A great day to be on the GR130 in Franceses

Today was a red letter day for us and one we have been looking forward to for some months.  You see, the GR130 has been moved.  And not just moved but moved to come right along the path just below our finca in Franceses.  Yey!!
GR130 signpost 50 m from us
In September last year, I posted 'An Old Path in Franceses gets a New Look' but little did we know that this path was to become part of the GR130.  Then, just before Christmas, lo and behold the white over red blazes appeared, painted on rocks and all became clear - the GR130 was being re-routed right by us with the result that a 1km walk along the road to La Fajana is now no longer part of the route.  That really is an improvement!  And of course, for us it is perfect as walkers only need to leave the GR130 at this point where the above photo was taken and head up the 9.1 in the direction of Roque Faro for 50 metres, and they arrive at our doorstep.  Thank you Cabildo for our Christmas present!
But the intrigue didn't end there.  In our super-sleuth mode, we noticed that holes had been dug at junctions in the path.  Ah, posts then ...
I decided that I wouldn't put this in the blog until the posts were put in and I could put some photos with it.  Of course this did cause me to wonder what I would do if putting the posts in became delayed, or never happened.  But this week - they went in.  Even the path leading up to our finca was not forgotten and now we have the lot - the original lovely old wooden sign that says 'Las Tierras,' the white over red blaze (just visible in the photo) and a GR130 walking sign.
Pointing the way along the new route
And the spring flowers were out too.  Colour me happy!


GR130 Las Tricias to Santo Domingo - 11.3km 3.5hrs

Timeline - Tuesday, 28th December, 2010.
Yup, back on the trail again.  Not that we haven't got anything else to do except walk and then write about it.  We have!  But we wanted to make sure that we had walked every section of the GR130 this year and after this walk, we will have - and some sections in both directions.
At first we planned to walk from Puntagorda and, having left the car in Santo Domingo and now sitting on the bus heading in that direction, we suddenly decided that we would get off earlier at Las Tricias and walk from there.  Reason?  It was so darned hot!!  Yes, one of those crazy weather days added to the fact that we were having a really late start due to other commitments.  See - I told you we did other things!
It was 13.30 by the time we were getting off the bus but as it was where the trail meets the road, we were walking straight away.  Almost immediately, it feels like we are deep in the countryside, miles from a main road and we are treated to some fabulous views - can this really be the Canaries?
But there are a few walkers about and as we pass close to an 'era' - a stone threshing circle - we see it is being used by a family as a handy picnic spot.  And why not!  The children are keen to head off and explore though and they won't be disappointed when they come across this spectacular dragon tree, hundreds of years old.
So far the walking has been pretty easy - a few lose stones and downhill tracks but nothing even remotely challenging - just wall to wall beautiful scenery and visual treats.
We are beginning to wish we had walked from Puntagorda now as the temperature seems to have moderated to 'warm' and is very pleasant, especially without the tough ravines to conquer.  But no walk on La Palma would be complete without some fairly serious down and up bits and after a few more kilometres, we are not disappointed.  It looks SO far to get down to the bottom but we know that the winding path will get us there, step by step.
We've walked 3.6km and a signpost tells us that there is a diversion to the Buracas caves, but we don't take it this time.   A little later a 'few' signs tell us that we can get a drink or ice-cream at a house nearby but we are keen to crack on.  I remember last time we passed here, somebody Did want an ice-cream and I had no money, mm that doesn't make you popular.  Now I always carry money, not for an ice-cream necessarily but you never know!  A little later the GR130 runs along the road for 0.9km - not the most exciting part of the walk but at least we can walk quickly and it is especially nice when we get back on a path again.

Oh, oh, another barranco.  This time the path looks a little uncertain - as in, 'is this it?' and 'is it safe?'  Nothing to do but go for it and see what happens. Of course, it is absolutely fine and as we get to the bottom and start the ascent up the other side, we see that the Cabildo have been busy clearing the path for us.
A third barranco welcomes us to the top with a simple but nonetheless dramatic wooden cross.
Now it is a completely easy-peasy path - lush green and a delight. A few special sights along the way such as a shrine with Mary Magdalene and several other figures including a man in a white coat and trilby hat. Uh?
Now we join the little road to Cueva de Agua where there is obviously some sensitive issue going on about who has a right to use the road.  We can only assume that those on foot are exempt from any restrictions.  Quite quickly this minor road joins the main road and I'm afraid it's road walking all the way to Santo Domingo - 2.9km.  Well, it's a chance to stride out and we quickly come into town. I have to say what a curious place Santo Domingo is, it can often resemble a film lot where everybody  has just left the scene for the day. As we walked through everything was closed, even its four bars.  But there are some very interesting side roads for those that want to explore the old part.
Well, that's it for 2010.  It has been a great year for walking on La Palma and we feel truly lucky to have been able to do it.   I hope many people will also be able to enjoy it in 2011.