Keep Walking Downhill And You Cant Go Wrong !

I wasn’t lost, I just wasn’t too sure about where I was or where I was heading. You would have thought that after nearly five hours and 9 kms on the almond blossom walk I would have been keen to peel my socks off and soak my toes in some water but it didn’t quite work out that way. Arguayo is only a few miles from Santiago del Teide so there were several easy options to get from the finish to the start, trust me to do it the hard way.

Following a small crowd of clinking sticks and crunching boots through Arguayo I pointed out to a group at the Titsa bus stop that the public bus no longer runs on Saturdays. I should have adjourned to the cultural hall to await the free ferry buses to Santiago del Teide but when a couple of Canarian chaps announced they were going to walk it seemed a reasonable idea. The steep road took us upward past the distinctive rocky slab outcrop and rounding the corner the view showed there was quite a corkscrew road down to the roundabout below Santiago. One of the other walkers pointed out a steep, rough path down the grassy area below the shrine of Ermita del Santo Angel so I followed.

Clicking a few pics on the way down and stopping to water the plants I soon lagged behind and lost sight of the pair. The path briefly touched on a small settlement so I asked an ancient local lady on a bench for directions and she sent me into the little hamlet. A small modern church identified it as Pilar and it was slanting away in the wrong direction for me so I took more advice and was sent downwards. That seemed right as I rejoined the rough path I had started on but I could see now I was well short of my target. A brand new road bridge crossed the ring road near to the tunnels that link the north west of Tenerife to the south but there was just a mud track linked to both sides of the bridge. Even if it was concreted they didn’t really lead anywhere, maybe it’s a ghost bridge leading into another universe.

I wasn’t the only soul wandering free, on the way down to the bridge I met a young British couple walking up and we swapped vague directions to nowhere in particular. Passing over the bridge was surreal, I was waiting for a blast on a horn or a shout to get off but nothing came. The track on the other side curled away from the ring road and down onto the TF 345 which was at least in the right direction and on the bus route for Los Gigantes, my amended destination. There was no real path alongside the road so I walked facing the odd bits of oncoming traffic and ready to hurl myself into the small ditch. It wasn’t very encouraging to see a shrine for a 16 year old that had perished on one of the hairpin bends but I pressed on. A middle aged British couple in a brick bus shelter asked how to get to Tamaimo and they followed me at a distance as I vainly looked for a bus stop going downwards.

A good 30 minutes later I spotted the Vista Guama restaurant near El Retamar with a basic but very welcome bus stop opposite. My two new recruits hobbled around the corner behind me and we settled to wait for the Titsa bus. Amazingly on this descent not one passing car driver beeped or shouted any lifestyle advice, just shows how many rogue walkers are out there. The weather was so lovely it just seemed like an extra adventure to add to a long but very rewarding day, the beer and food at The Bamboo Bar in Los Gigantes revived me and like a Duracell bunny I was good to go again.