Alone Like a Rolling Stone

La Palma - unforgettable

The needle enters the vein and the blood starts to run. It was the second time today that they took blood from me, this time they put a catheter in directly. I suspect something bad. Pale as a sheet, I sit on a treatment table and endure the procedure. The climax was reached when I was transferred from the emergency ward in Santa Cruz de La Palma to the hospital, where I was placed in a wheelchair. The blood values bad, the leg still hurting, I must have made a miserable impression on the physician's assistant who processes my admission.

Hospital La Palma, Canary Islands

A wristband with my personal data is stuck on my left wrist and then I have to wait until the blood is analyzed again. In the emergency room this morning, I was told that the blood values were very bad and that they would have to examine the thrombosis and the reason for the bad values more closely. I am supposed to go to the hospital today. The persistent cough, which has been with me for weeks, did not remain undiscovered during the admission and so they sent me to the X-ray of the lungs. Afterwards I had to wait again. In the late afternoon then the all-clear, blood values again good, lung in order, Thrombose still present. The hospital resorted to more severe measures. Instead of 40mg/0.4ml Heparin, there is now 100mg/1ml Heparin. Instead of 4000 units, this means a staggering 10000 units. In fact, the situation improves after a few days. Next week I have to go to the emergency ward again to have the leg examined.

Hospital La Palma, Canary Islands

In view of the positive development and because the weather is so nice, we decide to make a round trip of the island by bus. In addition, I want to move the leg as much as possible, and the stops at each station where we get off should make this possible. The public bus service in La Palma is divided into six main stations. From there, other buses leave for the region. We drive to the main stations, look around a little there and then take the next bus to the next main station and so on.

Bus at La Palma, Canary Islands

The first route takes us from Santa Cruz to Barlovento, a small town in the northeast of the island. Barlovento means nautically windward. This is due to the northeast trade wind, the prevailing wind direction, which hits this part of the country unchecked. The church "Virgin del Rosario" was built in 1581 and extended in the 17th century. The lighthouse "Faro de Punta Cumplida", which marks the utmost northeast of the island of La Palma and the old optics of the lighthouse which is exhibited in the town center. There is hardly any tourism here even without Covid and so the nature here is largely untouched. We also notice this on the onward journey to Puntagorda. Since the LP-1 is closed by a landslide, we drive over the LP-109. Adventurous is still slightly understated, again and again hanging branches bang against the body of the bus or the roof. The road, no wider than the bus itself, closes on one side with sheer rock walls, on the other side with yawning emptiness. A wooden plank is the first and last barrier before the abyss, which drops steeply, hundreds of meters, into a low-lying forest. Mainly the Canary Island pine grows here with its needles over 10cm long. Often covered with lichen and because of the dense forest, a quite mystical atmosphere is created. In between there are sometimes strong and tall palm trees, which do not really fit into the forest. The rest is overgrown with ferns and shrubs, so that you rarely see the forest floor. 

Canary pine

Needles over 10cm long

Oncoming traffic is a real thrill. Not only do the cars appear late behind the next bend and have to be braked abruptly, but passing each other is also a matter of millimeters. Gaby moves to the rock face side and I think to myself, another five centimeters and it goes downhill. Somehow we reach the LP-1 again and wait at the "Cruz del Castillo", in the middle of nowhere, for a regional bus that is 20 minutes late. This gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at the surrounding area and to have a look at the highest mountain of the island, the 2426m high "Roque de los Muchachos". 

Roque de los Muchachos La Palma, Canary Islands

After half an hour delay, we finally reach Puntagorda, in the northwest of the island. The village is located at 722m.a.s.l. and the whole region is forested. Again and again we see dragon trees in the landscape and there are numerous almond trees that bloom in February. We take a small lunch break in the bar "La Barraca" and then continue to Los Llanos.

Dragon tree La Palma, Canary Islands

Almond tree blossom on La Palma, Canary Islands

The city, which is the only one besides Santa Cruz that can also be called a city, has a lot of sights and the city center with its pedestrian zone is animated by many locals and tourists due to the many street cafes and restaurants. The colorful one-story houses in colonial style make time seem to stand still. We stroll through the town for two hours, have a coffee at Café Frida and then continue to Fuencaliente, in the south of the island, where the volcanic landscape spreads out.

Los Llanos, Canary Islands

Los Llanos, Canary Islands

Why this station is called Fuencaliente in bus traffic can only be guessed, because the final stop of line 210 is Los Canarios. From here, numerous hiking trails lead to the volcanoes and to the Faro de Fuencaliente, two lighthouses at the southern tip of La Palma. In addition, there is the best almond pastry on the island, which we do not want to miss this time. In the bar "Parada" we buy two packages. At six o'clock in the evening, we sit down to our last stage, back to Santa Cruz, in the bus and reach after a good hour the starting point of our round trip around the island. After a good 11 hours we have actually made it. 26€ has cost the fun for two and we had an eventful day with many impressions. The nice thing is, the leg has made no problems and so we are of good cheer to have survived the worst. Thus we can plan further from which we will gladly report to you again. In this sense, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.

Los Canarios in the back volcan "San Antonio", Canary Islands