Exploring the islands

The marina de Santa Cruz is right inside the extensive commercial port area. To get to the town centre we have to make our way out through the ferry terminal. This is a fair walk and, at times, clogged by cruise ship passengers! The city itself is extensive, with unexpected green spaces, run down, semi-derelict areas and some very smart shops. We spent several days finding our way, walking quite a way to find chandleries (closed), El Corte Ingles (think John Lewis with a better food hall than Waitrose) open 0930 - 2130, a different supermarket to compare prices and cycling to the fishing harbour in search of new fishing lures. John also found someone who could weld an extra pair of bars on the arch at guardwire level. The cycle ride was 5 km along the port road which, in places, went through tunnels. The first we encountered was long, dark and had no pavement so we were a hazard to lorries. At least the second one had a footpath which we rode on. We found the second marina in rather dirty surroundings, it didn't look at all attractive. Shopping trip successful, we started our return on the main road but quickly picked up a cycle track for most of the return. Amazingly, we came across a preserved German steam locomotive dating from 1934 and used in the construction of the harbour complex. A bit further on we found a British made steam crane from the 1920s and used to collect cinders from ships in the harbour and also for reloading coal. Interesting artefacts to come across unexpectedly! The final day in Santa Cruz de Tenerife saw us take a tram ride. The tickets are a fixed price €1.35 and the trams run about every 6 minutes from the bus station near the seafront to Trinidad which is the final stop in the next town inland! We also booked a hire car for next week. We left Tenerife on Wednesday morning, motoring all the way to La Gomera. Just when you want the typical north easterlies they disappear! We entered the harbour just after 7.00 p.m. and the mariniero helped us to tie up which was fortuitous. The gate in Starblazer's guardwires is about 8 metres from the bow, I was standing on the fender ladder ready to step onto the finger when the mariniero came and took the lines from me. The finger is also about 8 metres long! Once we had tied up, with the help of the mariniero and a Belgian from the boat opposite, John removed the bowsprit and we carefully moved the boat forward so we can now step onto the pontoon. San Sebastian is the capital and is a lovely little town with a surprising number of little shops dotted around. Yesterday we explored some of the island on a guagua, pronounced wawa which is Spanish or bus. The 'bus' was a large, comfortable coach with aircon. Personally, I think mini-buses would be a better bet on this island. I lost count of the number of hairpin bends before we finally lost sight of San Sebastian. Our first destination was Pajarito, the bus stop just inside Garajonay National Park. John had been recommended a short walk up to the Alto de Garojonay which, at 1,487 metres, is the highest point in island. Three sign boards, less than 100 metres apart, stated the distance was 3.6 km, 2.5 km and 0.9 km! The middle figure was probably the accurate one. The view was stunning, the inside of a cloud! We didn't choose a good day. We returned to the bus stop to catch the next bus (1 1/2 hours later) to continue our trip to Valle Gan Rey. The scenery was spectacular but the trip was a white knuckle ride because the driver was very aggressive. We could almost count the hairs on the head of the back seat passenger in a convertible until our driver did a sudden overtaking move in a place I wouldn't have risked overtaking in a car! We had a quick pizza lunch then caught the next bus back to San Sebastian with, thankfully, a much calmer driver. This time we could appreciate the scenery without expecting imminent doom! The return trip took 1 3/4 hours, not bad for €5 each. The two parts of the outbound journey cost €6 each. This proved cheaper than hiring a car and, probably, less nerve wracking. To round off the day we had dinner at Le Charcon, a fish restaurant overlooking the bay just around a corner from the marina , not the sort of place you discover by accident. The food was very good, the service excellent and the price quite reasonable. Tell anyone you know who might visit La Gomera to try it. Today has largely been a boat job day, we leave as soon as the office opens tomorrow to return to Tenerife.

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