The Update #38 – La Palma

by Jasper and Lonneke
5 January 2022
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This week is all about La Palma. We temporarily exchanged Tenerife for this island and we exchanged Bob for the tent. We didn’t want to take Bob with us because there is still a lot of ashes in the air from the recently erupted volcano and the ashes are getting into everything. So to avoid having to turn Bob completely inside out after the trip and let’s be honest also to save money, we left Bob at home and only went with Rianne and Enzio’s car + roof tent and Amanda’s car. The volcano had just stopped erupting for 11 days, which was of course a huge relief for the people of the island but also a shame for us. We would have loved to see the glowing lava if we went there at night. But again, for the people of the island it is of course nice that after months of uncertainty, the volcano is now officially dormant again. We waited quite a while before going to the island because the volcano was already erupting before we arrived in Tenerife. But for a long time, it didn’t feel right to go there. We wanted to be anything but disaster tourists, but how often do you have the chance to see an erupting volcano? And besides, we must of course also not forget that it can of course be dangerous. The travel advice, separate from corona, is deep deep red. There are several earthquakes on the island every day and the air quality is not exactly great either… But we came up with a middle ground, we don’t go right away and give it time until the situation is a bit more stable and when we go, we go with a local, so Amanda. More like if we have to act quickly, we have someone with us who speaks the language well and knows the place better.

The boat left at 8:00 in the morning so we had to get up early. Everything went smoothly, only there were quite a few waves, so it was not a relaxed boat trip. In the beginning, we sat in the front of the boat so we had a nice view. The crew soon came to advise us to sit more in the middle to prevent us from getting sick, because in the front it felt more like a ride after a boat trip, and don’t get me wrong, roller coasters are super fun, but a 2-hour roller coaster ride might be a bit much for the stomach. So we sat in the middle, which was slightly better but still you could feel the waves very clearly. At the end of the ride, everyone saw a little bit of green but luckily nobody had to throw up, unlike many other people and Panda. Panda had to stay in the car for the entire ride and that poor creature had no sea legs.

Where we arrived was exactly on the other side of the island from where the volcano had erupted with a large mountain range between us and the volcano. But it was immediately noticeable that there was ash everywhere. Not huge amounts, but there were ashes everywhere. It was difficult to imagine a place where a natural disaster had occurred very recently. But somehow it felt strange that apart from some small details, such as that there is ash on the ground, part of the road is closed, certain places are not or less accessible, you as an outsider don’t notice anything or very little. Daily life seems to go on as usual. And that feels strange because you know that for a lot of people daily life is canceled. After all, they lost a lot due to the eruption. Another thing that struck us, the island is much less populated than Tenerife, for example, there is a somewhat larger town, and the volcano has erupted right next to it. We visited a lookout point outside the city and a little higher in the mountain, from where you can get a good view of the city and the lava flow. And it’s really sad to see a neighborhood suddenly end because there’s a lava flow there. We think that the world is very malleable and that we can shape everything to our liking, but things like this show you that nature occasionally taps us on the finger for this.

But we didn’t just come to the island to see the volcano. La Palma is Amanda’s favorite island and we can imagine it. The island is really beautiful. It is super green and on a lot of the roads you are amazed and you feel like you are traveling in a green jungle area in South America than that you are in the Canary Islands. On our first day we visited a sea salt extraction company, this in itself was funny to see but not very special. Then we just drove along the coast for a bit to see if we could find a nice beach to spend some more time with and we found a beautiful beach where we lingered for the rest of the afternoon. We had found a beautiful place to sleep in the woods for the night. Because unlike with the van, you can’t just stay anywhere with a tent. And where it is often already a grey area to wild camp with the van, wild camping in a tent is often not allowed. But we found a nice spot and felt that we wouldn’t bother anyone for a night there. However, at night the police came to patrol and pointed out to us, in Dutch, that it wasn’t allowed to stay anywhere else than along the coast at the moment. At least, that’s what we heard from Enzio the next morning, he was the only one who woke up to have a chat with the police, the rest of us slept like babies. Fortunately, we were spared a fine.

The next day there was a volcano crater and a volcano museum on the program. I mention the program because Amanda made our program. Wonderful not to have to think about what and where we are going to discover everything. Although it also happens that you do things differently than you would normally choose for yourself. I don’t think we would have chosen this ourselves. You had to pay an entrance fee to walk to the viewpoint, but the crater’s mouth was already so old and also low in height, so it was not recognizable as a volcano crater. But the museum was okay. We did another walk in the area and then decided to drive a bit north for our activity the next day. We made another stop along the way at some rockpools where Jap and Enzio exchanged a tire for a woman in need and then we drove on to our new place to sleep. We slept on the coast and had a few drinks in a cafe nearby, where we were surprised to lose 9 euros for 8 drinks! It’s super cheap here. We also felt some extra gratitude for the convenience of living in a camper. That is a real luxury compared to camping in a tent, it didn’t help as well that Lon’s sleeping mat broke. We had the same problem before with Jap’s mat, the glue connection between the different bumps has gone so that now half of the mat has become a large hill.

The next day we went for a walk on the highest point of the island, Roque de Los Muchachos. It was a long walk, 12 kilometers there and back, plus quite a few altimeters. So that was a bit much for us, but not for Enzio. He is an ultra-trail runner and he walked us from point a to point b as a warm-up, then ran back to point a to pick up the car, pick us up at point b, and drive us back to point a to pick up the other car there. Do you still follow it? We thought it was pretty smart of us. But that was not the point, the walk was beautiful, we had beautiful views over the island and could even see the recently erupted volcano from one point. Once at the end of the hike, it started to get a bit chilly and the sun disappeared behind the mountain. Enzio can run fast but we still had to wait 1.5 hours and we didn’t have much warm stuff with us, so we decided to meet him along the road. We stayed nice and warm. Once at the cars, everyone was tired and we didn’t feel like cooking anymore. So we had pinned our hopes on a restaurant, but they were all closed in the area. But our campsite, we slept that night at a real official campsite, turned out to have a restaurant. In total, including dinner, camping, and a tip, we had to pay 12 euros per person! haha! We did get an unwanted visitor for free overnight for that price. A cat thought it was nice and warm in our front part of the tent and crawled all the time under the tent cloth to go to sleep there. Or well if that was the only thing then it wouldn’t be such a problem but Mr. Cat was quite noisy and kept wanting to cough up hairballs which woke us up. We sent him away many times but he just kept coming back… Again, sleeping in the van is luxurious and we have gained a whole new level of appreciation for it.

About the next day, I have already told most of it, we went to see the volcano. But, what I didn’t tell you, after that, we went to the pirate cave. We didn’t expect much of it and that is precisely why we were very surprised to see how cool it was. It was a very cool cove/cave in which a small village was built and where very large and raging waves rumbled on all the time. There was also a rock formation that just stopped the waves and gave shelter to a very nice large natural pool. We swam in it and enjoyed the views. It was one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen.

And then came the last day, not only of our trip to La Palma but also the last day of the year! We ended the year on a good note with a visit to a beautiful waterfall, including a naked shower for jap and a walk through a beautiful forest to an even more beautiful viewpoint. The boat didn’t return until quite late but the water was a lot calmer today which was nice. We arrived at the Finca around 8:00 PM where Piotrek, another workawayer, had already made some tasty snacks. We had already bought some nice things on La Palma so we could munch right away. Amanda was going to celebrate New Years’ with friends, so the workawayers had the house to themselves. There were not many fireworks, but we had a lovely meal, chatted and danced.

Because we didn’t have time to bake oliebollen the night before, we did this for breakfast. A perfect start to the new year I would say. After the oliebollen, we packed our things to make a New Year’s dive. And oh oh oh what was that tough with 30 degrees, hahaha.

Best wishes for the New Year.

Lots of love,

Jap and Lon.

Spendings of the Week

Budget per day €54 and per week €378 and per month €1700

What/WhereCost (€)
Eating out109,40

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