“Since we still have quite a bit in front of us,” says Julien Gsell. The Frenchman shows his wife Claire on the wall map of the remaining part of the present-day day’s March. Actually, there are not many kilometers.
La Gomera is small but deep gorges and valleys. The young couple from the French city of Metz is a tent on the GR 131 on-the-go. Almost every day, up to 1500 meters of altitude, is 43.5 kilometers in length in total. “We are planning at least three days,” said Julien.
Overall, the wall enthusiastic couple is almost two weeks on La Gomera. What routes do you want to go Hiking then? “It’s unbelievable how many trails there are on such a small island,” says Julien. Maybe you take the second long-distance trail, the GR 132. He leads once around the volcanic island.
Claire and Julien put on at the Igualero-view-point their backpacks and move on. From up here you see almost the whole day tour, which is still in front of you.
the intensity of the 1241-Meter-high table mountain La Fortaleza from the landscape stands out. The rock was massive, with its 500-Meter-high steep walls for the native people of a sacred mountain. Argoday, the Mighty.
On his hard-to-reach summit plateau of the Guanches, who conducted sacrificial rituals, there they retreated before the Spaniards in the 15th century. Century conquered the island. Maybe the conquistadors called the mountain “the fortress”.
the menu in The Restaurant has cult status
It goes beyond the high level on the GR 131 further into the Valle Gran Rey, the valley of the great king. Wild herbs, meadows, terraced fields, cacti and agaves line the road. Canyons and valleys.
Before the way in Las Hayas, in the fog of the forest disappears, a Stop at the most famous Restaurant of the island: “La Montaña – Casa Efigenia”. In the case of the lady of the house Efigenia for more than 50 years, a standard menu with cult status.
Appetizer: Almogrote, a with olive oil, peppers, tomatoes and garlic, mixed with goat cheese. Main dish: The traditional Puchero-stew with vegetables from the own garden. To do this, Gofio mash, smoked corn flour.
From the prickly pears, mangoes, apricots, oranges and Papayas in the garden, Efigenia jams, which she sells. You would buy this warm old lady like everything. But the path to the beach in the Valle Gran Rey is still long and exhausting.
Hiking through the humid Laurel forest
Directly behind the small village chapel, you are immersed in the GR 131 in the cloud forest. An evergreen, subtropical wet forest, which is referred to in Spanish as “Laurisilva”, as the Laurel forest. After a few meters, it is shady and cool. Birds chirping everywhere.
Here, between Las Hayas and Las Creces, is located the hiker at the very edge of the Garajonay national Park, which occupies approximately ten percent of the entire island – the largest Laurel forest in Europe, and since 1986, a Unesco world heritage site.
Such Vegetation dominated in front of 30 million, especially in southern Europe, because of climate change they disappeared. “Only here, in the Azores and Madeira, this is due to a prehistoric forest,” says national Park Director Ángel Fernández López.
Almost 150 endemic animal species. Rare Bats, Chaffinches, And Laurel Pigeons. In this primeval setting of the hikers suspected behind every gnarled tree trunk, fairies, elves and goblins. Waist-high Ferns and Heather plants line the paths. Beard lichens and mosses soak up the moisture of the fog, to the North-East Passat discharges here.
Particularly impressive this evergreen jungle in Raso de la Bruma. Fit hikers should be sure to choose the nearly nine-hour loop trail that connects the high points of the national Park. A Must is the climb to the Alto de Garajonay, 1487 meters.
shepherds agreed on La Gomera by whistling language
Further in the direction of Valle Gran Rey, from the GR 131 on Route 5. The forest ends suddenly. As abruptly as the climate changes, also changes the landscape. The path now leads through wildflower meadows, past wine terraces and palm landscapes to Arure. Just beyond the plateau of La Mérica opens, crossed by rocks and full of dragon trees.
Steep, it is over 900 meters of altitude down into the valley of the great king. Lava rocks, erosion, landscapes, and terraced slopes. Path. The serpentine similar Steinweg in the deep gorge in the knee.
But the views into the rugged valley and the Atlantic ocean are worth it. They also make clear why at La Gomera’s unique whistling language (El Silbo) is created, which is one of the intangible cultural heritage of Unesco.
“Still up in the 70s, the shepherds in the mountains of the gorge of have to gorge agreed with the whistling language,” says Estefanía Venus Mendoza Barrera.
As the most pfeiferin she teaches the young of the island; for several years, the whistling language is part of the mandatory teaching, in order to prevent their extinction. “In the past, the language served also attacked as a warning system against pirates. It originates from the native inhabitants, the Guanches.“
for More information about the island on the English Website of the tourist office lagomera.travel/EN/