Sightseeing in Gomera

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Thu 19 Feb 2009 20:05
After a days rest from our sea adventure we hired a car to see Gomera's dramatic scenary. In truth, its not unlike Madeira on a small scale - high mountains, road tunnels, switchbacks and a facinating interior consisting of rainforest with so many walking tracks that you could holiday in Gomera for years and still not cover them all.
Setting out from San Sebastian where we are moored in the marina we headed northwards through beautiful scenary consisting of numerous banana plantations. Passing a wholesale cooperative where huge stalks of green bananas were being loaded into lorries reminded us of the now overipe specimens we had back on board that had been bought in Las Palmas. Quite a difference to the hard green fruit on the tress here. Then followed a 10 minute delay whilst we waited for road builders to shift a few more tons of rock to further improve the roads, which weren't as bad as we had anticipated. They really are making great efforts to widen the old tracks with tunnels now going through mountains rather than a winding single carriageway which probably served the few cars there used to be on the island. Now, tourist coaches visit from Tenerife for the day on the Fred Olsen ferries that dock at San Sebastian.
We passed through Agulo in the north where we had stunning views of Mt Teide on Tenerife and then on to Vallehermoso the largest inland village before dropping down into Valle Gran Rey which the pilot mentions that the harbourmaster wants to attract more visiting yachtsmen. Whilst imposingly dramatic with towering cliffs overhanging the small resort it was chilly and very windy - we were pleased to be in San Sebastian and decided we would give this harbour a miss on the way to El Hierro.
Leaving Valle Gran Rey in search of lunch somewhere in the mountains we stopped at the main national park centre where many of the island walks start from. Not fancying a meal with a full coachload of noisy tourists in the restaurant we set off on what we thought was one of the easy walks only to discover we were on a 90 min hike down very rough wet terrain, so gave up and drove on, finding instead a restaurant with magnificant views over the south coast. Nikki had fish, Phil had goat! (A rare treat). We both had cress soup to start. We were extremely full when we left the restaurant to resume our tour round the island - next stop Playa Santiago on the south coast. This was a small fishing port with a few yachts laid up but not much activity except for some apartments where the hiking community base themselves. We rather liked Playa Santiago but wouldn't take the boat there.
Finally, it was back to San Sebastian, having driven 150 kms around the island in an anticlockwise direction. Yes it was worth the effort to get here and with carnival coming up this weekend we may just stay a while longer or leave for El Hierro. We're not yet sure. Following pics are : 1- Marina San Sebastian - La Gomera (Spot the catamaran!). 2- Nikki tackling the local wildlife in the National Park - La Gomera. 3- Parque Nacional de Garajonay - La Gomera & 4 - View from the breakwater at Playa Santiago - La Gomera.