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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

20 January 2017

The owl of Chipude

11 January 2017

Chipude and the Fortaleza

Chipude and the Fortaleza


Yesterday I really buggered up my knee on the downhill slog, so the plan today was to explore by car and maybe find a short and easy walk along the way to keep us exercised. Hmm… four hours is I suppose not very short, but since it only climbed 450m it certainly falls into the category of easy. Okay, maybe that’s only in
The Erque gorge

The Erque gorge

comparison to the other hikes on La Gomera. Our driving tour to Valle Gran Rey via Vallehermoso through the morning was amiable enough but we hadn’t really found anything along the way to keep us interested; it really does seem like the only thing to do on La Gomera is hike. Hey, fine by me.

So we walked from Chipude to Igualero and then back via Garajonay again, from where the views were even better today. La Gomera simply has a disgraceful number of awesome views given the size of the island. This was my favourite hike so far, in a tough field. But I was completely awed by the views of the sheer gorge of Erque

Clouds above and below

Clouds above and below

with tiny field terraces far below, and above it all the sedate mass of the Fortaleza – a flat-topped edifice of rock that looks much like a medieval fortress. And then the views from Garajonay. And then the charming agricultural valley above the village of Chipude at the end.

We also saw an owl, hunting in the fields behind the cafe in Chipude where we had stopped for a well earned post-hike cafe cortado. It was a short-eared owl which is a species we’ve never seen before. We only have a photo because Maureen has her new compact camera on this holiday and it has a 30x optical zoom, so even if it isn’t quite a DSLR it can still capture some amazing close-ups. So that made for a magical end to our favourite hike.

Short-eared owl

Short-eared owl

Very good day, even though we were supposed to take it easy. Still, the knee ended the day feeling better than it started. We ended up back at our original restaurant for dinner, though the veggie paella wasn’t quite so good this time. It’s also a bit on the chilly side, to be fair; the roof has no insulation and the door to the terrace is left as open as the door to the street. As usual with all hot climates I’ve ever been to, they just don’t bother spending any money on making buildings more comfortable for the 2 or 3 months of the year when it’s actually cold at night!
The Fortaleza

The Fortaleza


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