Things happen for a reason.
At the end of a long and challenging walk we like to knock back a long, cool beer – it’s a reward system, the icy amber liquid tasting all the better because we’ve earned it.
After climbing out of El Golfo to seek out a fairy tale forest of Sabine trees; traversing a landscape that mutated from sub-tropical and ancient into the wilds of Britain where the weather and our friend Jo competed to see who could change the most and the fastest; and a steep descent back into Sabinosa, we figured we’d earned a beer and then some.
Sabinosa was snoring happily when we returned, so we hatched a plan. We’d head to the coastal road that dissected the lower part of El Golfo and basically drive to the first bar we encountered along the route. It’s a coastal road – there are always bars.
This was El Hierro… there weren’t any.
As we ate up the miles it became clear that our mission wasn’t going to be as easy as we thought. We’d crossed the valley before we encountered a straw covered, ramshackle affair populated by plantation workers. It was an interesting option. But by that time we were close to La Maceta rock pools where our notes told us there was a bar. Where we’d left the western end of the valley in shade, its eastern end, where La Maceta was located, still basked in sunshine. La Maceta held more allure than the plantation workers’ shack.
It would have been a slap-ourselves-on-the-back decision, apart from one thing. La Maceta was a dream, the colours of the rock pools intensified by the low sun. A few people were enjoying their lure, gliding across the silky water on a warm February evening. Did you note that? Evening. February. Warm. Swimming.
I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve heard El Hierro and cool in the same sentence. A misguided view… like so many perceptions people have about the Canary Islands.
Tragically there wasn’t actually a bar at La Maceta.
Our fruitless quest continued until we ran out of options at the jetty where the World’s former smallest hotel is located. There wasn’t much sign of life but, as it was last gasp saloon before we gave up and turned and headed back to La Frontera, I wandered out to the small building filling the stone pier.
The tiny hotel has a bit of a Tardis thing going on and the narrow jetty morphed into quite a decent sized terrace that had been totally hidden from our position on terra firma. Though the hotel is record-breaking small, it is apparently big enough to have a bar… which had conveniently just opened. Ree-sult.
A chunky bench matched by an equally chunky table faced straight down the setting sun’s throat, offering misty views right along the coast and of much of the imposing El Golfo Valley as well.
The sun’s rays lit up the sparkling beer and lavished our faces with its warm kisses as we finally stretched our legs and sighed with unconcealed self satisfaction.
A perfect end to a perfect day’s hiking.
Had El Golfo’s coastal road been blessed with bars we wouldn’t have found such an extra special spot to sink a post-walk cerveza. Things happen for a reason.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+