This saturday, the magazine El Viajero distributed with “El Pais” newspaper dedicated a quite interesting article to San Sebastian of La Gomera. It narrates a small visit to the island’s capital with an overlook of the most emblematic places.
Here is a translation of the article:
24 HOURS IN… SAN SEBASTIÁN DE LA GOMERA
A STRESSLESS SEAPORT
To La Gomera you reach by ferry. There is an airport in the island, but it takes less time to arrive by the regular ferry lines linking it with the south of Tenerife. The first time making the trip you shall travel in the deck by the starboard to admire how you leave behind the massive Teide while at the horizon the other island grows, rounded and scarred by the ravines. Following a similar route, but skirting Tenerife’s coastline, arrived Christopher Colombus to the town in his first trip to America. The journey is delicious, though unlikely that the visitor is as amazed by the panorama as the discoverer, lacking the apocalyptic element of the Boca Cangrejo volcano eruption the summer of 1942.
- 10.00 Whistle Concert
After around one hour of trip, in which luckily we have seen flying fish and dolphins, we find a villa of almost 9.000 inhabitants around a cove filled with small houses overflowing to the surrounding mountains. An bucolic image quite different from the babilonian touristic towns of other islands. The docking was years ago the introduction to the ancient whistle language. While the ship arrived, the passengers and their families started a whistling concert. Today it is hard to see that ceremony, but Naviera Armas has instead included the whistle “translation” of all PA system announcements. Of Columbus there is barely news in the Seaport. A small plaque reminds him, but it is almost hidden by a pannel with touristic leaflets. Maybe a bit of marketing to sell the port history is needed.
- 10.30 The house of Beatriz
Our first destination might have been the same as Columbus’, the “Casa de la Aguada”. In it’s site was the residence of the island’s landlord, at the time the widow Beatriz de Bobadilla, a fierce beauty, whom the admiral knew from the Spanish court. Isabel the Catholic queen sent her away because the king adored here, according to the gossip. Columbus visited her because she had promised him help, accordingly to the official version. If we rather opt for a more romantic history, let’s say he shared the king’s object of affection. We can ask about these and other themes in the Casa de la Aguada, now information office and small museum. In the patio, a sign over a pit says: “With this water was America baptised”. A sign to remind the visitor that the island was not only a stop, but it’s beginning point, the definitive supplying place.
- 11.30 Prayers of the 15th Century
The Real Street, stringed of typical canarian houses with patios that deserve more than a glance, takes us to other 2 of columbus related monuments. The first of these, the Asuncion Church. In this temple, that combines the Gothic, Mudejar and Rococo styles, Columbus prayed. Destroyed, plundered and rebuilt, the church, in the begining a single nave, grew with time. In it’s interior there are several altarpieces from the 17th Century and even more peacefulness than outdoors. Deeper into the street we find the small chapel of San Sebastian, built at the end of the 15th Century. Later on, Columbus House, a small museum with prehispanic ceramic.
- 13.00 With a bathing suit and flip flops
Time has come to enjoy a good bath. The weather in La Gomera allows to enjoy the ocean the whole year. The village has 2 delicious sites, the beach of San Sebastian, in front of it, and the beach of La Cueva, barely 5 minutes away. The first, more still and crowded, is protected by the breakwater. The second wilder and open – beware the waves – with the best views of Tenerife. Both have black sand and stones, so it might seem a good idea to use rubber sandals. The water is cold, but easily swimable. Don’t be discouraged by the few sunbathers. In the Canary Islands, though with good weather, inhabitant take into account the relative concepts of summertime and wintertime. It is important not to wait till late to bathe, the town is oriented to the East, and the sun leaves soon.
- 14.30 Fried eel with Yam and “mojo” sauce
We are in no hurry, and if we are, this is the perfect place to get cured of that modern-day illness. So calmly we can sit in any of the terraces of the “Plaza de las Americas” to have an appetizer. For lunch we have several reasonable options. Few meters away the “Breñusca” (En Medio, 11) with chicken soup, croquettes and salad. If we rather have an nice fresh fish, we can reach “Cuatro Caminos” (Ruiz de Padron, 36). With ocean views, in the Marine, “Los Pajaritos”, where you can have fried eel with yam and mojo sauce. In “Casa Carmita”, by the bus station, we can try the ropa vieja (meat stew with potatoes and chickpeas). Also in the beach “La Cueva” we have 2 options, the “Club Nautico”, and for larger budgets, “El Charcon”.
- 16.30 Siesta by the tower
A couple minutes away from all we have seen – everything is so close – it the Torre del Conde (Count Tower), a small rectangular tower for mid-15th Century and late Gothic style. It is the island’s emblem and the first sight when reaching by sea, but years ago it got eclipsed by a 6 floors building in front of the beach. The construction absurdity is serious, but luckily one of the very few seen around the island. The tower seems naive as a fortress, and looks like barely a toy castle, but it was more than enough to stop the aborigins’ offensives, with primitive weapons. The construction is surrounded by a nice park that is quite inviting for a nap, some reading or resting. So a nice plan would be to take a nap and later visit the monument.
- 18.00 Columbus Farewell
An option for the afternoon is to stroll to the National “Parador” (hotel) Count of La Gomera, in the cliff by the village. The building, canarian styled, is a small paradise inside paradise that is inviting for a stroll in it’s gardens. It is open for visitors until 19:30, but the traveller can decide to stay further in the bar or dining (menu for 32€), opened until 22:30. It’s vantage point offers an extraordinary view of Tenerife, and allows to end the trip in time imagining the farewell of Columbus on his departure towards America. But beware, do not image the route towards the South, but to the North, to the beach of “La Cueva”. The discoverer took that route, longer, because some ships of the king of Portugal were in El Hierro awaiting to capture him.
- 21.00 Before departure
To give closure to such and stressfull day it is a nice idea to have a snack at “Tio Lolo”, a fishermen’s bar located in the “Plaza de la Constitution”. There, among nets, flags and other marine mementos, you can chat with tourists and locals. An ideal spot for Columbus and his crew to have taken the last drink before leaving to America.