Islandmomma

Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

La Gomera : Two Months In

24 Comments

Hermigua ValleyYesterday I fell down the rabbit hole. As I fell, I turned and twisted in slow motion, so that the world became unreal, and I wondered about White Rabbits and Mad Hatters at the end of my plunge. Of course, it was my over-active imagination, returning from the south of the island, leaving behind blue skies and sunshine, the final tunnel of the five which scythe through the mountains felt like the rabbit hole, but when I emerged it was to a changed world; it was to ghostly brume wandering the perpendicular landscape. Again I had the feeling that I’d arrived in an alternative universe.

Two months have gone by already. Whilst I am aware of the slower pace, the relaxed mindset, the tranquillity, it still seems impossible that I’ve been here for two months.

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Sometimes I wonder if living in Hermigua is living in a bubble. I spoke to two people the other day, who told me thatthey have everything they need right here, and have no desire to be elsewhere.

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One was an elderly lady, who stroked my arm, and told me that she had just walked from the cemetery to the church square (no mean feat for a lady of her years). I was sitting by my open window, enjoying the afternoon sun as I connected by smart phone to the outside world; lolling around in jeans and sweatshirt, whilst she was elegant in a colorful jacket and bright lipstick. She told me how happy she was to be living with her Saviour and his mother. Usually, words like that send a shudder through me, but her contentment was palpable, and I could feel only her serenity.

The other was the owner of a favorite bar. When I asked him if he didn’t need to get away from time to time, he told me that he loved his village and his work. Every day he has good conversations, the world, both the local, smaller world and the larger one, in the form of tourists, comes to him. And – he has his music, from Tchaikovsky to Springsteen his bar always rings with the sound of great music. I’m sitting in the bar now, as I write. At the bar the good old boys are arguing about the state of the island, outside some hikers just slumped into chairs, there are other people at computers (one with a very posh leather messenger bag), some hippies are lounging at another table…..you could say the world is here.

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It’s far from the isolated place I imagined it to be, and yet there is this tranquillity, just as if it still was as remote as it once must have been. It’s hard not to wonder about magic in the air when you meet people like this, and they aren’t the only ones who’ve expressed similar feelings to me.

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Just as in Ireland, the warmth of the people here has surprised me, almost everyone I meet when I’m out dog-walking has a friendly greeting, people have gone out of their way to help me or to stop what they’re doing to tell me about some aspect or other of island life, and I am perfectly at home walking into bars on my own.

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A few days back the weather broke, there was some rain, green shoots sprouted all over the place within days, as they do. I’ve been observing a small finca a little way further down the valley. When I arrived the owner was harvesting maize, which he hung on the fence to dry. Then he could be seen cutting down the stalks, and preparing the soil for the next crop. Soon, there were neatly planted rows, of what I think are potatoes, which seem to be growing daily – as if they’d taken Alice’s potion, they grow before my eyes……did Lewis Carroll ever come here, I have to wonder?

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Since the rain, most days have been a mixture of cloud and sunshine. The mists have pretty much obscured the peaks for now, but it doesn’t at all deter the parties of walkers I see every day. Rural tourism is alive and well and living in La Gomera, that’s for sure.

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Unlike the folk I’ve been chatting to, though, I don’t doubt that a time would come when these mountains would close in on me. I hope it doesn’t happen before I’m ready to move on. Right now it feels as if I need to constantly drink in the green beauty of this place, store it away to be sure I never forget it, and I can’t, quite, get enough of it.

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I’m now doing some harvesting of my own, stories are planted and sprouting and will soon, hopefully, be brought to life  – but first I need to make my peace with Ireland. I will never get it out of my system. I will be going back. But for now I need to accept that it’s not where I am just now. This feeling is something new for me. I’m always happy to move on, much as I’ve loved a place, but I don’t want to spoil the now by yearning for unfinished business elsewhere…..and, if I am honest, could I cope with the chill Irish winters I wonder?

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Author: IslandMomma

Loving island life and exploring the freedoms Third Age brings: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

24 thoughts on “La Gomera : Two Months In

  1. Two months already? Time flies when you are having fun … huh, Linda?

    Gorgeous photos :)

    • It certainly does! No wonder someone came up with that phrase! I wonder if it’s in part down to how seductive this tranquility is? I really feel I’ve done nothing yet in my time here!

  2. I’ve been loving your misty photos!

    • Thank you! You would LOVE it here! Maybe a bit warm in summer, but probably not so bad I think. It’s highly unlikely I’ll be here then to fnd out. I actually swore I wouldn’t spend another summer in the Canary Islands….but I might be persuaded!

  3. Wow! How time flies! So which do you now think you prefer to live in, lush green like Ireland and Hermigua, or sandy landscape like El Médano?

    • Ouch! It has been going through my mind recently, that I would like to end up somewhere with more connection to the ocean. I think anyone who hasn’t been here might not understand that, but you will? I do love the hills and the greenness, but I miss the closeness of the ocean, the smell, which I rarely notice on Playa Santa Catalina. Let me throw that question back at you? I think I know the answer, but you might suprise me :)

      • Oh – only just caught up with this because of the Xmas UK break.
        Well, I guess my answer is both. I wouldn’t be happy living somewhere that didn’t get adequate rainfall as I would miss the greenery too much, but I love the ocean too. I think I manage to have both here in the north of Tenerife where I have lush, tropical greenery AND the ocean AND perpetual spring :) I’ve really enjoyed being in Bute this New Year where I also had both, and I love Cornwall, but the weather’s a real down side to both of those.

      • Interesting comments! I’ve always known that I love the ocean, but wasn’t really aware of how important being close to it is to me until this sojourn in La Gomera. I came here expecting to learn about the island/the Canary Islands, but find I’m also learning things about myself – which proves that you’re never too old, and, yes, that certainly is fodder for a post sometime! I expect the reason I fell so hard for Ireland is that most of my time was spent near to the sea, and much as I’ve loved every second spent in Scotland (which was a fair few at one point in my life) I’ve never had that same pull I experienced in Ireland, now I’m thinking that it was because I’ve never spent time on the Scottish coasts, but always inland. Just proves how important travel is, seeing the rich variety of places in this world.

  4. The photos in this post are so beautiful. They are quite transporting.

  5. My first thought is that your mum bought me the Lewis Carol books as a child, she introduced us both to a lifelong love of books! secondly how glad I am to read that you are so at home and settled in what sounds like a paradise. it sounds like even the tourist there are more ‘discerning’ types? if you don’t already know the roof of Cork railway station was blown off today. plenty of storms around every where it seems.

    • Wow! No, I missed that! We flew right over Cork on approach to Manchester, and it was fun to try to make out places I now know.

      I love Lewis Carroll! Almost enough to want to try opium!!!!!

      I’m so happy to read that my mom had that effect on you. It’s a lovely thing to remember.

  6. Oh, BTY the rock formations remind me of the Quarrang on Skye, another fabulous island you should visit if you never have.

  7. These photos are so beautiful! I am longing for a little sun and the blue sky! I think you have found paradise for sure, but I’m like you, I do long to return to Ireland!! Sigh.

    • I feel as if they don’t do the island justice, so I’m glad you liked them :) I think if I ever end up in Ireland it might be that I need to get away in Winter! Though I guess it might be a little warmer than where you are right now! Still, Ireland is definitely an unfinished chapter!

  8. Great read. Makes me very jealous of life.

    Still here in the UK but with the experience of previously living abroad, leaves an imprint on your soul.
    It’s like tasting something amazing once in your life that you just don’t seem to be able to recreate, at least not until all of the ingredients and perpetration have been mastered.

    Still I have your blog and my 1 week of the year (15th year now) to keep me inspired.

    Roll the 3rd of january.

    Keep up the good work momma.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, but you shouldn’t be jealous. I hear what you’re saying about living abroad but I would say two things in reply:
      1. Wherever you are there is something to discover. When I was fired in 2010 I’d been looking forward to much more traveling in the years ahead. Being redundant at 63 left me without pension rights in the Spanish system, which killed those plans. So I decided to explore where I was (Tenerife) as if I didn’t know it. I discovered almost an alternative universe to the one in which I’d being living. I realized I’d missed an awful lot over the years. I’ve heard others say the same in similar circumstances. Even a day trip to Blackpool is a travel adventure of sorts, if you open yourself to the experience.
      2. You would be surprised how little I survive on. I would just adore to be jetting around the world like some travel bloggers do, but I can’t right now, but I don’t give up hope. Thus far I haven’t been the sort of blogger who goes into those sorts of details. I came up with what I hope is a viable travel plan for the next year or so, which won’t cost me more than staying in Tenerife would have. Most of us have to sacrifice stuff to be able to travel. I don’t mean “sacrfice” in the deep sense of the word, but life is a balance, a trade off for most of us.
      Whatever travels you manage in 2014 I hope they are adventurous and rewarding!

  9. I just spent my 30th birthday on La Gomera – my first visit. It certainly is a beautiful and tranquil place. My fiance is from Tenerife and his grandmother was born in Playa Santiago. We saw the house, spent some time relaxing in the village and then took a drive out to Ville Gran Rey, then back up through the rain forest and a quick walk through San Sebastian before taking the ferry back to Tenerife. It was a quick trip, but fascinating. Interesting you have lived there for two months!

    • Yes, definitely too short! If I am honest I’ve probably slowed own too much, but it is that sort of a place. I only ventured to Santiago just before Christmas, as they were filiming “The Heart of the Ocean” there (Ron Howard, Chris Helmsworth, Ben Wishaw and Cillian Murphy), but no doubt they told you all about it. I thought it would be too busy and “not normal” so I avoided it, and was absolutely charmed when I eventually made it! Two months in (more now, but a break to UK for Christmas) and there is still so much to see and learn, despite this being such a small island. It’s full of contrasts and surprises.

  10. It’s lovely to see your images and hear your story. I know the island well, having lived on Tenerife for over 20 years and visited La Gomera many times.

    • Thrilled to hear from you! You will be happy to hear that I bought your guide to La Gomera, oh, must be ten years ago, but I still don’t need another. It’s still relevant, and was much admired by a friend recently! Thanks for reading!!

  11. Pingback: Things I Am Learning from This Journey: No.1 I Am Addicted to Sunshine! | Islandmomma

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