Steel “fence nets” give us protection from falling boulders and broken branches as we drive the twisted road across the lush northern tip of La Palma Island. Ominous clouds, patches of fog, rain and gusty winds keep us trapped in the car. Thus, hiking to see the dragon trees and vistas near the town of Santo Domingo is out, scratched off Marilynn’s list.
Our time in the cliff house ends and we move to a room on the hill. Nice views and balcony, but it is back to living in one tiny room. You can sleep, shower, and cook without taking more than ten steps. The only place to walk outside is along a windy road with no shoulder. No thank you.
No matter, a clear sunny day greets us the next morning as the list demands a drive to the highest point of La Palma Island at 2426m (8000ft).
We are off to observe the observatory, “Observatoro Roque de las Muchachos,” which straddles the tip of Caldera de Taburiente,” and provides a home to the largest single aperture optical telescope on earth.
We cut our hike a bit short due to bone chilling winds.
We landed on a different planet up here, where ice crystals protrude among an array of astronomical telescopes that stretch along an unforgiving landscape.
Only one more thing left on Marilynn’s dreaded list – a hike through the pines and along the cliffs that encircle the caldera in the southern section of this National Park. I will do anything to complete the list at this point.
The Pico Bejenado trail shoots straight up, as most trails do around here, and provides a heart pumping cleansing sweat despite cool temperatures. Fresh air and incomprehensible massive views reward the fruits of our labor.
Of course, we add to the splendor and get lost on a lower trail, in part due to me being metrically challenged. I thought that I knew how to measure meters.
This list be complete! I celebrate by cooking my angel a plate of mixed vegetables and lobster tail meat to serve with wine on our balcony for a romantic evening.
Ironic – happening in a way contrary to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this…
We extend our stay, despite completing the list, in order to participate in a unique festival. “Dia de los Indianos” which is La Palma’s version of carnival. Everyone dresses in white, libations flow along with dancing and parading through the streets. They throw talcum powder all over each other all night long. This tradition derived from islanders making fun of early explorers who returned from Central America wearing white hats and suits. Sounds fun, but they canceled the party due to Covid.
Our flight does not leave for three days. Here we sit. In the tiny room. Cannot even sit on the balcony due to frigid wind and rain. We stare at each other. Out of conversation. Books finished. No TV. Can only drink so much beer in this closet of a room. Feeling island fever. I wish we a had list.
Thank you, Abundant Universe!