Day 6. Tuesday, 9th February 2016. Imada to Playa Santiago

We awoke to the novelty of preparing our own breakfast! We were also aware that today was effectively the end of our Canarian break; the morrow would be wall to wall travelling. We had decided to return to Imada and walk down the Barranco de Guarimar. This meant foregoing the trek from Pastrana to La Laja. But all told, we hadn’t done too badly; our colds had stifled our usual high octane hiking style!

We met up with John  just after 9 o’clock; he was going up to Chipude to pick up luggage; he would drop us on the way, where the narrow road to Imada left his relatively main road. This was yesterday afternoon’s ‘bus ride in reverse at a much more sedate pace. After leaving John and his car, we started down the steep road to Imada; however, we discovered an even more precipitous track which cut out the hairpins! It was a beautiful morning, and, having reached the village, we promised ourselves a coffee with almond biscuit at Arcilia’s.

Cafeteria Arcilia
Cafeteria Arcilia

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Taking the path into the barranco, the almond blossom was in bloom, the goat bells serenaded us, and the views were truly breathtaking. We followed the western side of the barranco travelling south. At one point, the rock face was shear, and we progressed along a narrow ledge with a rope on our left which was threaded through wooden posts. We were overtaken by an elderly, wiry local descending at pace without the aid of stick or poles, carrying a hessian sac over his shoulder. 

The terrain, and the necessity for stopping to admire the view, made progress slow. It took us nearly two hours to reach the farmstead at the north end of the hamlet of Guarimiar – only about three kilometres from Imada. We continued along the right hand side, but now we could see a road and habitation on the other side of the valley, and the descent was more sedate. After a further two kilometres or so, our track ended in the hamlet of El Rumbazo, and from here there was no alternative to the road.

The first half of our journey back to Playa Santiago, in terms of distance, had taken us about three hours. The second half, down from El Rumbazo, was covered in an hour. Straightforward, but much less dramatic; and Tarmac is uninteresting and uncomfortable for the feet. Having returned to  Apartamentos Bellavista, John kindly ferried us to San Sebastián, back to the Hotel Torre del Conde. Somehow, it seemed a great deal more than six days since our last night in San Sebastián.

We had a room without a view; rather dark and cramped. But the hot water worked extremely well! Having scrubbed up, we meandered around the town. There was a laid back, Sunday afternoon feeling to the place. Of course, this was Shrove Tuesday, a day for rest and fiesta! We returned to Restaurante Breñusca for coffee and cake (apple on this occasion). 

Finding somewhere to eat in the evening was difficult as many places were shut. Even the hotel restaurant turned us away, saying that they could only cope with those that were on half or full board. Having traipsed around the town, we were eventually found a table at the restaurant directly opposite the Hotel Torre del Conde. It didn’t look promising – El Pajar is a single-storey shack. Inside it seemed bright and cheerful, unlike the waitress who directed us to our table with a well-aimed scowl. She obviously didn’t want to work fiesta. In addition, a giant table, to sit 22-23, was being prepared, and that probably didn’t help her mood. El Pajar was indeed a shack with an unadorned corrugated iron roof held up by wooden pillars. Thankfully, there was a very obliging waiter, dashing around trying to compensate for the fact that his colleague had a cob on her. We ordered before the large group arrived. My sea bass was undercooked, but the attentive male waiter noted my vain attempts to dissect out the fishy skeleton and whisked it away. In its fully cooked state, it was delicious. The large group all seemed to be from the Emerald Isle; they all seemed to talk at the same time; one big happy noise. Our hour or so at El Pajar had not been auspicious, but we had been decently fed and watered. At least it was but a brief slink to bed.

Walking La Gomera

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