Tenerife Scene of the Week, the Verdant Orotava Valley

Saturday wasn’t the best day for taking photos in the La Orotava Valley, so in best Blue Peter fashion, here’s one I made earlier.

Actually had I been up with the lark (I suppose that should be with the Canary here) I would have been able to get this sort of shot as the day started out in glorious sunshine with that sharp air quality you often get in September.

However, by the time we set off from La Caldera at around 11am, the cloud had rolled in concealing the mountain from our gaze. Unfortunately the cloud was exactly at the level we were walking, so views were non-existent. Our route took us through the forest, descending to the leafy back lanes of Aguamansa where old men stacked the backs of their Toyota pick-ups with bedding for animals, whilst younger men trained hunting dogs and raced along the narrow roads on horseback (Aguamansa’s version of boy racers).

It’s not a particularly long walk, but when the sky is clear, or the clouds at a lower level as in the photo, you do get some of the most WOW inducing views of Mount Teide on Tenerife. The sweeping green pine carpet contrasts sharply with the ruddy arid slopes of the volcano, making the whole scene that little bit more dramatic. Added to this, the route includes a view of life in the hills – an experience sure to make anyone who thinks Tenerife is little more than a tourist pleasure dome think again.

Near the end of the walk we visited the trout farm where, apart from the trout (which feature on the menus of nearby restaurants) there is a small bird sanctuary with a talking raven whose range of vocabulary stretches only as far as shouting ‘guapo’ (roughly translated it means ‘hey good looking’) with a voice that sounded as though he’d seen off a few packets of Benson & Hedges.

It might have been coincidence, but he responded well (if it is a him) when we spoke to him in Canario (dropping the ‘s’ from the end of words) rewarding us with ‘guapo‘. When our friend Richard spoke to him using proper Spanish – pronouncing the ‘s’ at the end of adios – he got flustered, flew to the back of his cage and refused to utter another word.

As we passed the time of day with the chatty raven, it started to rain, so we finished the walk pronto and retired for some hearty fare to the depths of the Augaumansa restaurant where a fire warmed up the inside dining area whilst outside looked like a scene from Silent Hill. When you’re in the centre of bruma (low cloud) like that, it’s always a surprise to emerge to find that the coast is still in sunshine.

It wasn’t the best day for walking as far as views were concerned, but even with that walking in the La Orotava Valley rarely disappoints and Saturday as always was full of those little magical moments that make walking on Tenerife such a satisfying experience.

This route is part of our ‘Northern Exposure’ walking routes.

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