Day 10 (February 11, 2011)
Itinerary: check out of hotel, pickup rental car, visit visitor’s center for park info, drive to Los Llanos and check into apartment
This morning started off really cold as both Mark and I realized there were not enough covers on our bed overnight at the Rocamar Apartments in Santa Cruz, La Palma. We got in late last night. The ferry trip ended up taking about an hour longer than we had originally thought because it stopped at La Gomera island. Also, we found out that Mark does and can get seasick. I was very happy my Dramamine worked. We didn’t get to our room at the Rocamar until after 10pm where we found the Reception closed. Boo. we had just booked the room that morning, but low and behold, there was a note and keys to our room sitting on a table. Awesome. Points for Rocamar.
It is too bad we are only staying one night as we are passing through Santa Cruz. The apartment room we had was lovely with a balcony opening up to the ocean just down below. There was a kitchen/sitting area separate from the bedroom as well. The breakfast here was rather lacking in variety, but I was surprised there was any breakfast at all since this is an apartment rental building.
We warmed up with the rising sun over the ocean into our room and used the free wifi to book tonight’s stay at some apartments in Los Llanos. We only spent a few minutes researching this location, but it seemed decent enough. We will stay here for 6 nights while we visit La Palma, the beautiful island.
The rental car we had booked yesterday showed up at our hotel just as we asked them to online. This trip is really working out! They were downstairs waiting for us with our automatic transmission car. I had booked a very small car, but apparently they were all out because a big SUV sat parked downstairs. Oof. This was all they had and there was no extra fee of course. But, boy does this make me feel like an American now!
The plan was to drive across the island to the west side where Los Llanos sits just on the west side of the park that covers the center of the island. We drove straight up the mountain and through various tunnels before we reached the Parque Nacional de la Caldera de Taburiente in the center of the island. The island was of course formed by volcanoes, and there are several volcanic craters on this island. This is the biggest and has many hiking trails through it.
The visitor’s center was full of information about the park and the island. We were impressed with the amount of displays and the sculpted relief drawing of the whole island. We picked up maps in English and had a picnic lunch here as well.
We figured that after lunch our goal should be to find our apartment for the next several days and then head down to the western coast and check out Puerto Naos. That was the plan, anyway. First we got lost. We got very lost. Our google maps printout did not help at all, and I had to back up our boat of a car and make multi-point turn-arounds down many tiny and steep streets. Eek indeed! Finally, we stopped at the information center in Los Llanos to get a map and better directions. well, we got a small map and the gist of where we were going, but our apartment was off the map, so good luck to us.
Amazingly we found the street where our apartment was supposed to be. It was of course a steep street and we drove up and down, up and down, up and down slowly looking for it. there were several tiny, narrow streets off to the side and we finally just parked our boat and took off on foot looking for this place. We found lots of barking dogs, several places that might have been holiday rental places, but nothing with the sign for our apartment.
Very discouraged, we finally gave up and headed back to the small town to find an internet cafe to book a different place. By now we’d been searching for this place for nearly 3 hours. I checked my email and sure enough, there was an email from the apartment people telling us to meet them at a store in town and they would drive us up to the apartments. Awesome. So, no need to book a new place. We shall persist!
Oh….but the store was closed because it’s the afternoon and time for the Spanish siesta. Well, that was fun. But at least inside the store, we did see a sign that advertised our apartments so we knew we were in the right place. An hour on a shady bench later, we entered the little shop and they took our info for the apartment. A lady came down and has us follow her car up the same street we had driven up and down. Well, if we had hoofed it just a couple more tiny streets up, we would have found it. Oh well. Here we are now and the apartments look amazing. We are on the side of a mountain with unobstructed views all the way down to the sea down below. To our left we can see the rim of the caldera of the park and in front of us the sun will set over the ocean. The apartment, Casitas Rosheli, has a pool, free wifi, a kitchen, laundry facilities, and pretty much everything we will want in a place to stay for 6 days. We are glad we didn’t give up. This looks like a perfect place.
Finally, we can relax and unwind. The balcony area has the best wifi access and several chairs so we can watch the sun set while we do some travel research for the rest of our vacation. It was so wonderful to sit and watch the clouds roll over the mountain and then turn pinks and purples as the sun dipped close to the horizon. The weather got chilly once the sun went down and it was time for dinner.
Our only plan for today at this point is dinner and groceries. Luckily we accomplished both this evening down in the town of Los Llanos. Most of the tourists that come here are German, and I’m sure that the restaurant we found was mostly German. They had a selection of corn pancakes or sweet corn crep. We weren’t sure what we’d get so we ordered one of each with some fries. The corn pancakes were like a hamburger with the filling of your choice, but the bun part was a corn based pancake. The sweet corn crep was much larger and can only be described as a burrito of the filling of your choice. The tortilla part was a flat corn cake. Everything was yummy, though different.
And now it’s time for bed. Tomorrow is a new adventure. We’ll be at the Casitas Rosheli until we leave La Palma on the 17th.