A shortened day.
We were a little chastened after yesterday and neither of us feeling ready for a long day with 1400m of ascent, I know I’m getting soft. Walking to the bus station at 7am we suddenly decided to shorten the day by going directly to Ifonche by taxi, saving 7k. This leaves me with another little section to finish some other time but there looks to be a pleasant circular walk from Arona. We were dropped off at a bar, unfortunately closed, and wandered off for a view down the dramatically named Barranco Infierno and distant La Gomera. Once back on the Gr131 waymarks were plentiful as we climbed a ridge between two deep barrancas. Tagaste [white broom], prickly pear cacti and Cistus [rock rose] give way to pine forest. There have been forest fires here but the Canarian Pine is able to regenerate low down from the charred bark. We drop into the Barranco del Rey and then through old terraced plots and the occasional ‘era’ threshing circle. In the next barranco there is a fine old bridge, a good spot for lunch. Going up Montana de la Vica, high point of the day 1600m, there are many paths in the red ash and lots of people heading in the opposite direction. Water pipes are everywhere and down the otherside fields full of potato plants, papas arrugadas is the commonest dish in Canary cafes. Vilafor is a small town with an attractive church square where outside cafes serve beer and coffee. We chat to a young English couple who had passed us earlier in the day. Our hotel, Rural Vilaflor, is an old house in a quiet side street strangely run by a friendly Russian couple. Tourists disappear in the evening and most cafés close, but we find one open for an average dinner.