Packing up all the additional stuff we bought, was Nadines task and she mastered it. After checking out, we had a selfprepared small breakfast at the pier where Atlantic was throwing big breakers against the kaiwall, catapulting its spray five to six meter into the air and way above the wall. The sun was there and the whole scenery looked conciliable and friendly. A beer and an ice later, we went slowly back to our hotel, where we left our luggage. The nice lady at the reception called us a taxi to the airport and off we where. Good bye La Palma and let me say it with Arnies words: We’ll be back. Hasta la vista, baby!.
We climbed aboard our plane at dawn and we had plain view. During the flight we flew over several big cities, including Paris. I had a hard time using my pullover to keep the cabin light away from my lens but the plastic double glassed windows made a good shot impossible.
Hiking boots on – chcek! Map – check! Target locked: Virgen de las Nieves. The ancient church outside, above Santa Cruz is the place to not go on Sundays. Sundays, the palmeros visit their patron, the holy Maria that saved the city during a volcano eruption in an effort of letting it snow. Every five years the Bajada de la Virgen de las Nieves is held, where the statue weighting 2 tons is carried to the city center.
Climbing out the baranco, Santa Cruz is located it, we passed the houses on top and climbed down on the other side again. The whole way there I had the smell of a big steak in my nose. Right beside the curch is one of the better parillas (grill restaurant) known for their good meat.
We had no luck. It looked like the whole city had come up here and was waiting in order to get table inside. As it was a scene from a movie, rain set in. We had no chance but climb down to Santa Cruz again and to be honest: steep cobble stone pavement in rain is not better to walk on than on loose chippings, hence, it took some time. Back in town siesta was in full swing and I was so hungry.
We had some noodles in the hotel… not quite the meal I had on my mind, but hey, you can’t always get what you want, right?
Karin started out to clean up our mess (we payed for it right when we booked) and we went down to Frohmuths Aloe Vera Cafe, had some fresh juice, said good bye to Ricardo and Amelie who where both working there. Than came the big goodbye. Luna was trailing along wherever we went. She seemed to know what was going on. For Nadine and me it was clear by now that this wasn’t the last trip to Karins little garden eden, but the next visitors were about to arrive and we had to return the rented car. In Santa Cruz we would have a room in a little hotel…. that was the deal.
After a small stop in Los Lanos – the secret capital of La Palma – we had to pass the three tunnels to get to the eastern side again. There dark clouds dropped from the mountaintops and we got another full rainbow, as if nature wanted to tell us that we are leaving the nice part of the island….. We arrived at dawn and parked the car. We considered Santa Cruz as a good bridge back to normal life, a quasi exit from the holiday to get accustomed to the city life again and it worked in every aspect.
Our room was smelling after mildew, a problem that all the other inhabitants seem to share. In effect everyone opened their windows, leading all to the same small backyard. In the morning, when the first alarm clock went off, everyone was awake. Welcome back to reality.
That evening we went to the nearby supermacdo and bought something to eat, went back to our fusty room and did not much exploring.
Caldera, here we come. This time we woke up the cocks, as we set our alarm clock really early. Small breakfast, check of equipment and off we drove. When we reached Barranco de las Angustias, where a shuttle taxi was waiting for us. We shared the costs with three other visitors and where off with 10 Euro. One hour later, we reached Mirador de los Brecitos where our journey started. From there on, the way was a constant descend with small upwards passages – take a look.
It is hard to pack all the details into text as there is so much to see. Every turn of the way you see different trees, rocks and formations. It is an absolute must for every visitor of the island and hikers alike. A really spectacular national park, with an constantly changing fauna and flora. Just take a look a the pictures.
The last half of the track we reached the riverbed and followed it with a short detour to the Colores, a colorful waterfall. We made it in 5 and a half hours and we took it slow, made lots of stops, took pictures or ate our boccadillos. It was by far the easiest trip of the holiday – long but really easy to walk and it was absolutely one, if not the most stunning part of the island. I have to say that those few hours where far too less time – we only got a slight impression of the great views and nature around.
That night Karin and Luca came over and we hat a nice dinner together – our goodbye dinner, so to say as the next visitors where about to come next day. We thought it would be a good idea to spend the last 4 days in Santa Cruze to get used to the life back home. Sad…. we would rather have stayed longer.
Ok. Waking up because of the stupid alarm-roosters is not the worst and the sore muscles are normal now. Our confidence went back and so we decided to drive down south to explore the Teneguia and the San Antonio. Teneguia errupted back in 1971 and added some new beaches to the southern shore. Besides that, the whole pines around where burned. This summer big parts of the south stood aflame, but the vegetation is coming back. The canary pine is fireproof. It burns on the outside, and looses all its fir needles, but grows again.
This time we had our hiking boots and went on to explore the San Antonio and what should I say… we had about 1km to walk. Whatever we did in terms of gear and equipment, it seemed always wrong. Not quite, as the Tenequia was a little more challenging. You have a great view from atop the crater and stormy winds that try to blow you away. I really would like to witness an eruption. Back in 1971 Teneguia spit fire and melted rocks for a couple of weeks. After a funny oldschool movie about the volcanos and the island in general, in the nearby tourist center, we drove to Puerto Naos (new beach), the spot with the most beautiful beach on the island. Sure enough, the tourism is big there. Baywatch guys, towels and deck chairs all over the place. We enjoyed it anyway. Thanks to the Gulf stream, the atlantic is even warmer than Karins pool. Great.
Ohhh sore muscles how did we miss you. Awaking with aching legs from the day before we flipped through a wandering guide that we found here. Well, the “nearby” beach was declared to be 5 hour march. Not to play the role of the stupid tourist again, we settled on a “small” three hour trip to a pirate bay, in Tijarafe. Again with flops on an swimming cloth in the backpack, we parked the car in Tijarafe and walked down a steep, winding road. When half way down, we thought about fetching the car and drive down all the way …. but the guide said, it is about one hour down. Ok, we have time, we can walk. In the end we made it down and to be honest. I still can puke when thinking about that way. The bay itself was great. Small flats, build directly into the caves and all that in one big cave. I shot tons of photos, trying to capture that great feeling and that giant cave that reaches up like a cathedral.
Ok, no swim, as the sea was too rough again. Reading in our guide we found out about a faster and “more interesting” way back to Tijarafe. We followed that path and boy, that was one hell trip. Partly climbing up steep path, partly searching the path inside a rock field and all that with the sun shining down on us, nothing eaten but the breakfast yoghurt and our drinking water almost gone after the way down. Nadine almost collapsed and we had to make big stops every couple of meters.
Actually we where about to make the big round through the Cladera Tiburiente that would take a whole day to finish. Our confidence went up into sweat and how can we do the big trip when already the samll trips in our guide seem to almost kill us. How should we complete the a seven hour round?
We stumbled into the next supermercado and I wish I could have captured the expressions on the Palmeros faces, when we entered. Two stupid tourists, cloth soak wet from all the sweat, stinking and almost parched. At least the women at the cash register seem to feel pity for us.
To reward ourself we went to a Bodega on main street and had some really tasty tappas. Buenavista never looked so good as that evening. Took a shower and dropped into bed…. dead once more.
We got up late again, with having not much sleep and decided to start the day slowly. After the daily healthy breakfast we set about to find the “nearby” beach Lomada Grande that we missed out earlier. Packed with flops, towels and bathing cloth on we started our hike. As Ricardo, who we met at the goa party again told us, it was about 45 minutes from the position we met him last time. With nothing else on our schedule we thought it would be a nice, relaxing trip. At last, after about two hours of struggling with our flops on loose chipping, we found it. The bad side: We went all the way down and had to scramble it all up again.
The place was great, although the Atlantic swell was too heavy for a direct swim on the rocky coast. One false move and you would have been crushed against the lava cliff. We settled to use the little natural pool that was formed by the mighty volcano forces. Ok, you couldn’t call it swimming, but it was great anyway. Forgetting to check the time we started a little late and had to find out that climbing up a steep hill, passing five Barancos (valleys) only with flip-flops and sandals on our feet is not as easy as it was all the way down. We returned far after dawn and we where damn lucky that Nadine hat brought a flashlight along. We would have never found the way back. Back home we dropped dead into our bed.