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Gran Canaria    DIARY  4

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Diary 1  2  3  4
 5  6  7

                  From Diary 3.
Despite the forecast promises rain in the mountains, I head for the Saturday market in little Santa Brigida. It is small, clean and kind of cosy. And they are covered from the drizzle. Here are fruits, wine, vegetables and bakery along with some Christmas flowers. I find a bun with anise and a pastry for lunch, and head for the lowlands and the sun.

Despite the drizzle, it is a great drive on the narrow mountain roads, connecting the tiny and colourful villages. I stop a few times on the usually dry mountain sides, which are real soaked today. Once again, I only find the usual suspects.

I meet the sun at the foothills, and find my way out to the little surfer town of Pozo Izquierdo. The beach is a rough lava rock slope, the inland an usually really dry area, with a few salt bushes and alike.

Along the coast, real close to the water, I find the 1200'th century tombs; Necropolis de Pozo Izquierdo: Some small gatherings of the local rocks. Further out along the 100s of windmills, I find the Salinas del Tenefé, some small ponds for producing salt from seawater. The old windmill is still in place, for pumping the water around.

I hear some racing in the hills, and find a  lot of enthusiasts, in different classes. It is a real long track, leading way into the canyon. I watch it for some time, but despite the dark clouds, the mountains draws me in. Well, I have to get a café con leche in a surf-shop, and enjoy the sun a bit, before I head for the dark clouds.

I have found some tiny roads, leading way up in the light drizzle and great looking mountains. First GC-65, then GC551, which leads me to Barranco de la Vacas. Here, the river have cut itself deep into the ground in zigzag, and it feels like walking into a cave. And it ends in a 20 meter vertical wall.

I count on, the rain have stopped in Telde, and I head for the old town. Where most of the other old towns I have visited, have been restored to perfection, this has defiantly not. But it sure is charming, and I do some loops, before I find the Urbano de San Juan Park.

I only see a part of it, and I am thrilled: Massive cacti and succulents fills a large area, way better than most botanical gardens I have seen. Baobab tree, Pachypodiums, and several cacti and giant Euphorbias, to name some. Yet another rainy day, where I manages to stay dry.

I finally make it home before it is too late, and then I'm all by myself, and have less than 200 photos to process, and not that much diary to write either.

At least, the rainy season should be over by now, and I can stick to my original plan. HIGHLIGHTS.

3. The bright sun is back from the early morning, and I head into the mountains by the narrow and twisted roads, through a lush nature. My first target is the Sunday market in San Mateo; Vega de San Mateo marcando. It is not big, but I meet a familiar face, from the first market I visited. The rest seems to be locals - well, except those from Ecuador, I guess.

Here are only a few stands on the square. They have the usual jewellery, flowers, scarf, toys and alike. A large hall have the food stores with wine, bakery, fruits, candy, herbs and goat cheese. Everything so neat and clean. I stock a pang and a cookie for later, and see the town.

I was in this town the other day, but in the other end, and this is the old town. It is really nice, with the old town mansions, cafés, square and church. And a great view to the green valley below. The market was a bit empty, the rest of the little town completely dead by now.

I head on through the green mountains bye yet another narrow road. Actually, the GPS leads me in to a shortcut by real narrow roads, through old houses and fields. It was for sure not faster, but a great experience.

My next site is a market as well, but in a bigger town; Teror, and it is a huge market, taking up most of the large old town. I get to park on a huge area, a bit out of town, and support some charity with €2.

Apparently, this is where everyone is. Mainly locals from the island, but also some tourists. All shops are open, here are plenty of cafés and restaurants, all packed. I do several loops, both to see the shops, but also the great looking old houses.

A short café con leche and banjos stop, and then some more loops. I actually think I will return one day, when there are no white tents everywhere, and do a few hundred more photos of the beautiful town.

My next site is on the other side of the top, and I get to drive up through the clouds from 1200 to 1400 meters height. Here are a bit of broad-leafed forest with massive lichens. I guess some are chestnut trees, with only a few yellow laves left. It clears up and I pass 1600 metres. On the other side, it is all sun, but also a bit more dry. Near the top, there are some dormant plantations, it might be almonds?

Then I enters the pine forests on my way down, till the mountains turn rather barren. I end up in what feels like a forgotten valley. The un-named road leads down and down in zigzag, and I finally get to a tiny and poor village.

A little trail leads on to Cascada Bonita, and that sounds interesting. Well, the area is nice, and there are actually water in the fall. A few ponds holds some real frighten frogs and a water-plant, I would love to have a home. The sun does not reach the button of the valley, only the ridges surrounding it.

I find a series of small roads to drive home bye, but one is blocked by a bicycle race, and I end up on the usual but pretty GC-130.
Again, I reach the clouds on the way down, and the sun disappears, till I reach the coast.

4. The forecast only promises sun in the highlands, and that is where I'm heading. I find the usual GC-130, but this time up the mountains. And it is a great drive this way too. I soon clear the clouds, and start exploring the nature.

Then the pines start, and here are less other plants. I reach the highest point of the island; Pozo de las Nieves at 1956 metres. That is: Apparently, the nearby Doppler radar crew monitors the area, and I'm shouted off, twelve meters before I reach the peak.

Never mind; the views are amassing from lower as well.  In the layer of pine needles, I find two bulbs; one numerous. I'm not sure if it is Pancratium maritimum or not, as this is early in the growing season, and there are no buds. The other bulb is small, dotted, and look so much like an African Drimiopsis maculata to me.

I do a lot of photos, but they fail to show the greatness of the scenery I experiences. Barren yellow and dark read rocks, green pines, white clouds below and blue sky above.

I do many stops on the way downwards, but I only find a few plants, and some are most likely invasive. Well, Umbilicus heylandianus is supposed to be here. I guess the endemic lamb's ear; Sideritis dasygnaphala, the Aeonium simsii and a greyish succulent are native too.

Then I see the white village of Tejeda on a mountainside, and it get more and more pretty, the closer I get. I pass a Scania 111 truck, in absolutely pristine condition on the way into town. Not a grain of dust underneath either.

And the village is real neat as well. White stone walls with brown woodwork. The church is huge, compared to the village - and closed. The main street have a dulcería with a huge and great looking collection of cakes. I have to limit myself to three, and they are great in taste as well. A rich and varied second breakfast: Rich in calories and three different cakes.

There are lemon- and orange trees with fruits on, and a few barren fields in the valley. I have a hard time, leaving, but at least; I'm heading for another village. It is through more, rather barren mountains, and the winding road is dotted with great motives.

Eventually, I make it to Artenara, another even smaller village. The most special about it must be; half the village is made up by cave homes. Some are real humble, others real dashy. Someone is feeding the Atlantic Canary; Serinus canaria, and I finally get a (slightly blurry) photo.

I head further south-west, downwards, and make a tea/cake break at one of the endless great mountain views. Then I pass a sheep and goat farm, just before I meet the decent on GC-605, towards Mogán.

I am desperately - and real naive - trying to find just a single Dracaena tamaranae, but considering I haven't been able to find a single of the "common" Dracaena draco in the wild, I guess it won't happen. This should be the right area, but despite my eager, I fails.

Then I'm down in the misty lowlands, and here are only planted Dracaena draco. A single break in tiny La Humbridilla for café, and then I meet the highway, circling the eastern coast. The first part is one tunnel after the other, and the slopes are real barren. HIGHLIGHTS.
                  It is time for Diary 5.

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