Archive for April 10th, 2008
Highs and lows of Los Realejos

Waking up with itchy feet, I knew it was either time for my annual bath or time to go wandering again, and with my rubber duck nowhere to be found, I hit the road up to the north and Los Realejos Alto (high) and Bajo (low).

Los Realejos Alto

Catching the early bus to Puerto de la Cruz gave me the chance to see how long it would take to cross from Guimar, on the east coast to La Orotava, just outside Puerto. The reason being the announcement of plans to build a tunnel between the two at a cost of 346 million euro to slash the 16.5 km journey to 5 mins, bringing north and south closer together. The bus took 40 mins out of the total 1 hour 20 mins to Puerto, can’t help wondering if they really need to bore through the mountain just to save that small difference. Still it’s only at the discussion stage and would take around 9 years to build, so don’t hold your breath.

Back in the real world, a quick connecting bus and I got off in Los Realejos Alto, up in the clouds and with the bus struggling to squeeze up the narrow streets. Museum and Culture centreWalking up the main street, the Museum and Cultural Centre impressed with it’s classic Canarian hanging balconies, made from tia, the wood at the centre of the pine tree. At the top, the church of Santiago del Apostle greeted me, set in it’s shady plaza as the sun emerged.

A little further up, the Ayuntamiento building looks side out to the Barranco San Agustin, a deep ravine with it’s own iconic Drago tree perched on the lip. All seemed still and quiet on this weekday morning, as I sipped my coffee and studied my map for the march down into Los Realejos Bajo.

Los Realejos

Heading down the steep hill, the traffic became busier and it was clear that this part of town was much more modern, it looked like it had been compressed down into a dip and the buildings were pressed a little too close together. Drago treeThe Sanctuary of the Virgin del Carmen was a good stop off point, a bigger church rebuilt in 1952 after a fire. I wasn’t as impressed by Bajo which seemed to lack character, a nice sunken leafy garden plaza looked overgrown and neglected as the traffic brushed by, I think I prefer to have my head in the clouds.

A quick change via Puerto de la Cruz, and I was off to Santa Cruz to visit some familiar places and to explore a bit more. Los Realejos is a bit of a sprawl and maybe you need to be fascinated by churches to really appreciate it, but it was another destination I was pleased to have added to my list.