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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.