UK daily The Mirror published a nice feature about La Gomera written by Jaqui Thake in its travel section. I’ve posted most of it below and hope you can spot the few forgivable errors the author made:
”I have received a few whistles in my day – albeit many years ago – but never one as shrill and censorious as this. At the time I was driving in a pitch-black tunnel through a mountain in La Gomera. Loosely translated it meant: “For heaven’s sake, put your bleeping lights on!”
Whistling, as I will explain later, is a very important part of the island’s culture, but right then it only added to my stress
Of course, I would have put the blinking lights on, had I been able to find the switch. But I’d only been in the unfamiliar hire car for a short while and I was still trying to get to grips with driving on the wrong side of the road while negotiating continuous hairpin bends on precipitous mountain roads edged with sheer vertical plunges.
Hubby Tom was no help whatsoever. I could feel his fear as he sat rigidly hanging on for dear life – with both hands – to the handle above the door. Through tight, terrified lips he whined about how I should have left him on his sunbed…
Driving around this unique and fascinating island in the Canaries can only be described as ear-popping, heart-stopping and jaw-dropping.
If you’re looking for discos, drinking orgies, fast-food outlets, tattoo parlours and bright lights (OK, I could have done with some in the tunnel) then La Gomera is not for you.
There are no McDonald’s, there’s not even a single traffic light. But there are some of the most stunningly arresting views you’ll see anywhere. Craggy volcanic mountains, dense forests and black sandy beaches all paint a dramatic picture.Even Tom had to admit it was worth the “discomfort” of my driving to experience this raw and wild adventureWe were told that La Gomera – which as the crow flies measures a mere 15 miles across (although it climbs to nearly 5,000ft) – has as many as 400 microclimates. I’m pretty sure we encountered all 400.One minute we were driving through blazing sunshine, the next we would be shrouded in mist. Further up, or down, the road we’d be rocked by a furious wind or a sudden burst of torrential rain.But it all added to the excitement. And only intensified the exhilaration of reaching probably the most sensational viewpoint on the island – from the Mirador de Abranterestaurant. Here we were given the best table in the house, right next to the overhanging glass balcony from which you can look literally straight down on to the cute town of Agulo, 1,300ft below, and across the sea to La Gomera’s big brother, Tenerife.Height-phobic Tom sat with his back against the wall, refusing to budge any closer to the glass. He muttered something about already being on enough of a high holidaying with me. But it was a beautiful clear day so when he plucked up
Height-phobic Tom sat with his back against the wall, refusing to budge any closer to the glass. He muttered something about already being on enough of a high holidaying with me. But it was a beautiful clear day so when he plucked up courage to open his eyes, he was rewarded with an outstanding view of Tenerife’s imposing volcano Teide.But he shuddered as I followed a large group of “well-eaten” (as the locals put it) German tourists out on to the balcony as they gleefully jumped up and down on the glass floor.However, he was compensated with a tasty traditional lunch of cress soup, fresh fish and an egg custard desert, plus delicious local wine. All the while we felt as if we were flying – along with the paragliders swooping and soaring as they jumped off a nearby cliff. During lunch we learned more about the island’s ancient communication through whistling. This extraordinary language, called the Silbo Gomera, was developed centuries ago to cope with the difficult geography. Whistling carries much further than shouting. It can be heard up to two miles away.
It almost died out some years ago, but since 1999 has been a compulsory subject in school, and has even merited the protection of UNESCO. Nowadays almost all the island’s 22,000 population understand it and many still practise it, particularly during festivities and ceremonies.It’s very sophisticated, as demonstrated by our two waiters. One was sent outside while the other whistled to him: “Come back in and retrieve the pen from the pocket of the wimp in the checked shirt cowering against the wall.” Which he duly did.The language is also very useful to express tunnel road rage.Back on the road, we roamed all over the island. We were based for the first three days on the east coast in the main tourist area of Valle Gran Rey before making our way back to the capital, San Sebastian, for the last two days.Our travels took us through the lush national park full botanical wonders, and north to Agulo where we stopped for a delicious tapas lunch at Restaurante La Vieja Escula. Another day we headed south to Playa de Santiago for lunch at the posh Hotel Jardin Tecina – beyond scrumptious.
Romantic Tom was upset that we didn’t have time to enjoy the hotel’s special dining experience in a real cave set in a hill. It’s so private dinner is delivered by basket on a cable. The cave is well furnished – it even has a huge bed. One wonders why, as you can’t stay overnight…To further ensure we went home looking “well eaten”, we can recommend the delicious meal of fresh tuna, Canarian potatoes and salad served at sea while whale-watching aboard the Tina.It was thrilling enough to see around a dozen Pilot whales and several Bottlenose dolphins. But we were totally overwhelmed when a pod of around 200 exuberant Atlantic spotted dolphins chose to leap around our boat.If only I could whistle, it would be a piercing one in appreciation of all that La Gomera has to offer. We had a blast. ” (www.mirror.co.uk)
First published by Willie in La Gomera blog