LA GOMERA – El Drago, the dragon tree.

The bus time tables for La Gomera are idiosyncratic – they give the route and the time of leaving San Sebastion but no intermediate times, one has to guess. We were stood at the bus stop for half an hour waiting for the bus to Alajero, it eventually arrived and whisked us for 2euro to the village nearest the oldest Dragon tree on the island. There are thousands of small dragon trees all over La Gomera but we were looking for the largest and oldest. Nobody else got off the bus. Using our poor map I think we took the long way in to the tree. Steeply down into a junction of barrancos and then a long scramble up a dry ravine. As this became a deep impassable canyon……we climbed out with the lone tree in sight across ancient terracing. The tree is protected by a rather incongruous metal fence.  We scrambled up to a viewing platform above and realised there was a constructed path coming in  from the road, which of course we followed out. The tree itself was certainly impressive with a very wide gnarled trunk and arching divided branches, about 10m high. The red sap of these plants [the dragon’s blood] was previously used in varnishes and lacquers, it was also thought to have medicinal properties hence the rarity of older trees. Our bloodlust satisfied we walked back to Alajero noticing on route a yellow flowering succulent, we had not seen many flowers so must come in Spring when apparently they are profuse.We eventually caught a bus back to the coast and enjoyed a coffee on the sea front.

The evening meal in Bar Playa was enlivened by a group of local musicians and singers initially entertaining us outside and then in the cramped little bar. Rousing local songs were clapped to, the owner was whisked away dancing  and more wine was consumed by all. The drummer balanced his excited little boy on the drum itself.  A lovely spontaneous happening. Wish I had my camera, these are from the phone.

Catch of the day  –  fried BURRO.

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