I wrote this while curled up in my bivvy yesterday morning, waiting for the sun to come up:
With a trip like this, not everything can be expected to go to plan or run smoothly. The sooner that I accept that, the more enjoyable this trip will be.
While I’m usually pretty laid back when travelling, I’m still having to remind myself that when it isn’t going to plan, you’ve just got to roll with it.
Back to yesterday morning. Airport security was a breeze – they didn’t even open my passport. Bus into Arrecife came after about 20 minutes, all still going well. I knew it was about a 4.5km walk from where I was getting off the bus to get me to the city bus station and I also knew the rough direction. I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the station 20 minutes before my bus to Órzola was due to depart. Or so I thought.
‘Ticket for the next bus to Órzola please‘. (I’m so very polite). ‘That’s not until 3.30pm.‘ In other words, it leaves in about 3 and a half hours. Balls. ‘But there’s an alternative. You can get the bus to Punta Mujeres and take a taxi from there.’ At an estimated €12 for the taxi, it was a bit more than I’d like to spend, but in my newly-arrived excitement I thought what the hell. The bus journey to Punta Mujeres gave me the chance to get a few glimpses of the island that I’ll soon be walking across. First impressions: It’s a big, brown, barren rock, scattered with the occasional African-Med styled village (every building is blindingly white) and the imposing cones of extinct volcanoes. Fun.
Anyway. After about 45 minutes I get off the bus into Punta Mujeres and start searching for a taxi. There are none. That’s fine, I’ll ask someone for a number. With 3 people failing to understand my question, I really wish I wasn’t so ignorant to other languages. It was about now I realised I didn’t have enough cash to pay for a taxi anyway, and of course, there were no ATMs. It was around now that I resigned myself to spending some of my €7 on a cold beer. A beer which I drank while sitting above a surprisingly pretty black stone beach, flanked on either side by hospital-white square houses, barricaded against the sea. I guess I couldn’t complain too much.
I counted out my coins to buy a bite to eat, making sure I left enough for the bus. The bus which, ironically, I would’ve been on had I waited in Arrecife to begin with. Eventually I made it to Órzola and caught the 5pm ferry across to the small, sandy, roadless island of La Graciosa (incredibly, home to a cash machine). It was here I was going to spend the night. After a delicious three course fresh fish meal set me back about €9, I found a spot on sunset beach unrolled my bivvy and went to sleep. I can’t remember the last time I saw as many stars.
The day hadn’t gone entirely to plan. Whereas I’d hoped to arrive on La Graciosa with enough time to complete a few miles along its beaches and walking trails, I only arrived with enough time to eat and sleep. Still, with a beautiful sunset, delicious food and cold beer, I guess yesterday wasn’t all that bad. Now it’s time to pack up my bivvy and get some walking done.