I‘m sitting relaxed on black stones at a natural beach with an impressive cliff behind me and a sleepy small white-washed village not far away. The waves are energetic and noisy. The steep wall behind me reinforces the sound with an echo. But I’m lingering at a safe distance from the waves and am enjoying the pleasant spring sun shining on my face. Here I do something that I never do and which I already had forgotten: nothing.
Recharge your batteries with the power of the ocean
The waters around La Gomera have a tremendous energy. I love to feel the power of the ocean and to watch and to listen to its tumultuous waves. The conditions are not always and everywhere suitable for swimming at the island’s coasts. This did not bother me, since the Atlantic Ocean is too cold for me in winter anyway. But if you want to swim and the waves are too high, you can do that in some places on La Gomera, where there are breakwaters. Even if the island is quite small, there is the right beach for everyone. If you like waves and cold water, but want to be safe, there is a seawater pool available at the beach of Hermigua during summertime. The sea looks especially romantic when the sun sets on the west side of the island. Then “hippies” play their drums at the beach of Valle Gran Rey. It’s a legend which has survived from the 60s. From this time, some escapists have settled on the island and especially in Valle Gran Rey. Today you might meet rather hipsters or bohos than hippies at the beach of Gran Rey. In the last four decades, emigrants often have started running organic fincas or earn money otherwise from tourism, which rather does not fit the general picture of a hippy. In any case, drumming at sunset was a special experience and emphasized the beauty of the landscape.
Turismo Rural as a way to unwind
La Gomera is good for a little break. It offers scenic beauty beyond the noise and the glazing neon lights of the overdeveloped resort towns of the Canary Islands. La Gomera presents itself really idyllic everywhere. Ugly resort towns, industrial zones and the like do not exist on the island. Turismo Rural means to rent a home in the countryside. It’s the Spanish way of agrotourism. In Hermigua we had absolute peace in our mountain cottage. Behind the house citrus fruits were growing. Below us we could see bananas and on the steep slope above us agaves and cactus in abundance. The landscape was also dotted with Canary Date Palms. One morning a kestrel flew by near our house. In these surroundings you can slow down easily. A peaceful environment invites to appreciate the little things such as beautiful plants or the encounter with an animal.
Wide views give new horizons
The terrace in front of our house offered great views of the volcano Teide (3,700 m) on Tenerife. Since we self-catered, we did not have to stick to given breakfast times. So we could often enjoy the sunrise over the valley and even start hiking at this magical time. Also during the day, the views of the Teide and the deep blue ocean were incredibly good. I probably shot this scene with my camera about one hundred times. I was particularly impressed by the sunrise scene along with the lights of the Hermigua Valley. The terrace was also suitable for practicing meditation, Yoga and Qi Gong. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to practize these things more regularly.
When it comes to hiking Turismo Rural is a wonderful way of vacation: Our cottage was right on a very little-walked trail in the mountains, which led up a steep mountain. At first I did not dare to hike the trail, which was marked black in the hiking guide book. But then the experience to start walking from our house at sunrise was appealing enough to make me go. This was maybe the most breathtaking experience during our trip. If you don’t enjoy hiking, don’t be put off! Despite its small size, the island is a great road trip destination. You can drive a surprisingly long time from one village to another, because the island actually consists only of deep gorges and a highland with ancient cloud forest (UNESCO World Heritage). When driving the winding roads of La Gomera, you will for sure come across several lookout points, the so-called Miradores. For the right music for the road trip, you can get some inpspiration here.
Turismo Rural does not have to mean to stay only in the surroundings of the village, where the holiday home is located. Given its small size La Gomera offers a variety of charming villages and towns with unique architecture. In the lush, palm-fringed gorges, you can admire typical historical Canarian long houses. In the coastal towns, however, you will find colorful architecture, picturesque churches and enchanting chapels. The multicolored architecture reminded me of the Caribbean, of Cuba or Mexico, the latter also because of the surroundings, a landscape with cacti and agaves. Caribbean flair can be also felt because of the everywhere-to-be-heard salsa rhythms. In general, the inhabitants of the Canary Islands feel more connected to Latin America than to Spain, perhaps because many people emigrated to these countries.
In San Sebastián, the capital of the island, the architecture of La Gomera can be experienced particularly well. San Sebastián does not feel like a typical capital. The pace of life is slow there. You can admire typical Canarian wooden balconies adorning the houses around the main squares. The plazas are very pleasant, if you sit under the beautiful trees or enjoy your coffee in the sun. Otherwise, the center of Agulo in the north comes with a nice old town atmosphere. But the village of Hermigua, where our holiday cottage was located, also holds many architectural eye-catchers.
From escapism to short timeout
La Gomera is a medium-haul dream destination for us. From mainland Europe it’s relatively easy to get there in comparison to long distance travel. I can understand well why many hippies emigrated to La Gomera in the late 1960s. But even today the attractive possibility of Turismo Rural makes La Gomera a valuable destination for people with a high pace of life. I does not only promise memorable experiences, but also a downshift, even if it’s only in a country house for few days.
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