Day 2. Friday, 5th February, 2016. Hermigua

This was a day off with no scheduled walk. Breakfast was in in the hotel’s homely restaurant. The bread and coffee were undistinguished, although the jam and marmalade were home made.

Looking back at the previous day's descent
Looking back at the previous day’s descent

We walked down the valley. Hermigua seems to be a conglomeration of small rural hamlets which hug the sides of the valley. But it does have a mini town centre, with an imposing modern church, Nuestra Señora de la Encarnacion.

Continuing  down to the beach, we were somewhat disappointed – the bottom of the valley did indeed appear to be its anus. The beach itself was composed of boulders and volcanic debris.

The sea was rough, and there was a tattered red flag, which looked as if it had been at full mast since the 19th century. There was a notice posted on the flag pole dated October 2015 issued from the Ayuntamiento of Hermigua. My Spanish is limited to say the least, but it seemed to state that for reasons of public safety, bathing was not allowed. Notwithstanding such authority, a tall asthenic lad with flowing blond hair with a surf board inside his beaten up car, was studiously watching the waves curl and break. I didn’t see him go in. Honest! 

Playa de Santa Catalina, Hermigua
Playa de Santa Catalina, Hermigua

We walked about a kilometre up the coastal path, heading north-west to Lepe, a group of houses, perched on cliffs above the sea, with a pretty but minuscule village square.We planned to walk on to the village of Agulo, but we could see that the path was climbing steeply away from Lepe. We reminded ourselves that this was our rest day, and so we meandered back down to Playa de Hermigua.

Which brings me back to what has become a minor obsession. Playa de Hermigua is never going to feature in anybody’s 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. But the human hand seems to have desecrated the place. The promenade is a dusty track leading to some form of industrial wasteland at the south-east end of the bay, and there are the remnants of several seaside properties that have become derelict. In the foreground, as we descended from Lepe, we noticed a bold, rectangular building with much wood-cladding and picture windows facing the sea. We pressed our noses up against the dirty glass, and lo and behold, inside was a pristine swimming pool! It seemed to be complete, but showed no signs of being open.

We lunched at the establishment closest to the beach, El Piloto. We sat on the roof terrasse and shivered, although the food was good. We asked the proprietor when the swimming pool was going to open. His disdainful look said it all. But he added that he had been told that it might open in July. In his opinion, it was a caca de vaca. I think that this translates as something like “white elephant”?? We talked to another gentleman who had more English – he told us that no one locally knew how it had been funded; there had certainly been little or no local consultation; he was doubtful as to whether it would ever open. Mmn… does sound like a bit of a cow pat., 

After another fractious siesta (I’ll have to practice more), we visited a local aloe vera plantation. This was a new venture in Valle de Hermigua. Apparently, because of the volcanic soil, the absence of frost, and the proximity to the sea, Canarian aloe vera is the most sought after. It regenerates and promotes health. I bought a gel to make me look younger; Julia bought an embrocation to ease joint pain. The drinkable AV was just too disgusting. Julia and I agreed that we would just have to take our chances with liver disease and dementia.

After a day dedicated to rest, we continued in the same vain by slipping downstairs to the hotel restaurant for our evening meal. We were taken aback to find that the place was buzzing. We both enjoyed pizzas, and we had another bottle of Rincon de Liria. 

View from the village square, Lepe
View from the village square, Lepe

Walking La Gomera

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