La Palma – November 11th – 18th
What I will remember most about our holiday to La Palma are the volcanoes: walking through a strange landscape of black boulders, with hardly any vegetation, but an occasional tree contrasting with the stark backdrop. The going underfoot was sometimes hard, walking on small uneven pebbles and boulders, and occasionally fun as we were almost sliding downhill on thick sand. The views from the highest points were amazing. I don’t consider that I have a very good head for heights, but I was pleased to be able to manage all the walks, despite the odd moment of anxiety when the wind picked up as we ascended on a zigzagging path.
My greatest sense of achievement was at the end of our longest walk on the Saturday, as we collapsed into the bar overheated and with very tired legs after 1200m of descent. I was soon revived by an ice lolly and chilled coke and able to enjoy the taxi ride back to the hotel.
On our free day we hired a car and drove up to the observatory, the highest point of the island at nearly 2500m. Although the roads are very good, it was a tiring drive up; zigzagging in second gear for nearly an hour. However, the view from the top made it all worthwhile. There’s a car park right at the top with viewing points down into the Caldera. Plus for us astronomy buffs it was exciting to be able to see the observatory domes at what is considered to be one of the best astronomical sites in the world, if only from the outside.
I also enjoyed our final day, a gentler walk with three possible bar stops, culminating for me in a very welcome swim in the sea as we reached the lighthouse at the end of the island. It was strange to know that the rocks we were walking on were younger than me.