Saturday, April 16, 2016

La Gomera

With the rainy weather outside I cannot help but dream myself back to sunny Teneriffa and La Gomera, sipping a zapparoccho or barraquito, a coffee drink infused with liqueur 43, in the sun...

After the first days in Teneriffa we took the ferry over to the neighboring island of La Gomera where we stayed at a small finca in a remote valley which we found on AirBnB. Our host, Lothar, a German expat renovated the typical Canary-style houses in the fall of 2015 so we were one of the first guests to enjoy a wonderful and calm homestay there. Since it is really secluded, shopping for groceries means a one-hour drive, one can order food at their little task where they prepare typical Spanish cuisine for you in the evening. However, the houses all come with a fully equipped kitchen so one could easily prepare dinner there aswell. A short walk up the cliffs was the Mirador de Abrante, offering a little café with the most scenic views on the sea and the Pico del Teide of Teneriffa in the distance. We really enjoyed our barraquitos there after our daily hikes and watched the clouds mount from the sea.

Upon Lothar's recommendation, we went for two full-day hikes around La Gomera which were both very beautiful. Especially the first one, around Ojila, offered an ever-changing vegetation from cedar forest to exposed rock to cloud forest.

On our way back to Teneriffa we spent a few hours on the beach, dipping our toes in the water and soaking in the sun and the holiday feeling.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sunny Beach and Cloudy Forest: All within a Day

On one of the last days we stayed at an AirBnB directly at the sea with the apartment being built in the rocks, making it a little cave down at the shore. We could hear the waves crashing into the rocks through the night. In the morning, this allowed us to watch the sunrise from the bed and have a dip in the ocean before breakfast on the front porch. At 8 am the sun was already burning down so that we had to apply sunscreen for breakfast.

Fooled by this apparent heat and good weather we made our way to the Anaga mountains in too light clothing and, just the tourists, without any rain jacket (at least in my case).

So, once we left the coast and were making our way up the winding mountain roads the weather turned quickly from blazing sunlight to mist and rain. And a good temperature drop of 10°C.

However, the beautiful cloud forest with droplets of mist and fog caught up in spiderwebs and the occasional ray of sunlight turning the drops into little sparkling crystals between the moss-covered branches made me forget the cold and the rain. 

Although hiking boots would have been a more appropriate choice of footwear we still embarked on a small hiking trail in search of the "Matterhorn" of Teneriffa (which we eventually could spot in the distance). The trail was beautiful nevertheless, leading us through the dense cloud forest.

For lunch, we eventually crossed the mountain range, driving down seemingly endless serpentines to the little village of Benijo with the best fish restaurant at the top of a cliff, El Mirador. The clouds cleared up the closer we got to the sea and when we hit the shore, the sun was burning down on us again. After lunch, we took a little walk along the beach, with its rocks and black sand, one of the most beautiful ones of Teneriffa, unspoiled and, since getting down there involves a bit of a climb down a rocky trail, with no typical overweight Los Cristianos tourists insight.

We were really impressed by all the different vegetation and climate zones the island had to offer. Desert in the south, cloud forest in the west, almost tropical with lots of palms and flowers on the northern shore, volcanic in the center and even snow on the El Teide National Park. 
And with all that, it only takes about two hours to circle the island by car. One can change from desert to cloud forest within half an hour. It was simply impressive. 

Photos by me or by Martin.