Our Beautiful World

.Valle Gran Rey

Valle Gran Rey, not one of the largest touristcentres, but just right for us. The valley,
from up where it begins, and all the way down to the sea, where it is
widening out, has a population of about 5.000, and is Nr. 2 on the list on La Gomera.

On the above picture, you can see - from left to right:
(map - to compare - click here!)

La Playa. Looks all new to us, with restaurants, tourist-office and new hotels,
some still under construction. Outside the picture, to the far left, is the beach
"Playa del Ingles", and our own small 'lonely beach'.

Right down the dark ridge on Mount Merica (850 m asl), and a little bit to the right,,
is the Hotel Valle Gran Rey, one of the few places on La Gomera with its own
homepage on the net. One of the norwegian tour-operators has this hotel
as their main attraction to La Gomera. There are 50 rooms on the seaside, with
a beautiful view at sunset, (and a lot of noise from the ever breaking waves), and
on the other side, another 50 rooms, with sun in the morning, and a fine view
of the valley.

In the centre of the picture, in the background, is the part called La Calera, which is, together
with the harbour - the oldest part of the town. Many small idyllic houses, narrow passages, and
only one street in the lower part. So to get to the many houses, you have to climb the stairs,
but don't be afraid. They are there, for sure. A Norwegian teacher, living here every winter,
told us that she only had 110 stairs to climb up and rush down to her apartment.
(map - to compare - click here!)

Still on the picture, this time in foreground, in the centre, is another big hotel: hotel:
Charco del Conde. And that's it. No more big hotels. But of course, a few smaller
ones all over the town. So, to the right, we get closer to the two parts Borbalan in the
back, and La Puntilla with the harbour just outside the picture..

The mainstreet, if you can call it so (at least it is the one going from one end
to the other), is pictured above. It is taken from where La Puntilla ends, and
where you enter Borbalan, which is the part you see. In the background,
Mountain of Merica is taking most of the space, with its 850 m asl.

Notice on the picture above, the tall tree just right of the street-light in centre.
That is where we stayed in our apartment.

(map - to compare - click here!)

Here, in this part of the town, you will find the 'farmacia', or drugstore, a german bakery,
a friendly 'supermarcado' and a nice china-rastaurant. More about the latter elsewhere.

Here again is the two part Bopalan (left) and La Puntilla - from the hotel Charco del Conde out
on the left side, and to the harbour (Vuelta) out at right. The mountain in the back is only a little
more than 500 m asl, but still impressive when you stand right below and look up....

(map - to compare - click here!)

The Gran Rey valley itself, is an adventure on its own. If you
come to the point where you have no intention of climbing up
and down everywhere, or to jump into the ocean, that is the
day for a quiet relaxing walk up the valley.

There are several alternative ways. You will start in the bottom
of the valley, in La Calera, where they are constructing a new
bus-terminal. There you can follow a gravelled road, following
the dry river. Quite a few start their wanderings here.

If you want to skip the lower part of the river-bed, which is
more or less crowded by industry and a lot of dust, then you
can just follow the footway along the mainroad.

Just after the bank, on the left side of the main-road, a sideroad goes to the left - and if you follow that one, you will soon be
in the old part of La Calera. An enjoying and interesting road,
till you reach the other end by another Farmacia and 'Hospital'
in the upper part, where you soon will be down on the
main-road again. From here on there is no longer any footway ,
you will have to go down into the river-bed and follow
the path there.

If you did walk the footway along the main-road, you also
have to leave the main-road here, and go down to the river-bed. Just about where you come down, there goes a small path
up on the right side. You have to play that you are a goat,
following that path along the valley further up a bit,
but that's a free adventure...

However, if you do climb up on the hillside, it is just
20-30 m higher up from the river-bed - and whether
you are doing that, or following the path along the
river-bed, it is a nice walk up the valley, anyway.

Just before you come to Casa de la Seda
(se kart her), you may climb up a stair to a small church,
up on the right side.

The small path on the hillside upwards, comes also
in here, and from here you can now walk a wider
path further on.

According to some maps, a path goes from the church
up to the top of the mountains, but that is not correct.
First you have to pass a narrow curve, where two huge
trees grow. Some hundred metres ahead, there you
will find a path taking off to the right, and upwards.

We, and many others, have tried that path upward,
and soon you have a beautiful view of the valley below.
But sooner or later, even the goats give up climbing,
and from there only the most enthusiastic mountain-
climbers (those that won't get such a strange feeling in
their stomachs when they try to look down the hillside...). Some of them often succeed in reaching the top.


Further up the valley, you soon arrive at the new (and some older) communities, of Vizcaina
and El Hornillo. The path now changes to an asphalt-road, with houses more or less on both
sides, bringing you into the enormous terrace-field in the upper part of Valle Gran Rey.
Here are small cosy, romantic new villas, some really expensive larger villas, all in between
old farms where goats and hens are walking around. All over you can see fruittrees in blossom,
or with fruits, especially the nisperas, and vegetables and the famous small tasty canary-potatoes.

A bit further on, by a telephone-box on the right side of the road, you see another path going
up into the mountains. The first few hundred metres you walk on an endless staircase,
before changing to the usual climb-upward-path. On the way up, we passed two big orange-trees filling the air all the way with the smell of a heavy perfume from their flowers. The interesting
part with those orange-trees was that besides the big beautiful white flowers, you could see
big green unriped oranges, and in between even large very ripe orange oranges.
All at the same time. Here it is not easy to tell whether it is Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter...

It was up here, in the new villa-area that we were reminded of the entry of the civilization.
For years the people here put up their garages and sheds using bamboo, and let
flowering plants cover it all. Now we saw an example of modern technique:
Six aluminium posts and tinned iron plates on the roof. Period.

In the uppermost part of the valley, we tried to follow the river in Barranco del Agua, because
the river here was actively running down the valley. But no, after the first two hundred metres
through the bamboo-wood, we just have to give it all up. Too compact and wet. And the canyon
too narrow and hillsides too steep. Later on, we learned that up through this canyon there was
no path at all, and it was also impossible to climb. So, rather than again trying to do the
impossible, we decided to have our lunch on one of the many green terraces, enjoying
a beautiful view of the valley. On the picture above you can see the road to Arure climbing
up the hillside, before disappearing in a tunnel a bit further up.

View of the beautiful green Valle Gran Rey -

- and the mountaintops around.

Valle Gran Rey

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