26/04/2012

WALKING & WRITING


WALKING
Ten years ago I set off from the top of Adeje town, with my daughter, son-in-law, a friend and a dog, to WALK the Barranco del Infierno = “Hell’s Ravine”. There was a track of sorts, rarely level and very narrow, and there weren’t many places at which we felt safe meeting other WALKERS. Some of the steeper stretches had knee-high steps rough-hewn out of the rock – in other places we were scrambling on hands a knees. Each time we rounded a bulge in the mountainside we could see the track WINDING ahead endlessly, and the sea behind us vanished. Despite the other people on the track, we felt like genuine explorers. There was no shelter from the fierce sun, but WE WERE WEARING hats and sensible shoes and carried WATER. We saw many painfully-pink tourists in flip-flops who hadn’t been that sensible.
Gradually, as we climbed higher and further inland, the reason we had come on this comparatively arduous trek became apparent. A stream trickled over rocks by our feet, ferns and shrubs grew beside the cacti, and trees reminiscent of those in an English WOODLAND shaded us. WITH renewed energy we walked through this WONDERLAND to reach our destination – a small clearing at the foot of a vertical cliff down which a WATERFALL fell into a black pool. This waterfall only flows when there is snow-melt or rain-water from the Adeje mountains, but on an island with no natural springs it was a treat just to sit on the small beach and listen to the splash.
We paddled, of course, and dipped our hands and faces in the icy pool, and then started back. The 90 minute return journey took us from cool woodland to baked goat-track again, and by the time we reached the car I was knackered, but it had been WORTH it.
Six months later I had a hip replacement, and I haven’t done anything like that since, but there are many lovely walks to be had on Tenerife. If you’re fit and WANT to tackle any of them as a change from the beach, look on the relevant WEBSITES -  Try  http://walkingtenerife.blogspot.com.es
The free paper Island Connections reported this week that nine Cabildos (Councils) in the south of Tenerife are planning to open a website in the next few months featuring walks, among other rural tourism options. You will be able to download GPS co-ordinates too – technology goes trecking!

The following advice comes from Maurice, an online Tenerife friend who is miles fitter than I am!
 I suppose you could say, "walks are what you do daily but serious walks are actually Treks.” 
If you look at 
www.webtenerife.co.uk/activities/amongst-nature/footpaths/ you will find a list of good treks & descriptions etc.
Not too many people know that the Teide National Parks Authority do 'guided' walks - mostly in Spanish - and they also have easy walking maps (graded walks) for the National Park. They are written in Spanish, German & English and are available from The Park information centres at El Portillo, the Parador & Boca de Tauce.
 There are quite a few walking groups based in Puerto de la Cruz, Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos, Teno & Anaga. Some are 'private' and some are small businesses (usually self employed guides). Various nationalities are involved but German, Spanish & English prevail.

WATER . Regular followers of my blog will have noticed how often I mention water – or rather, the lack of it. We manage remarkably well for an island with no rivers, and this is due mainly to geology but also to hard work. Rainwater and snow-melt from the mountain filter down through the permeable volcanic rock to 1000 underground galleries and 500 WELLS. The pine trees in the forest contribute by condensing moisture from the clouds – the needles on Canarian pines point the ‘WRONG WAY’ to ensure the water doesn’t evaporate. 50% of the water collected goes on agriculture and the rest must supply the needs of 2 million residents and 10 million annual visitors. So please don’t WASTE IT! (The photo below is one of the water galleries, which can be full of toxic gas, so don't walk into any!)

WRITING It wasn’t until I had lived here for a few years that I considered writing a novel. I have always loved WORDS, so perhaps it was bound to happen sooner or later, and retirement gave me the leisure to try. Also when I told my younger son I was bored, he told me to write a book!
I find Spanish cafeterias strangely restful places to write, because although I can speak Spanish it isn’t my native tongue, and it’s easy to filter out the background noise. When I am finally published I shall have to get my book translated into Spanish for the cafeteria owners who bring me coffee and turn the light on so that I can write.
I belong to a tiny writers’ circle here, but I am too far away to attend many writing events in the UK. I took out a subscription to the Writing Magazine last year, and its online forum Talkback helps to lift the feeling of isolation from the English literary WORLD – I WISH I had started reading it years ago!

7 comments:

  1. Those treks sound really great. And I'm a teeny bit jealous of you being able to write in cafes in the sun! That must really help your creativity :-)

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  2. Hi Liz!

    A great walking blog plus the other anecdotes about water etc. Very much enjoyed today' read. The Barranco del Infierno was the very fist 'serious' trek that Chris & I did on our own. Your recall is graphic & accurate. Thanks for the mention.

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  3. I love the sound of writing in that cafe.

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  4. I love the sound of writing in that cafe.

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  5. Blogging must help with the need to connect to other writers. I love the contacts I've made online.

    As for treks, my husband and I hiked between two of the villages of the Cinque Terre in Italy once. It was wonderful, but I was so sore I could hardly move the next day.

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  6. Pain in your hip can be debilitating, making it difficult for you to walk, climb stairs, or even pick up an object from the floor. It can limit your freedom of movement and ability to function independently. Experiencing joint pain day after day without relief can lead to "staying off" the joint - which often weakens the muscles around it so it becomes even more difficult to move. Visit: child heart surgery India
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  7. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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