La Gomera – December 2011
Travelling to the island involves a 4-hour flight to Tenerife and then 2 long ferry trips. However, the effort in getting there is well rewarded on arrival. The island has spectacular mountains, valleys, gorges, forests, and coastal cliffs.
Our hotel, The Gran Rey, faced the sea with mountains and gorges at the rear. Having seen the terrain from the ferry, we opted for the easier walks on offer. However, there is very little easy walking in La Gomera. Being volcanic, there is plenty of upping and downing. Some paths can be rough underfoot.
On the first day the ‘lighter’ walkers met our guide Ernst, an Austrian. He proved to be an excellent and patient guide. A typical day would involve breakfast on the hotel terrace facing the sea followed by a coach ride to the starting point. The roads were good and climbed up the valleys and gorges affording superb views. Our drivers were very skilful in negotiating the hairpin bends. We would then walk for about 4 hours with stops for lunch and special interest. On 3 of our walks we visited a bar afterwards.
Overall, in the 4 walks we did around 2,650 metres of descent and 750 metres of ascent. The lengths of the walks were about right for us. On one of the walks we visited the highest point on the island and had good views. Cloud then closed in, creating a halo in the mist. We then visited the rain forest, one of the oldest in the world. The trees capture moisture from the mist in the prevailing trade winds. The moisture trickles to the ground and subsequently forms the basis of the island's drinking water. The rain forest was cool and damp and we saw the only permanent running stream on the island.
On days off, there was plenty to do, including whale watching, a visit to a tropical fruit farm and relaxing in the hotel pool or on the terraces. John kindly led some self-guided walks and Tessa led a small party of us on a superb ridge and coastal walk which was our favourite walk. Thanks Tessa for a day, which will never be forgotten. Thank you, also, Lynda for a marvellous holiday. The company, hotel and walking were excellent. How did you also manage to arrange virtually wall-to-wall warm sunshine for us? Thanks also to John for his behind-the-scenes support to Lynda.
Dennis and Linda Rumble
The ‘heavy’ walkers, led by Sebastian, climbed around 4,000 metres and descended 3,500 metres during 6 walks in wonderful scenery. The walks varied from woodland tracks in the National Park to ridge paths high above the valleys and paths hugging the edge of cliff faces. On our third day, one such walk took us to the summit of Table Mountain. First ascending from the valley floor in Gran Rey to the village of El Cercado and then on to Cipude, one of the highest communities on La Gomera.
After some refreshment we were ready for the final scramble up to the summit plateau (Forteleza) for a lovely panorama of the south and west of the island. The other memorable walk in 10 days packed with great moments, was our final day ascent from Alojera in the north west up to Arure on cliff paths that crossed seemingly inaccessible sheer walls giving wonderful views down to Taguluche and the Atlantic coast. The walk finished at a hilltop restaurant overlooking Valle Gran Rey – a most satisfying end. On the days off, John L led the self-guided walks for some heavy walkers. In the evenings, we all met together in the bar, to watch the sunset over a drink or chat before supper. It was a fantastic 10-night holiday with tremendous variety but best of all was the company.