Arriving back at the Hotel Spa Villalba looking like something the cat brought in after amusing itself for a very long time, we headed straight for the spa. Freshly showered, we sank into the hot Jacuzzi, pushed the white button and sighed audibly as the water jets began to gently pummel our sore calves, feet and lower backs. For a long time we didn’t speak to each other. We just lay back and let the Jacuzzi massage our aching muscles while we watched the sun dancing on the surface of the swimming pool.
Eventually I came out of my reverie long enough to look at Jack and mutter: “Why have we never done this before?”
“Because we don’t have a spa,” came the obvious reply.
There’s a sort of unwritten rule in our house that every good hike should end with a beer. It’s not a rule breaker and we don’t dismiss good hiking routes just because they don’t end in easy distance of some pleasant hostelry in which to unlace the boots and reward ourselves with a frothy glass of amber nectar, it’s just our preferred modus operandi.
“It can’t possibly be this way,” says Jack as we follow the country lane out of Vilaflor. “It’s in completely the wrong direction.”
That’s where Jack has a major advantage over me. He has a sense of direction, I have none. I apply logic. If a route points me in a certain direction, I keep going straight unless told to do otherwise. The logic is sound, it just doesn’t work in Tenerife.
We re-trace our steps to the plaza and begin again. We end up in the same place.
“This is ridiculous!” The irritation is beginning to show in Jack’s voice. “We’ve got a 13 kilometre hike ahead of us and we can’t get out of the village!”
I thought of our slogan: We get lost so you won’t.
Crossing the same road for the third time I suddenly spotted a home produced, laminated sign lying in the road. It says ‘TF72 Paisajes Lunar’ with an arrow pointing towards, err, the wall opposite. The sign has clearly fallen off the wall, been run over several hundred times and now lies forlornly in the road.
“Bloody typical!” says Jack and launches into one of his soliloquy rants about the ‘mas o menos‘ culture, his monologue fading as I wander off down the road to try to pick up the scent of the start of the route.
Our sister publication TenerifeMagazine.com is currently running a competition in which you can win a free week’s half board holiday at the beautiful 4 star Hotel Spa Villalba in Vilaflor. Last week we went to stay for a couple of nights to check it out and get some nice photos for the competition promotion. It was, we decided, the perfect opportunity to do the Paisajes Lunar walk which we’d done before, setting off from the TF21 near the Las Lajas camp site, but which, apart from the paisajes lunar themselves, had been quite a boring route-march sort of hike. This time we were setting off from Vilaflor.
We eventually found the start of the walk and began the long, hard climb out of the village and up into the depths of the pine forest. Instead of the endless, dusty pista which runs from the TF21, the cobbled camino real twisted and turned its way above the village giving stunning views back over the neat terraces filled with potatoes and a vast panorama all the way to the south east coast where Montaña Roja shimmered in the edge of the Atlantic.
The dappled, dense foliage of the forest eventually thinned out to hot, pine scented trails that continued to climb beneath the heat of the late summer sun until we eventually arrived at the spectacular Paisajes Lunar and began the return journey which took us in a loop along different trails until we re-joined the forest and dropped back into Vilaflor.
It was a stunning walk and we arrived, footsore, sweating and sun scorched at the Fuente Hermano Pedro café in Vilaflor Plaza where we fled the sun and took refuge inside with beer, water and choc ices, lulling our muscles into a false ending. By the time we set off on the short but steep return journey to the Villalba our thighs and calves had already begun to seize a little and we felt every step.
That’s when we discovered the addictive pleasure of the post-hike spa.
After lying in the Jacuzzi long enough for our finger tips to start to wrinkle, we spent the next hour slowly indulging in a continual circuit of shower, sauna, sunarium, Turkish bath and the strangely masochistic pebble footpaths that alternate between hot and freezing. By the time we finally returned to our rooms to get ready for dinner at the hotel’s Vendimia Restaurant, our muscles had settled into a tired but happy state that normally takes 12 hours to arrive. I think we’re going to have to add ‘every hike should end in a spa’ to our unwritten rule in future.
Does anyone know where I can enter a competition to win a home spa?
Watch this space for the Paisajes Lunar route directions coming soon in Island Walks.