La Gomera; an Untouched Island.
I fell in love with La Gomera, which is the 2nd smallest island in the Canaries.
We spent a day there when I was on a Thompsons Cruise, and I decided that I’d love to go back there for a week.
But the trouble is, there’s no airport. You have to catch a ferry from Tenerife, which only goes once or twice a day, often with a wait of several hours.
But this is why the island is unspoilt!
Christopher Columbus made La Gomera his last port of call before crossing the Atlantic in 1492 with his three ships. He stopped here to replenish his crew’s food and water supplies, intending to stay only four days. Beatriz de Bobadilla y Ossorio, the Countess of La Gomera and widow of Hernán Peraza the Younger, offered him vital support in preparations of the fleet, and he ended up staying one month. When he finally set sail on September 6, 1492, she gave him cuttings of sugarcane, which became the first to reach the New World. After his first voyage of Discovery, Columbus again provisioned his ships at the port of San Sebastián de La Gomera in 1493 on his second voyage to the New World, commanding a fleet of 17 vessels. He visited La Gomera for the last time in 1498 on his third voyage to the Americas. The house in San Sebastián in which he is reputed to have stayed is now a tourist attraction.
Coaches wait to greet the cruise ships and to take them on a tour, but we hired a taxi as I wanted to explore and ask questions without waiting for tourists.
Prices are fixed. I paid Gil the taxi driver 60 euros. He didn’t speak English, but luckily I speak Spanish.
Several of the other drivers spoke other languages, including English.
The guide who greeted the passengers ashore, an English lady who has lived there for years, was surprised that an English person could speak Spanish. Shameful really, isn’t it?
There are around 19,000 natives who live on the island. But sadly the younger generation doesn’t want to work on the land and they’re leaving the island.
All over the island there are abandoned terraces up the sides of the mountains which were originally built to grow maize.
A lot of hard work went into the construction of their dry-stone walls and it’s sad to see the efforts of past generations left to fall to bits.
Aloe vera grows wild everywhere. There could be some effortless businesses from it, I thought.
A lot of rain falls in certain months, which is why the island is so green.
We drove up the winding road, climbing higher and higher. And the views are spectacular!
Most ot La Gomera is a National Park, and protected by UNESCO.
La Gomera has an ancient language called Silbo Gomero. It’s a unique language, because it’s whistled!
It can be heard two miles away, across the mountains. It nearly died off, but the forward-thinking La Gomera Government rescued it by making it obligatory in all the schools.
What fun to be able to contact your friends and hold a conversation just by whistling! I wish we could have done it when I was a child!
It must be confusing if someone buts in though. And so must the echoes!
We drove through the tunnel, which was dug out by hand over 100 years ago. It goes through a mountain and knocked a lot of time off the route along the perilous road.
We could see the hospital down below.
There are medical centres in each town, and for emergencies a helicopter flies to La Gomera from Tenerife.
Plenty of wine is produced on the island, red, white and rose. But it’s not exported. It’s only sold on La Gomera.
Goat meat is popular, and also goat’s cheese.
Gil the driver gave me a popular recipe for Almorote. This is grated hard goat’s cheese mixed with some finely chopped chilli and olive oil, served on toasted bread.
Here’s another local recipe.
Pulp pf a mango, blitzed.
Mix with sweet cream, vanilla ice-cream, some fresh milk and a dash of sugar.
Apart from that, the menus are mainly typical Canary Island food, like Mojo Rojo, salsas and papas arugadas.
Rabbit is a popular meat. But they also cater for all tastes, with the normal steaks, salads, burgers and chips and similar things.
Back on the seafront in the capital, Saint Sebastian, we strolled around the calm streets.
Up one street is the house where Columbus stayed, and also the church where he prayed before setting off on his voyage to America.
People are very friendly, and the prices are low.
In one shop, the lady asked me where we were from. When I said I was on a cruise, she asked what time we were leaving. I told her and she said, Good, I’ll close the shop then for lunch!
We had a beer, sitting on the seafront and watching the world slowly pass by. Then reluctantly, it was time to return to the ship.
I really want to go back to La Gomera, but getting there isn’t going to be easy!