Another insipid breakfast. All the vivacity of the previous evening had ebbed away from the tiny restaurant. Our taxi was early, and we headed off to Agulo. We were dropped off above the village, at the foot of what looked like a sheer wall of rock!
We spent some moments at the outlook post on the other side of the road, looking down on colourful Agulo just as the sun was about to find it. Eventually, we took the bit between our teeth, and started climbing. It was steep, but it was dry with no wind. The path had been cut quite cleanly into steps. Once again, our poles were a great boon. After just over half-an-hour of climbing, we reached the top, el mirador de Agulo, and spent a minute or two squinting at the Lego model of what we had been admiring just 35 minutes before.
The path turned away from the sea at this point, running south-west along the north-westerly shore of La Palmita reservoir. Indeed we saw the reservoir from consecutively higher viewpoints as the track hair-pinned twice. So we were still travelling south-west with the reservoir receding behind us. We were looking for, according to our notes, “a track to the right, with a metal post and chain on the corner, and a vehicle no entry sign”. We could not find this obvious feature. We carried on the Tarmac road skirting to the south and then west of a hill, upon which stood a radio mast (this is mentioned in the notes as a landmark on the invisible/missed track). We discussed getting out our GPS, or knocking on at the next house. As it happened, the next house was El Centro del Visitantes del Parque Nacional del Garajonay, a significant landmark on our day’s walk. I don’t think that we lost much time, but we slogged along a lot of Tarmac. We arrived at the visitor centre at the same time as hoards piling off coaches, and so we just had a cursory look at the botanical gardens.
From here our progress was less fraught: we had fallen into line with one of the major paths on the island – GR132. This was well way-marked (in what is becoming a Europe wide logo – a horizontal white line above a red line) and it took us to our day’s end in Vallehermoso. The GR132 is the nearest that La Gomera can get to a coastal path. The fact that it often cuts in a good couple of kilometres from the coast is purely due to the uncompromising terrain. We left the visitor centre and Tarmac behind, dropping and then climbing onto a ridge which ran north-west towards the village of Las Rosas. On this ridge, we met a couple from the UK walking the opposite route to ourselves for the day. I expressed my personal worries about descending from La Palmita reservoir down to Agulo, but they seemed confident that there was another, less precipitous way down.
We clambered down to the north-east corner of the reservoir above Las Rosas, and found ourselves very close to a potential lunch! Although it was quite early by Spanish standards (just after 12.30pm) Restaurante el Campasino was open for business! The lady of the house strongly recommended the day’s special – carne de cabra. In fact this was a stew with garlic, wine, olive oil, lemon and oregano. I’ve never had goat before, but it was delicious; the meat, on the bone, was fatty but tender. It went well with my old friend, cerveza Dorada!
Hey! The stew had its influence! After lunch we gambolled across the reservoir’s dam, before bouncing down the path running south along its western shore. Towards the southern tip of the reservoir, we took a right heading up onto another ridge. This last few kilometres of the day were quite spectacular with good views over the rugged terrain, and the coast. The landmark which dominated our views was Roque Cano, a priapic column of rock sitting above the village of Vallehemoso. The path along the ridge took us onto a narrow saddle, and on to Roque Cano itself. Thankfully we were not expected to scale it; we sidled around it, before the steep descent into Vallehermoso itself.
On the way down, we were overtaken by Anne. As we pulled in to let her pass, she explained that she had to wait for her husband who was lagging behind. Julia sympathised with her. When Nick arrived, we continued to Vallehermoso, tous les quatre ensemble. Vallehermoso, looked like a more compact settlement than Hermigua, and indeed it had a little village square with its bar. Anne and Nick kindly introduced us to the village with a couple of beers. They were retirees like ourselves, but they were truly cosmopolitan; they were from London, Suffolk, San Remo, and Vanuatu! In addition, they were wintering in El Hierro and La Gomera!
We were staying at the north end of the village, at Hotel Tamahuche. This was very comfortable; we had a large room overlooking an all-weather football pitch, and the local youngsters were kindly putting on a show of their skills and competitiveness! Again, the run off for hot water was enormous, but when it came in, the shower was very effective. There was a tiny bath which I didn’t dare attempt to sit in for fear of getting stuck, but Julia managed OK.
With the floodlights on, and their game running into its third hour (at least), we trundled past the football pitch, past the main church and several eateries. The Bodegón Restaurante Agana looked welcoming; we made a good choice. Good service, despite the fact that the place was heaving, and good food – Spanish omelet and cherne ( it translates as wreckfish – an inhabitant of the deeper Atlantic). And we had a bottle of Vallehermoso wine – Garajonay! This was a young and light red, lifting the spirits of these two old, fullofacold tourists.