all the trees. At the top, we were in the cloud cover so unfortunately, we did not benefit from the views, that I am sure would have been quite spectacular.

We passed a church near the top in the middle of nowhere with only a grass track to it.
Once at the top we found the Camino de le virgin trail and was able to follow this for the next 15k in a mostly downhill direction.

In some areas, it was like walking in the Peak District with pine forests, stone walls, sheep farms and lots of greenery. The weather was overcast and cold at the top, which helped reinforce the feeling of being in the UK.

Once in Valverde we treated ourselves to a beer and caught the bus back.
All in all a nice walk, it would have nicer to be treated to the views and to some sunshine but it beats working for a living.

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2nd April

The weather forecast for all the Canaries was not great for the following three days or more, we checked out the other islands and they all had a similar report to various degrees of cold and wet. We had booked our room for three nights but we needed to decide our next move. We figured we may as well stay on El Hierro and find somewhere to stay which will offer us better accommodation, and a new area to explore.

On our last day in Frontera, we braved the weather and walked the 4K to the coast rock pool swimming area of La Maceta, it started to rain as we arrived and we got pretty wet.

The area was well laid out with a protected swimming area, but the sea was so rough it was crashing over this area so unfortunately, we could not go swimming. There were shelters around the beach with BBQ areas so we sheltered under the driest we could find.

Sitting watching the sea smashing into the bay is a great way to while away the hours.
Our thoughts went to our friend Alistair who tragically lost his life in the sea, he would have loved El Hierro.

We boiled coffee, relaxed and eventually the rain stopped.

We had the area to ourselves, I bet that wouldn’t be the case in better weather.
I took the opportunity to try out the fishing kit off the rocks, the first couple of casts and the spool was all tangled again, this time instead of spending ages trying to sort it out I cut it off and pocketed the mess, after this, it was much better.

It was not the best spot to fish, although I was up on the rocks the waters below were only full when the waves smashed in, then I was left with shallow rocky bits.
I really enjoyed this session, I didn’t catch anything but my casting came on and the sea crashing right near me was a good adrenaline rush.
I stopped after a few hours after the spool bird nested again as I had wound it the wrong way.

Ginette had spent the afternoon watching the waves and reading we had only intended to stay an hour but we had managed to miss both our buses back, whoops.

We didn’t care we decided to cook dinner down by the sea, a rice tuna and vegetable dish, what a great place to relax in.

Just as we were leaving two busloads of kids and teachers turned up with provisions for dinner so we had picked the right time to leave.

Just along the way was another small cove Charco Los Sargos, this was another swimming spot but with no shelters. There were wood floor sunbathing platforms and two stairways leading into the sea. No chance of trying these out in the rain.

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3rd – 5th April

We have relocated to an area called Restinga, the accommodation is much better. However we did have a bit of a hiccup when we arrived, we couldn’t contact the host and could not gain access to the apartment. Eventually, she arrived, very embarrassed and flustered, she claimed she had not received the booking. She quickly tidied the property and left apologising profusely.

I got up when I woke at 6.30, it was still dark. I put the fishing rod together and rigged up the tackle then spent the dawn fishing off the harbour wall.

I could see the splashes where the large fish were jumping, but this was on the opposite side of the harbour. The water was really clear so after an hour when the sun was up I watched as a pretty nice size fish swam to my line, swam down to the bait, looked at it then looked up at me with its middle fin up and swam off.

I returned to the apartment empty handed and made us breakfast of poached eggs.

We walked over to a sheltered swimming area approx 5 k around the coast called Cala de Tacaron. This was down a steep cliff face, it had a similar feel to the previous swimming spots with wooden bathing platforms and several ladders into the sea.

On route to this area, we strayed off the set path as it was not clearly marked. We ended up having to walk across a volcanic lava field for about an hour. This was hard going with undulating and uneven jagged rocks to navigate. Ginette slipped and was scratched and bruised, when we did finally reach a track there were signs warning not to go into this protected area, whoops.

We had a meagre packed lunch at the swimming area of dry bread and cheese with onion and warm water, there was a bar/cafe in the area but it was shut.

I had a swim, the sea was still a little excited so I didn’t stray too far from the steps.
It was when I got out I spotted several small purple jellyfish, these had been washed into the swimming area and remained there all afternoon.

Ginette spent the afternoon sunbathing (the sun has finally come out to play). We are both reading the same book on our Kindles, and Ginette being competitive is keen to finish before I do. I spent the time teaching a silver plastic imitation fish how to throw itself into the sea and make its way back to me via a small line, during this time it had to avoid contact with any other real fish. This little artificial fish goes by the name “bait “, well he is a quick learner as he managed to spend the whole session avoiding any real fish.

The walk back was cut short by Ginette’s able left thumb, gaining us a lift back to Restinga by a nice Austrian couple. My earlier attempt at thumbing a lift failed miserably and received a middle finger response.

As we walked back to the apartment, a very suntanned man in his 40’s with dreadlocks down to his waist stopped to talk to us. He was keen to know if we were on the island to sail, we explained we were hiking the Canary Islands. After a while, we ascertained that he was a sculptor and he invited us back to his apartment. We were intrigued but on guard, probably unnecessarily he seemed to take great delight in showing us his work, however, we suspected a sales pitch so made our excuses and went on our merry way. He seemed very genuine and this may have been a lost opportunity to know a little more about the island. Everyone seems to be genuinely welcoming and really laid back.

We spent the evening exploring where to go next, the weather for La Palma and Tenerife North is still threatening more rain whereas La Gomera and Tenerife South look sunny. However, the latter is more expensive. We shouldn’t complain but it is amazing how much of our time we can spend trying to get the best deals and travel as inexpensively as we can. Ginette suddenly realised today that our tickets to El Hierro had been purchased as residents rather than non-residents the price difference is staggering. After several hours of playing on the internet, she has managed to secure a deal for La Gomera but it involves travelling via Tenerife North and having an 8-hour stopover. As we have mentioned before we are time rich, money poor and this flight was the most economical one we could find.

Last day in Resinga, Net has a bit of an upset stomach so we stayed local. I tried fishing again and a local kindly informed me I needed to use some crab as bait. We saw him later talking to a man on a fishing boat and he kindly gave me a small crab. I tried this and eventually caught my first fish, a tiddly little one but all the same a fish. I tried to remove the hook without much success and Ginette suggested we use him as bait. I tried this but still didn’t catch anything bigger. I have learnt a lot in the past few days including having a bigger weight is better for casting and it is essential to have the right bait.

The evening was spent chilling, playing the ukelele and writing up the blog.

We have followed doctors orders and had a restful week but we are both keen to pick up the GR131 route in La Gomera and return to wild camping. Our budget is not going to last very long if we keep forking out for apartments.