La Gomera Day 1
San Sebastián – El Cabrito
Hiking 7.6 km Ascent: 349 m Descent: 334 m Max Elevation: 155 m
We arrived at the Tenerife North Airport, from there we took the bus to Los Cristianos, where our ferry departed to La Gomera. The bus ride took about 1:40 hours along the beautiful coast of Tenerife. The island has so many different landscapes, there are beautiful palm trees and plants in the cities, whereas the rural area has unvegetated and barren landscape, which is nevertheless fascinating.
We arrived at our Hotel Suites at the Beverly Hills in Los Cristianos later that evening. It was nothing special but worth the money. The climate in the evening was really nice, it wasn’t too hot and people where sitting outside their hotel rooms and drinking loads of alcohol.
The next day we woke up early to make our last purchases before we started walking. Since it is forbidden to carry gas tanks on aircrafts, we bought some camping gas for our Primus camping cooker at the Ferretería Caride Hardware shop in Avenida Amsterdam. If you need some other gear this might be the right place to do some last camping shopping.
We bought a small Digital Camera at an electronics store on the main shopping street. The whole town is dominated by Russian and English tourists, so if you are up for an English breakfast you will find one on every corner.
Ferry to La Gomera
There are two different ferries to La Gomera. The Fred Olsen Express, which is a Catamaran, will take you there in 40 min – we decided to take this one on our way to La Gomera, which we regret, since the jet engine of the catamaran is destroying a lot of sea life. The second ferry is the Naviera Armas Ferry which we took on our way back (it’s also a bit cheaper).
A few dolphins followed us during our catamaran trip and we could get an amazing view of the Mount Teide with its 3.718 m (12,198 ft) summit, the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. A breathtaking view.
After 30 minutes we could see La Gomera and the adventure laying in front of us. Woo-hoo. The island is very mountainous, steeply sloping and rises to 1.487 meters (4,879 ft) at the island’s highest peak: Alto de Garajonay. The shape of La Gomera is rather like an orange that has been cut in half and then split into segments, which has left deep ravines or barrancos between them.
After the ship has landed we walked to the first gas station and bought a hiking map of La Gomera. Now it was time for the fun part, buying food and supplies for the next few days. Woo-hoo again. The Tu Trébol La Gomera close to the bus station is a huge shop where you can buy everything you need for little money.
We bought our first La Gomera avocado, it was amazing and the taste followed us for the next few hours. A can opener for the Ravioli we bought was also on our shopping list and of course a lot of instant soups, noodles and cereal bars for the hourly breaks. The difference in altitude on La Gomera shortened our walking time to 50 min and extended the break time to 10 min as we progressed walking on the island.
The first day of the La Gomera Adventure took us from San Sebastián to El Cabrito. We started in San Sebastián which was founded by the Guanches, the native people of Gomera before the arrival of the Spanish. Hernán Peraza arrived in 1440. Christopher Columbus stopped at the harbour on the 6th of September 1492 before heading to India but arrived in America instead.
The remanings of the war between the Guanches and Spanish Conquistadors are still visible in the middle of San Sebastian at the Torre del Conde, where one of the final battles between the native and Spanish took place.
We followed the beach promenade until the crossroads (Calle Dise), the road shortly ended and became a gravel path. Quickly we were 130 m above sea level. The red of the vulcanic rock, the sparse green vegetation and the blue of the Atlantic ocean created a wonderful scenary.
Now it was time to follow the GR132 (marked with red and white stripes).
We could feel the pressure of our backpacks on our shoulders, maybe we packed them slightly wrong.
A equal weight distribution between the two of us wasn’t feeling right. Maybe it would be better if I carry some of the heavier parts of the equipment. But for the first day we left it like we started.
Monumento al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
After 20 minutes we reached a small crucifix from where we had a wonderful view above the harbor and San Sebastián. Above us the Monumento al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, an 18 meter sculpture blessing the bay of San Sebastián – it is also called the Christ of San Sebastián.
The next two kilometers passed by quickly. But the sun was brutal, no shadow at all and the shoulder straps rubbed the sunscreen from our shoulders. During every break we reapplied sun screen, our moms would have been proud!
We crossed the Barranco del Revolcader which during summer time was a dry riverbed and started the climb towards the El Veredak plateau (150 m). Now we realized our trip will be a constant up and down.
That is why the Guanchen invented El Silbo or »Gomeran whistle« a whistle sound which helped the Guanchen to communicate across the deep ravines and narrow valleys that radiate through the island. It enables messages to be exchanged over a distance of up to 5 kilometres. You can still hear the whistle sounds in some parts of San Sebastian where it is teached to the younger generation.
Playa de la Guancha
From El Veredak we got a glimpse of Playa de la Guancha, a beautiful beach between El Cabrito and San Sebastián, it looked like a wonderful black sand beach from up there. But as soon as we started climbing down we realized that the sand wasn’t sand but instead huge black stones. Anyway a place worth resting for a couple of minutes.
We walked on a small sand path, next to us where some abandoned reed houses and caves (ah the caves) towards a lonely small white house. Close to the shore we found a nice place to rest, it wasn’t that comfortable but ok, until a hippie started to mark his territory by stretching his penis towards us and walking up and down.
That wasn’t our spot any more, time to leave.
A short walk inland we reached the next and final climb for the day.
It was a steep climb, 150 meters in elevation. We realized we might have taken a wrong turn. Our hiking guide offers three different levels of difficulty, the blue (easy) the red (intermediate) and the black treks (hard).
This was a hard trek and our 15kg backpacks did the rest. We both were feeling dizzy. After 20 minutes of climbing up, we reached the top of the Barranco. “Can we really cross the whole island without any help?“ was going through our minds. But with just the descent in front of us we had to push forward.
Ironically a young runner was passing us at high speed during our way down. I was jealous. In the Barranco we didn’t follow the GR 132 sign and headed inland to search a camping spot. Close to a wild donkey we found the perfect spot for the night.
Hidden behind a Canary Island dragon tree and out of sight of the Hotel Finca El Cabrito, our tent blended in perfectly. We were quite happy that we didn’t buy the orange tent.
After dropping the backpacks and pitching the tent it was time for dinner and a coffee. Ravioli à la casa or shall I call it Ravioli à la tent, anyway it was amazing (and 800 grams less for the next day). Bella was wearing her pink running socks in her flip flops – my fashion queen.
It was 8 pm and a long exhausting day turned to an end. After a few hours we heard loud screams from outside the tent. Some animals were screaming “nein, nein, nein” german birds??? It took us a few more days to find out what was making this noise. – More on this later…
I just remembered that there isn’t any dangerous wildlife on La Gomera, so we both tried to catch some sleep.