2013 has been the most busy year of my life. A new job. Nearly 120 days abroad over the last nine months. I’ve missed the entire Belgian summer because of a solo expedition in Southern Greenland
(ok that was worth the trade-off) and a long survey in Vietnam. And in the meantime I have started and run my own small company, and my training to – hopefully – become an International Mountain Leader in a few years.
I have also had too little time for the people I like.
Time to take a step back and a deep breath. We book tickets for 10 days to the eternal spring of the Canary Islands to escape the dull Belgian winter months and just chill out. A nice walk, a day on the beach, a good paella and a bottle of wine in the evening. Not the type of holidays I’m used to, but it felt like the one which was just right.
We spend 3 days hiking the GR131 trail on the watershed of La Palma, from Roque de los Muchachos to the southern tip of the island. Although the weather is not always perfect, it’s a great walk with incredbile contrasts between the colourful volcanoes – which have last erupted in 1973 – and the green/yellow Canaric pines, with the deep blue Atlantic always as an immense backdrop. The Teide on Tenerife, well over 100km away, proudly guards the horizon.
As many places, La Palma is most beautiful at sunrise and sunset. We should come back to enjoy more of them, especially on the volcanoes on the southern part of the island.
La Palma, the westernmost of the Canaries, is in many places still very authentic with little tourisme. It is kind of a shock when we arrive in Tenerife a few days later, with its crowded coastal villages with thousands of appartments. Busloads of tourists make it up into the spectacular Teide National Park every day, many of them take the ‘funicular’, which drops them a stonethrow below the summit of Spain’s highest mountain (3718m). We forget about our plans to join them and make it up to the summit, but make 2 great hikes far away from the tourists instead, including the ascent of Guajara (2718m), the highest summit on the caldera rim, and including another spectacular sunset!
Great trip, recommended at this time of the year. Batteries recharged. Plans are being made. Big plans, who knows? 2014, bring it on!