Botched dive, fiesta gate-crash and last hike
Trip Start Dec 22, 2006
4Trip End Dec 28, 2006
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
So, unfortunately, we never went down. Ten minutes into the ride on Fisch & Co.'s open boat, the Divemaster decided that the swell was simply too big... there were a few green faces around he boat already. We turned back, unloaded all our kit and had a coffee at the harbourside. After an hour, it seemed that conditions would not improve, so the day's diving was called off.
Together with Sonja and Jello, a German pair we met on the dive boat, we decided to do a final walk instead
Five minutes later, the four of us were slurping on chickpea and ham stew and helping ourselves to soft drinks and wines, egged on by the locals around us. As we looked around the plaza, it seemed we were the only tourists (and very conspicuous ones too, clad in shorts, hiking boots, sun hats) but we were made to feel very welcome, thanks in part, I'm sure, to the fact that Jello and I struck up little conversations in Spanish with those around us.
It took quite a few enquiries to work out what, exactly, this fiesta was in aid of, but the broad explanation that emerged was that the municipality was hosting this party to celebrate the fact that the village had won an island-wide competition for best EU-funded development. Tables creaked under endless platters of paella, grilled tuna and gofio, and bottles of wine. We tucked in, chatted and enjoyed a performance by local musicians in traditional black costume, before setting off for our hike an hour or so later. Rich was all too pleased when we finally decided to leave - even though we'd been made to feel very welcome, he remained reluctant to gate-crash the locals' party
Our walk that afternoon was probably the most dramatic of all. From the beach just beyond Vueltas, we headed up the narrow Barranco de Argaga, passing abandoned terraces before tackling a relentlessly steep scramble up the valley wall. Once on the ridge, we walked through Gerian, a quaint hamlet of white-washed and rough stone cottages, and continued up to Chipude, where we had enough time for a bicicleta (as the Spanish call a shandy) before catching the bus back down to Valle Gran Rey just after 7pm. Jello and Sonja caused a stir in the bar with their heartfelt rendition of the German Christmas classic O Tannenbaum beside an elaborately decorated tree.
At 8am on Thursday morning, we boarded the bus to San Sebastian, and from there the Fred Olsen ferry back to Tenerife. We took a last look back at the rugged shape of La Gomera, filled with a deep sense of satisfaction and wonder at what jewels may be found a stone's throw away from the crowded resorts of package holidays. We hope to return again soon to explore other lesser-known corners of the Canaries.