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La Palma
29th Nov. - 6th Dec. 2013

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On Friday, 29th November, we left for La Palma, the most western of the Canary Islands. Unfortunately we were very unlucky with the weather during our trip. Normally the Canary Islands are sunny all year round with average temperatures around 23 °C. In winter the western side gets more sun as the wind comes from the north-east. But this time there was a long-lasting low pressure zone coming from the west. It was kept in place by a high pressure zone above the Azores and Spain. So we had mostly grey days and a lot of rain. On the 3rd day we saw the sun for the first time for 5 minutes! At least accompanied by a fantastic rainbow. We did not get to do most of the hikes we had planned but we were still able to get around. On the first day we explored a lava cave. On the second day we went hiking along the rim of the volcanic crater in the rain. On the third day we drove up the west coast. It was mostly dry during the day but on the return trip we had to drive through the rain clouds and visibility was reduced to a few metres.

On day 4 we went to the east coast and visited the pretty capital of the island, Santa Cruz. We had a short but heavy shower but were able to wait it out. Driving back to the west side in the afternoon the sun came out and we drove all the way down to the coast to enjoy the black lava sand beach. We had 1 hour of sunshine that day.

On day 5 the weather seemed to have improved but they said that all hiking trails were officially closed due to risk of falling rocks. It was also dangerous on the roads. The old tunnel to Santa Cruz was closed and the new tunnel was opened in both directions. I so much wanted to go up to Roque de los Muchachos where you can stand on top of the crater rim and look down into the caldera. There are also observatories on top as La Palma is a great place to watch the stars. But when we had driven up the winding road we were in the clouds instead of above. We then drove back to the east coast, went to see one of the pretty villages and did a short hike to a waterfall in a narrow canyon.

The last two days the weather gave us a break. We wanted to hike the volcanic route. It’s an 18-km-long one-way route. But we only did the first part in a round trip. The landscape was fantastic. When we had reached the top of Pico Nambroque at 1900 metres clouds came up so we could not enjoy the 360° view. Later that afternoon the sun came out again and for the first time we were able to view the sunset.

On day 7 we drove to the south end of the island and hiked the volcanic route from the other end. It was a climb of 680 metres to get to the top of volcano Martín at 1550 metres. The sun was shining so the hike was good fun in spite of the effort. When we were on top the clouds were back but still it was a great view. Then we drove to the lighthouses at the most southern tip and were able to sit in the sunshine at a café below the clouds. On this last evening we went to a very good restaurant in our village El Paso. When we stepped back out into the streets afterwards, it was raining again.

At least we had a very nice holiday flat with a private spa on our outside patio (Los Guanches) which was great to relax in even when it was raining.
It got dark pretty early, around 6 p.m. We got back on Friday, 6th December, which was St. Nikolaus Day. There was a heavy storm over northern Germany but luckily this didn’t affect us.



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