Wednesday we thought we'd go for a Big Hike, so we got going marginally earlier than usual. We'd found a bus going to Vilafor, a town with one of the most attractive hikes in the guide book, with only one connection to make with the busses that pass in front of the Marazul residence. We could change at one of two stops in Los Christianos, and decided to try the second one.
Well.... of the two busses going past Marazul, apparently one is the express bus and the other one stops every six or seven meters. But we didn't know which was which, and they both come by just every 40 minutes so you really just get on the first one to show up.
When we finally arrived at the big bus station in Los Christianos, it was nearly 11. After several minutes of running around, we finally figured out that our ongoing bus had just left. And that in fact we had seen it leave a previous stop right as we were pulling in. The really bad thing was, that bus only runs once a day. Once. And we had seen it go.
So, plan B?
So many bus maps, so few real options. They make it look like busses are running all over the island, all day long, taking hardworking Spaniards and curious travellers to interesting destinations in a dynamic churn of people and vehicles. Yeah, some of them run only once a week.
And then I saw a sign with taxi fare estimates to various destinations, including Vilafor. What the heck, we're on vacation.
Half an hour later, here we are in Vilafor. Let's go hiking!
Um, let's go hiking after lunch. There's a nice little café here on the town square, and they seem to cater to locals as well as tourists so it's our best bet yet for real local fare.
mmmm, good idea! The rabbit in garlic sauce is incredible.
Another idea, how do we get back to the residence later? If the bus comes up here once a day, it might go back down just once a day, too. Indeed it does: at 4pm.
That's kind of early if we're going to do this hike.
There are no taxis hanging around the village, but I do spy a hotel. Quite a nice looking place, run by a wonderfully nice and helpful young woman from Sheffield. She rings right away to reserve me a taxi for 6pm. After that it'll be getting dark, and it should be plenty of time for the 4 1/2 hour circuit described in the guide book.
I'm really looking forward to a beautiful hike at a nice pace, some real exercise in this fresh air.
My travelling companion, however, is rather interested in finding viable seeds for the local pines, so she stops every few meters to pick up a pine cone and check for seeds. And it's a steep hill and quite stony and we're slowed down by that too, and her knee is not in good shape.
After a good hour, M decides she'd better turn back. The trail is too difficult to make the whole circuit before sundown, and even at a stroll on these rocks she might do some major damage. She'll wait for me in town.
Checking the map, it seems we've done about 20% of the distance. I naturally set a fast pace when hiking alone, but it might now be a close thing to be back by 6. Depends on how much time I spend photographing the "moon landscape" that's the special feature of this hike.
Ah, but they're tiny. And you can't get close up at all - too many tourists trampling all over would quickly ruin the site.
Lucky I have a good zoom.
I get back to town with time for a nice look around before our taxi comes. Vilaflor is a charming village, and if we ever come back to Tenerife, we'll make sure to stay here as our base for exploring the mountain trails.
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