Well, it was a day of mishaps, but thankfully not catastrophes, me n’ Lizzie arrived at Fuencaliente on the bus from Playa Cancajos and after a quick stop at the bar headed for Volcan San Antonio on the edge of town. Having recently walked the rest of the Ruta de los Volcanes we fancied a day that didn’t involve too much schlogging up hill…
It had a minor eruption in 1677 from two vents, one near the summit and one at the base; causing the death of one shepherd from asphyxiation, the loss of the Fuente Santa (Holy Spring) and the destruction of a few houses. 3 euros entry gets you a look round the small (but good) visitors centre and a walk around the ancient crater rim; it’s quite classic and well preserved.
This was where the first mishap occurred, it was a windy day, and Lizzie’s hat blew off and fell slowly into the crater, way beyond any hope of rescue… Which triggered off the second mishap; an attack of vertigo which meant that Lizzie didn’t get to see the view:
San Antonio was the preferred outlook for observing the 1971 eruption and some of the video was filmed from there. After mentally replaying the video and generally taking it all in, I collected Lizzie from her refuge and we headed on down for a closer look at the second most recent eruption in The Canaries.
This was a nice section of walking: two steep, quick, easy on the knees paths; one a steep switchback, the other a lovely “glissade” straight down. The paths were fine tephra (picon in Spanish) with a stretch of dirt road in between. Half an hours walking with pauses to empty our boots and we were at the base of Teneguia.
Lizzie decided to give it a try despite the earlier attack of vertigo, it’s not a manicured path and two thirds of the way up there’s a scramble with an unprotected, steep drop to the left, Lizzie wisely decided that if even if she made it up she might not make it back down…
This was the third mishap and since I am a Gentleman it was only proper that I escort my sweet love down and to a shady spot.
This is how the locals go down hill:
Having had a good swig of water and some jellybabies for instant energy I headed back up without my rucksack, which was nice because I carry the heavy stuff like 4litres of water etc. when we’re walking… All was fine until I took a nasty stumble (not a tumble or a plunge) and scared the bejesus out of myself; exactly where Lizzie had turned back… the penultimate mishap!
I made it to the top without further ado and got a nice view for my efforts:
So, after some contemplation and gazing I headed back down to my sweet love and we took some time to decide how to get back up. We followed the dirt road back to the schwitchback path, and not fancying the alternative route (longer and via a main road with no pavement) we headed back the way we had come… After much cursing; the path is not only steep, but the picon; which is such a joy to descend, works against you climbing up: I guesstimate half a pace down for each pace up…we made it to the top.
We walked back through the town (still steep but paved) and stopped for a beer at a nice little bar by the bus stop. When I asked for “dos jarras grandes” he showed me two 2 litre glasses, to the great amusement of the locals… Explaining that we were waiting for the bus and had an hour’s journey ahead, I asked if he had something a little smaller!!! (To the great amusement of the locals)
So settling in with our pints of beer we chatted about the day’s adventure (it was months later that I told Lizzie about the penultimate mishap; she also suffers from vertigo by proxy!) and kept one eye on the bus stop, in case he arrived early. Five minutes after we got to the bar, a bus marked Faro (lighthouse) turned up… Hmmmm; which Faro would this be? A lightning deduction later and I began teasing Lizzie (who is in charge of the bus timetables) mercilessly; this bus had come from the lighthouse just down the hill from Teneguia!!! Regular service every day including Sundays… We could have strolled down, chillaxed for a bit and had a hairy but easy ride back to town…. The ultimate mishap!!!
Well; there you have one way to visit Teneguia, other options:
– It is possible to drive to the base of Teneguia, (via Volcan San Antonio) but do go careful with yr hire car.
– I would say best of all is to bus to/ park yr car in Fuencaliente: walk down and bus back up…
-Alternatively (of course) you can bus there and back from Fuencaliente, saving yr knees for the climb to the summit and putting a few more Euros into the island’s bus company; which is a co-operative; established 1952…
Disclaimer: La Palma is a volcano- hikers paradise, but the gradients and vertigiousness are challenging, be realistic about your abilities and do some research before you go, La Palma is the steepest island in the world; depending on how you calculate it, certainly in the top three…The driving is fair to middlin’ hazardous; which is why we let the locals take the strain x
Schteve n’ Lizzie x
Photos, videos and 360 degree view as per the links.
http://transporteslapalma.com/transportes/index.htm is the bus company.
If you want to know whether you suffer from vertigo by proxy check here: