For the second half of the holiday, we stayed in the town of Agaete located on the north-west side of the island. Our house was part of a large apartment complex, but I thought the street looked quite scenic with the mountains in the distance and it was one of my reasons for liking the area.
After settling in, we went for a local walk around the town and then a walk up into the mountains the day after (in my next post).
The first walk was a local walk around the town and along the coastline. It doesn’t make sense to arrive at a new place and immediately jump in the car to drive somewhere else. We went to Agaete Botanical Garden first, then along the coast and finished at the Lava tomb fields in the valley above the town.
Agaete Botanical Garden
It was very nearly the right time of year to visit the garden, I think another few weeks and most of the blossoms would have been out. Despite this, it was definitely worth the few euros to get in. I found the Silk Floss Tree, an incredible tree that towered up over 30 feet and was covered in hard spikes. The main trunk had huge spikes, right up to the thin branches at the top.
The coastline at Agaete
The next part of the local walk took us along the coastline at Agaete. There was some stone beaches, but also huge concrete cubes around the harbour. The cubes were roughly my height and so pretty big and heavy. I thought it best to embrace the juxtaposition of having harsh concrete against the fading island in the background.
The shoreline where the concrete cubes met the sea was covered with hundreds of shy crabs. I was clambering over the rocks and could hear scuttling, it was only when I walked carefully that I had a chance to see them before they rushed away. Afterwards, we walked on north, past the old salt pools and up the cliff.
About 30 minutes from Agaete I stumbled upon a cave dug into the hillside, facing out to sea. It was roomy inside with large cubby holes along the sides and a larger second room right at the back. The cactuses (cacti is the Latin plural, cactuses the more natural English plural – both are correct) cover most of the island and the fruit is edible – though I didn’t like it much, I suspect mainly because of the sharp spines!
Tombs amongst the Lava Field
The final part of the walk took us past ancient tombs in a lava field. There are roughly 700 tombs in large burial mounds scattered over the volcanic lava flow.
The tombs date back over 1,300 years, and a couple could be seen to contain skeletons. They looked real but I’m not convinced they would leave ancient aboriginal tombs open like that.
The following day we drove up into the mountains and climbed a 1000 metres up to El Hornillo, a lake and small hamlet at the top.