La Gomera Day 2
El Cabrito – Playa de Santiago
Hiking: 10.9km Ascent: 659 m Descent: 636 m Max Elevation: 520 m
We woke up at 7:30 am in the morning, with a beautiful sunrise, the sky was dotted with little pink clouds, which quickly disappeared and turned into a fresh summer morning. It was time for a chicken noodle soup, a coffee and a outdoor bathroom run.
During these trips you really become a child again and learn to appreciate what you have, I never had such a tasteful instant soup. After the tent was taken down and everything was packed in our backpacks it was time to start hiking again.
We found a direct path to Hotel Finca El Cabrito, a small barn, with pigs, ducks and horses at the entrance. Unfortunately we were not allowed to enter the property. We had to find a new way around the area.
A minefield of loose and unstable rocks was waiting for us. After a few minutes we passed this obstacle and reached the beach of El Cabrito, like the Playa de la Gunacha it was a stone beach. While Bella was refilling our camel bak and water bottles at the reception, I was going for a refreshing morning swim. But the water was way too cold and I quickly decided against it.
The Finca looked really nice. The whole complex was a former tomato and banana plantation developed at the turn of the 20th century. It was completely renovated in 1987, and is open for lodging guests since 1991. The special attraction of this bay: it has no access by road. El Cabrito is situated directly by the sea and can only be reached by boat.
The guest and staff of the Hotel Finca El Cabrito were looking at us suspiciously, while listening to their daily group meeting. Maybe because they had no clue what we were doing or where we came from.
The GR 132 led us on the next steep ridge, on which we had to stop every 5 minutes to catch a breath. But the view was worth the effort. The path was lined with cactuses and some of them had small red fruits in their leaves. Called prickly pears, these neon fruits provide delicious juice that tastes like a cross between all-natural bubble gum and watermelon.
You can make a small detour to the edge of the ridge. A nice place to make a cereal bar break while enjoying the breathtaking panorama of Tenerife and the cloud covered Teide. The deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean will extend the break even more and if you are lucky it will be possible to see some Bryde’s whales from up there.
Continuing on the GR 132 we were heading towards Morales. One of our highlights of the day were the abandoned buildings of Morales and Contreras. The real reason why the people left their villages is unknown. Some sources say the cultivation of lice and the expensive extraction process of the dye wasn’t profitable anymore, others say the wheat farming wasn’t lucrative.
Nevertheless the deteriorating historical building were the right place for our lunch break accompanied by a quick nap in the sun. The shadow provided by the buildings was a welcome change.
Casa de Contreras
30 minutes later we reached Casa de Contreras, a two story high building, or rather its ruins from the 18th century. Cows and goats were following us while we reached the scenery. Today, the Casa de Contreras is a silent witness to past times of cereal prosperity.
From here we walked downhill for 1,5 kilometres until we reached a deep valley which we had to pass. – The Barranco de Chinguarime.
We were rewarded with a great view of the valley while we descented. There is a big banana plantation in the valley with tasteful small bananas. Introduced from Asia, the Canary Island Banana became acclimated to the islands in this archipelago during the 15th and 16th centuries. Today the plátano de canarias is part of many traditional dishes on La Gomera.
After passing El Joradillo located on the next mountain ridge we reached the “outskirts” of Playa de Santiago. In the early twentieth century, La Gomera was known in other islands by their fishing wealth and good economic prospects… so when on November 18th, 1909 saw the eruption of Chinyero volcano in Tenerife municipality of Santiago del Teide, their residents migrated to other parts of the island and south of La Gomera, where they decided to settle establishing the embryo of the small fishing village of Playa de Santiago.
Playa de Santiago
The first impression of Playa de Santiago was a bit misleading due to the fact that we had to pass the area of the Tecina Golf Club. After the barren scenery of the last two days this seemed to be an oasis in the desert. The actual town of Playa de Santiago was completely different. A nice old fishing town with old people sitting on the streets while playing domino.
Wide stairs led us to the old city on the way, we stopped at playground right in front of Barranco de Santiago to refill our water bottles and clean ourselves a bit before searching for a restaurant.
A rustic looking restaurant close to the city square with a wonderful view over the Atlantic ocean was the perfect spot to eat a hamburger with potatas. There was a TV running in every restaurant in town, motorbike racing is the sport to watch.
Unfortunately it was already getting dark and we had to move on. The plan was to sleep on the mountain north of the town, but we couldn’t find the correct way and the light of our head lamps where not providing enough light to find a good camping spot.
We decided to turn around, that meant we had to cross the whole town and the golf club until we reached Playa de Tapahuga again. I was completely wasted and the constant up and down wasn’t making it any better.
Shortly after the golf club we finally saw who was keeping us awake yesterday night the Scopoli’s shearwater. The birds were attracted by headlamps and screaming while flying in the light cones.
After one hour of wandering around, we found a hidden camping spot and went to bed without dinner. We were simply too exhausted – but still very happy. The “german birds” send us to sleep – nein… nein …….nein ……..nein ….