Artenara – Cruz de Tejeda.
Another leisurely start and another perfect day. we say goodbye to the lovely people at the cave. Breakfast at Bar Tamadaba was taken in the town square, tomate tostada and good coffee. Lanes led to the hills above with views once more to distant Mount Teide. On the ridge we came across a sign for Cueva de los Candiles describing it as one of the most important pre – Hispanic caves with hundreds of carved triangles possibly representing the female pubes, fertility symbols? The approach to the cave was described as dangerous and precarious, so we were soon scrambling down the loose cliff face in search of the cave. After a few false descents we found a metal ladder taking us down to an exposed terrace leading to the cave in the rock face. Disappointingly the entrance was barred, and it was difficult to make out the carvings but what a situation 400m above the valley.
We had not seen much in the way of bird life in the hills, some Kestrels yesterday but up here we spotted a Barbary Falcon flying across the cliffs below us. Continuing along the ridge we found more caves [all barred] Cuevas Caballero which were worth exploring, this time without risking life and limb. There was an interesting carved face in the rock, but this was probably of a different date.
The day was disappearing, and we hadn’t gone far, but good paths led us towards the col of Cruz de Tejeda where all the day trippers land up in the centre of the island. We had a beer on the terrace of the exclusive state run Parador hotel but couldn’t afford a swim in their heated pool. The view down the caldera is impressive, as is everywhere in these mountains. The sombre pilgrim cross overlooks the busy tourist cafés and stalls and our more modest hotel, El Refugio, was tucked away behind. There were pleasant gardens with a pool which looked inviting in the hot afternoon sun – but turned out to be freezing, about 15degrees [we are at 1500m], so we didn’t linger.
We were in a cheap attic dorm type room and suffered several head injuries as we moved about. The couple running the place were most charming and provided a good Canarian evening meal with honey/rum to finish. Recommended.