Squaring The Circle To Unite San Miguel And Aldea Blanca

Not so much a fork in the road, more like a full set of cutlery. Contradicting signs on the track down from San Miguel  Arcangel church demanded a return visit to descend to Aldea Blanca, not far from Las Chafiras in the south of Tenerife.

Mix and match seemed a good idea so this time I started from the La Centinela mirador (viewpoint) high above Valle San Lorenzo in Arona. Volcanic cones popped up on the  lower horizon but sadly the La Centinela restaurant with its panoramic views had been closed for several years. At least the wooden cross above it stood firm as a rough dividing line between the municipalities of Arona and San Miguel, as well as a hard work destination to carry the statue of the Virgin for the top spot on the annual fiesta.

The downward trail into the bowl of the valley showed off some great natural features., Wild ferns and grasses popped up between stacks of cracked stones, crop terraces clung to hills, and a stone viaduct bridged a plunging ravine. Above all this, the modern road curved along with the fragmented El Roque standing guard over the drop below. The big attractions to settlers and travellers were two old springs for drinking and washing, most of the water now stays below ground, leaving the eroded concreye troughs a little green and mossy.

A steep concrete ramp led up to the restored Caserio  de la Hoya and a recent dipping tarmac road . Another sign for Aldea Blanca pointed down to where I had just come from, and looking up, I could see the previous dual dilema from the earlier walk. This time my aim was true, and was rewarded with the sight of a classic two tier tile kiln. The road had no pavement but soon delivered the encouraging view of a football ground below, it had to be the Aldea Blanca pitch. Other tell tale signs were the distant buildings of Las Chafiras and the turrets of the modern breeze block castle, built for Medieval Banquet shows – but even bold knights are on hold for Covid for now.

Let´s not leave San Miguel as a bit part player in this walking saga, The walk from San Miguel church is an exceptional uncovering of layers of building history. Great designs, well looked after, and with in depth history panels in a range of languages. With friends on the original trip we took the top path at the identical signs and reached the gurgling water channels before the path faded. Including La Centinela and Aldea Blanca as options make the area even more tempting and well worth the effort.

After about 30 minutes of walking down the tarmac road from the tile kiln, the tightly packed dwellings of the hamlet of Aldea Blanca opened up to reveal the dainty plaza and church showing pride in the 500 year history. Beyond this point there were a good selection of cafes and bars and a relaxed, sedate atmosphere. A wide, overgrown water source offered more possible answers to the confused sign posts. It promised upcoming work on theree barrancos (ravines) although there was no date on this intention. There are a few bus links through Aldea Blanca and a short divertion leads to Buzanada with a busier Titsa bus service. I took the longer route out through Las Chafiras to the motorway and a wider choice of buses.