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Phespirit goes to La Gomera
tour     March 2008

La Gomera is reputedly the least developed of the Canary Islands, but this is hard to credit upon arriving at its capital, San Sebastián, by sea. The port and marina rumble with activity when the big, heavy-duty ferries are loading and unloading at the quayside. Yet San Sebastián itself is small, almost quaint, and the wilderness of La Gomera begins directly where the city ends.

Phespirit visited the island on a one-day pre-booked tour from Tenerife. The sole advantage of this was its sheer idle convenience. The downside, of course, is in having little or no opportunity for independent exploration. It's far from ideal, but a day trip to La Gomera is not about chasing between this and that historic site, or seeking such and such adrenaline rush. It's about appreciating the scenery, and the wonder of travelling through wild, jagged, volcanic landscapes swathed in primeval forest. It would be best done on foot, but Phespirit can suffer sitting back and enjoying it through the window of a coach.

The tour took him from San Sebastián to the centre of the island, passing Roque de Agando on the way to La Laguna Grande in Parque Nacional de Garajonay. This would have been the ideal place to escape the crowds into the forest, but an untimely downpour confined him to a visitor's centre. Nothing to be done. Faced with frustratingly inclement conditions, Phespirit didn't stick around. Happily the rain didn't stick around either - it washed out his foray to the forest but not the whole of his day.

Back on the road, Phespirit was taken north to dine at Las Rosas, and then arced round to the east, the south via Hermigua, and then east again, back to San Sebastián. As Phespirit returned, so did the rain. Not too much, but enough to dampen his efforts to see all the sights upon being given free reign in the city before having to dash on foot to catch the 16:30 Fred Olsen ferry back to Tenerife. It was just as well he made it with a little time to spare since the ferry departed three minutes early. The cost of his timeliness was a failure to find the house with the well from which Christopher Columbus drew water for this voyage to the New World. It's probably San Sebastián's top tourist sight but somehow it evaded this particular tourist.

Phespirit has visited Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife and La Gomera, and has come away impressed that such closely grouped islands should differ so greatly in their appearance. He must now make it his business to visit all the Canary Islands to complete his assessments.

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