If we were being honest, most of us had to look up the island of ‘La Gomera’, to locate it in the Canary Islands, due west of Morocco. Blessed with year-round sunshine and low rainfall, these islands make the perfect antidote to the winter gloom our group had blown in from. Two Americans, two Canadians and the rest from the UK, we stretched in the sunshine like lizards on a rock.
La Gomera is a small, almost perfect circle of an island, which, from above resembles a sophisticated citrus juicer- deep barrancos (gorges)and dramatic volcanic plugs giving an other-worldly landscape. Jesús chauffeured us beautifully and showed us how to communicate in Silbo Gomero, a whistling language that enabled communication across the barrancos. Our guide Rene gave us a real taste of the wonderful walking available in the Garajonay National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site- rocky mountain trails with panoramic views across this dramatic land and seascape. Laurel forests are rare reminders that once, millions of years ago, southern Europe was covered in this woodland too. The loveliest surprise was a day spent walking in the rain forest or more accurately the cloud forest - moisture from trade winds not only watering the trees but providing the perfect conditions for lichen and mosses to grow, giving an almost middle-earth feel to the place. We were encouraged to spend half an hour walking in silence through the forest. It was a transcendent experience, thoughts ranging through deep time, connecting us from our primal past to the new beginnings we would make when we got home.
Within easy walking distance of the hotel, we caught the ferry from Playa Santiago to Vueltas in the Valle Gran Rey. Cheekily described by me, as Glastonbury-on-Sea it offered the chance for some hippy shopping and laid-back beach-time.
The eco resort Hotel Jardin Tecina was, as its name suggests the perfect green getaway. Flowering plants and trees everywhere- lifting us back into a perfect summer garden experience. Many of us enjoyed a superb botanical walk with the hotel botanist, giving an insight into the 300 species, their morphology and healing properties. We all enjoyed the many and varied pools, restaurants, and bars around the place.
On the face of it traveling alone at Christmas seems like a sad thing to do. But nothing could be further from the truth. We were all adventuring women, finding friendship, support and a good-time with our newfound journeywomen. We celebrated what it meant to be unashamedly us and were all grateful to WalkingWomen for providing us with this unique opportunity to come together.