It was in Cologne, Germany where we lost the touch with mother Earth this time, as we headed for a holiday. It was Christmas eve and we were heading for Fuerteventura to spend the holidays living like hobos, in a tent, wandering around the island for about a week.
We arrived well before noon, which left us with quite some time in our hands to dive into the maps and books to find the perfect place to see the sun rise on Christmas day. And quite a spot we found. There seemed to be plenty of beach on the western edge of the southern part of the island, called Jandia. Just a short drive over a mountain ridge and we would be there.
So we set off. First winding up onto a view spot over the Atlantic. Over there we got the first idea of why the island was called Fuerteventura – Strong winds, as we were almost blown from the face of the Earth. A bit further down on the other side of the ridge, we found a road / riverbed, heading to the sea. Looked perfect for us, especially as the violent wind left the river at peace.
We took our tiny rental car as far down as we dared and walked the remaining bit to the beach. It wasn’t the perfect beach weather; the grey clouds were hanging low to the mountaintops and the sun seemed to have gone somewhere else to enjoy its Monday. We didn’t mind. The scenery was beautiful and there were more than enough places to put our tent to.
So there we stayed. We strolled around the beach, letting the wonderful feeling of being on a holiday sink in. We enjoyed a cheap wine with our dinner, while watching the light fade and disappear behind the mountains and into the sea. Leaving behind the magnificent wonder that is the Milky Way.
The spot we had thought to be wind free was far from in reality. We noticed that pretty soon, as the cooler night air allowed the wind to sink down from the mountains. The wind came in violent rolling gusts, beating our tent. Our tent then was happy enough to transfer the beating to our faces. Jolly.
Initially we had been planning to do a long distance hike on the GR131 crossing the island. But after realizing that it would be practically just a desert walk, and neither of us was feeling too much like dragging along liters and liters of water, we tossed the idea. Instead our days were filled with walks across the arid landscape and searching for the perfect sleeping spots.
That wasn’t such a bad idea. After the first night, the days that followed pampered us with clear skies and the mild temperatures of the Canarian winter. We ended up finding some nice, hidden beaches in the midst of the holiday villages, perfect for us to camp at and swim in.
A few magnificent sunsets later, we decided to head further to the north, driving through the central parts of the island. On the road trip we got a welcome break of the touristic centers. They were replaced by hills with a tint of green and small farming villages. Soon we got first glimpses of the islands old volcanoes too.
On the go, we got to some natural pools at the shoreline. The water there is warmer than the ocean itself, perfect for taking a small dip. The clear, cool water was such a relief for our tired hiking feet. The pool was home to all sorts of creatures. Small fish and shrimp came to nibble at our feet as hermit crabs were trying to find shelter from our camera lens. Quite amusing all of it, we had some true David Attenborough -moments looking at those tiny fellows going about their lives.
As we headed on, we noted the north end of the island to be a much more pleasant place compared to the south. There were hippies hanging around mixing up with surfers and more shoreline free of all-inclusive hotel complexes. The hotels were replaced by randomly scattered camper vans and mobile homes. Our tent fit right in with them.
We were nicely right at the foot of some of the volcanoes, so we decided to hike them. We found a loop trail, walking us up a couple of the higher domes. The trail, as most of the trails on the island, was easy. More like a road than a trail.
We wobbled upwards pretty fast and soon a great panorama over the island opened up before us. As the skies were clear we also saw the neighboring islands Lanzarote and the tiny Isla de Lobos. The volcanoes themselves were also an interesting sight. I have always been somewhat fascinated about the marks of volcanism. How they tell the story of the earlier times on this earth.
On the way back we got a fun surprise as we were surrounded by dozens of curious little chipmunks! The hungry buggers had clearly learned that tourists pockets often have something for them to eat, so they were eager to investigate us too.
After the volcanoes and chipmunks we headed back to the shore, to camp at a small sandy bay. There were some other groups of people too, scattered between the bushes and dunes. Before long, we noticed a sound of sniffing coming closer to us from the dark. And a bit later someone stumbled over our car. And then over our tent and a pile of stones.
It was a dog. A blind little fella, who was apparently trying to find a way back to his family. The dog kept running in circles, aiming for anything with light on it. Poor thing, we couldn’t leave him running around like that, so we went to find his owners. Luckily they weren’t far, parked with their mobile home a 100 meters away and as they called for the dog named Toby, he came home, and was clearly relieved. The owners were wondering though, how we had figured out that poor Toby was blind…
A few days were still remaining of our holiday, so we swam and hiked a bit more. For the last day we found a loop over the higher hills of the central part of the island, leaving from the town called Vega de Rio Palmas and heading over to Pico Lima. That turned out to be a refreshingly challenging hike, taking us to smaller trails and steep hillsides, twisting in between huge aloe vera plants.
The hike was rewarded by a great view over the island. There was a nest of a hawk hidden away under a slab of stone, and we stopped for a while to watch the parents come and go, taking care of their crying young.
On the way down we descended into a beautiful terrace garden, with fruit trees and cacti. From there an eroded river bed took us to the same village where we left from. An old lady who had seen us setting off on the trail was surprised and happy to see us back in town. How sweet.
With that hike we said goodbye to the island and headed for the hotel we had booked for the last night. Fuerteventura doesn’t make it to the list of my favorite destinations. But after the first shock of seeing all the all inclusive hotel villages filled by Germans, the island did manage to show us a beautiful side too. Can’t possible complain about the great sunsets and the pretty beaches, never the less, I was happy to return home for the New Year’s party with Waffle’s family.