Our flight to the Canary Islands left from Geneva, Switzerland. It was a beautiful day and the train went so near to Interlaken, that we could hear Lake Brienz calling our names. Spending the afternoon on the Lake seemed so much better than spending the afternoon in Geneva.
Early the next morning we were off to the airport and on the flight to Gran Canary, for a one day visit before continuing to the island of La Gomera. From the plane, La Gomera is a mass of rugged ravines, steep cliffs, and endless carved terraces. While it is a small island, only 15 miles across at the widest point, traveling anywhere on the island entails scenic, cliff side, winding roads and getting to your destination takes more time than would be anticipated. But that was never a problem with so much natural beauty surrounding us.
Most of the beaches are covered in black sand or black rocks. The rock beaches are called "shingle" beaches and when the surf goes out the beach crackles and sounds just like Rice Crispies. It was a new beach aspect that we quite enjoyed.
For us, the highlight of the island was Garajonay
National Park. It´s a cloud forest of ancient Laurel and Heath trees that coveres 10% of the island. Before the last ice age a similar forest covered the Mediterranean areas of Europe. Today, this is one of the few remaining Laurel forests in the world. The constant trade winds, blowing over the high elevations in the park, create clouds of mist which provide enough moisture to support such a green and lush forest. The trees are covered in moss and lichens, while ferns and mosses cover the forest floor. The highest peak in the park is 5649 feet. It was a magical and ancient looking forest with many well marked trails of various lengths and difficulties.
Valle del Gran Rey (Valley of the Great King) was one of the beautiful valleys that laid between 2 steep ravines and stretched down to the beach. This was the main tourist area, but still had the typical terracing along the sides to the ravines. Most of the ravines have extensive terracing to provide areas for farming. In some villages the crops, especially the banana plantations, tumbled down the hillsides and reached all the way to the surf.
We were fortunate to
be in La Gomera on Canaries Day. This was a celebration of their national foods, handicrafts, music, and traditions. The wonderful couple that owned our hotel had Canary Island delicacies and wine for the guests. Many of their friends and family were there and we were entertained with singing and music for 4 hours that afternoon. It was a very special and memorable day of travel.
Nothing on this island was a disappointment!! It is at the top of my list for the best of the Canary Islands.
We have now moved on to Lanzarote and are presently on Fuerteventura (Strong Adventure). This small, undeveloped island has the best Internet service that we have found (including any in Germany). So, the blogs will be coming fast and furious while we are here. I´ll try to get all caught up before we head to Bulgaria on Tue.
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