GR 130 - Barlovento to Gallegos 2.5 hrs 5.5km
The GR130 route to Gallegos from Barlovento is very well signposted, provided you are on the route to start with. Ah, t'was ever thus. (If you are not already on the route then you need to head upwards, out of town to a crossroads, where you can't help but notice a dizzying collection of signs – seven in total - to such places as Franceses, Gallegos, and the GR130 to Santo Domingo. Only the new GR 130 distance sign for Gallegos is missing, but you will get the idea.)
Taking this direction, we followed the road until a very clear sign (0.75 km to Barlovento) indicates that we should head off down a concrete track. Oh, this is too easy but certainly fits into my criteria of a gentle introduction to a walk. There will be time yet for heroic barranco bashing.
So we follow the little concrete path downhill passing a selection of houses and a pretty little cross named the Cruz de la Catalanes. Within a very short length of time we find ourselves in the mystical land of drago trees around the hamlet of La Tosca.
From here, there is also a fantastic view right across the north coast, although it was a little misty the day we did the walk. After 1.6km of still very easy walking, we come to a laundrette. Well, actually it is a natural spring with a series of stone washing sinks and a bit of a plunge pool. You see these at various points around the island and it is easy to imagine how the women would come here in the old days to do their dirty washing in public. A sign declares that the water is not chlorinated and there is a handy tap for anyone wishing to fill up a water bottle.
After here, we come to a narrower track and the brezo (a hardy bush which grows naturally and is often coppiced and used as goat food) forms a tunnel of dappled sunlight over the old stone path. Nice! And then we burst into the open again with young brezo in verdant green.
Passing a simple wooden cross adorned with flowers we notice a rambling selection of caves over to the right. There is certainly no hint of order and neat rows here and we continue along the path, through a wooden make-shift gate after which we have a chance to admire the fascinating strata of a rock face.
After another cross, this time covered in shocking-pink silk, we head down into a small barranco which brings us back up the other side to a red dust path with a fantastic view over Gallegos and the rest of the north coast. The sign tells us that we are now 4.2km from Barlovento – but so far, it won't reveal the onward distance. It is slightly frustrating not to know, just for information purposes, but also slightly amusing as I have to wonder what befell the distance measurer on this stretch.
Anyway, we now have to traverse the biggest barranco on this walk but it isn't as tough as many. I have noticed that my attitude to barrancos is changing. Sometimes, it is practically a case of - bring it on. Providing of course it isn't at the start of a walk ... or that it isn't too hot ... or at the end of a walk ... or ...
As we reach the bottom of the barranco, I am fascinated by the brightest grey rocks I have ever seen, and a little stone lined path leads us across to the other side of the barranco where we begin our long ascent back up, helped by a sturdy wooden rail at the upper, more slippery part.
But it isn't Gallegos that it brings us to at the top but the little hamlet of La Crucita. Here the route crosses the road and a sign tells us that we have walked 5 km from Barlovento and it is 3.8km to Franceses. It seems a shame to miss the little huddle of houses at the end of the promitory which make up La Crucita but not long now before Gallegos where we can enjoy seeing old houses to our heart's content. But we've got just one more little barranco to traverse first.
Down in this last barranco, we find a wonderful spectacle of yet another cave colony – around thirteen in all and since we pass right by the entrance of the 'ground floor' ones, we take the opportunity to peek inside. Mmm, cosy.
The path leads us up to Gallegos where it arrives, seemingly from nowhere, right opposite what was the old village shop and a notice announcing the phone number for a taxi.
From here the GR130 route heads straight down the hill and past the village shop and bar, but this is where we finish walking for today. It was all pleasure.
Posted by ann at 13:38