Tenerife, Anaga Walk, Good Friday procession

Up early, 7:15 bus. Time for a coffee at Santa Cruz bus station ( good café). Tram through city is very enjoyable. Everywhere looks sleepy…Good Friday. I’m off to the North-eastern end of the Island – the Anaga mountains – which always seem highly rated but I never visited. I also wanted to see the Good Friday procession in La Laguna, so I had to do my walk and be back down in La Laguna by then.My starting point was Carmen Del Cruz, reached by taking the tram to the interchange at La Laguna from Santa Cruz.

At La Laguna the bus interchange needs watching out for but the station itself easy to navigate. Bus full and noisy, mostly walkers by the looks. Standing room only – wooden walking sticks.

Leafy suburbs, green covered hills. Not like the South at all.

On arriving at Carmen del Cruz most of the passengers alighted and dispersed either down the forest trails, into the bar or into the cafe hidden below the car park. There is a splendid viewpoint (mirador) looking over La Laguna and Tiede in the far distance.

I set off down the Chimanada trail, to the right of the bar, and was immediately struck by the trees and general vegetation – green and lush; a complete contrast to the barren (but still beautiful) South. I was also struck by the steepness of the descent – losing height very quickly, all of which would have be regained at the end of the day.
The Anaga mountains have a long ridge heading North-East from which steep valleys plunge on both sides, each separated by the long fingers of ridges heading out towards the sea, often ending with spectacular viewpoints.

At first the weather was bright and cool but one felt the temperature rise as the descent continued. The route to Chimanada is straightforward and the hamlet itself – with its houses built into the hillsides, so only the front facade shows – is very pretty. The views are wonderful in all directions, especially across the lush valleys to distant villages, or looking down to the coast.
As always, the route signposting is clear and the familiar coloured rings on posts confirm your direction. These same rings with a diagonal line through them mean you’ve gone the wrong way! You get the impression that the signposting was installed by people who knew a walker’s mentality!

From Chimanada I took the road to Las Caboneras, and then the delightful path to Taborno, which descends two sizeable barrancos. By now the temperature was in the upper 20s and ascents were hard work. Whilst tree cover did protect you from the sun it also cut out the breeze!
In the hamlet of Taborno, which has two fine bars and a small square – I had to make a decision regarding Roque de Taborno. This ‘Tenerife Matterhorn’ has been visible for much of the walk – a very dramatic and photogenic conical mound at the end of the Taborno ridge. There are no paths to the summit but one path does do a circuit of the base before returning to the village. The Wolfspergers’ book has this a black route, indicating exposure and vertiginous drops.
And I had my target of being in La Laguna by 5pm… And I needed to have some food …

I set off for the Roque. After a well-made path the route soon resorts to rocky ribs as it heads towards the Roque. I chose to do the route clockwise and climbed away from the obvious return path and soon found myself contouring around the hill, but still someway below the Roque itself. As this is not an official route there are no signs and at the far end of the hill, as you should be turning back towards the village, there are multiple paths none of which look convincing. You can see very clearly below you that there are no paths there, so the only route seemed to the up the ridge towards the base of the Roque itself, and this proved correct. At the base the path then continues along and you are soon back at the village. There are couple of moments where you need to take care, but nothing too extreme.
At the bar I was greeted by the sight of diners tucking into lovely meals, and every table was reserved. I took a bar stool and enquired about sandwiches – there weren’t any, just cake. So at 2.15pm, fuelled by Coffee, Cake & Coke, I set off on what I know would be a tough climb – 1,300ft and 3.5 miles – back to Carmen del Cruz. The rather confusing Titsa bus timetable suggested there would be a bus at 4pm or thereabouts. This would get me into La Laguna in time for the procession.
As expected the climb in such heat was hard work. The path zig-zagged up an seemingly-endless rock staircase until it emerged by a roadside restaurant. Here a barbecue was in full swing and the smells were truly wonderful. Tables of hungry eaters tucked into chops and steaks and sausages and huge slices of belly-pork. Sadly I had to ignore this potential diversion and head along the road. I made it back to Cruz del Carmen in just over an hour and checked with the tourist information officer about bus time. He spoke no English but showed me a one-off sheet of bus times for that day (It was Good Friday, after all) and there was no 4pm bus. The next was 5:15 – no good for me.

I went to the cafe to ponder over this and checked the online Titsa bus timetable. It suggested if I walked to the village of Jardina – 1.5 miles away – I could get a bus there at 4:24. Looking at my map I could see a trail leaving the mirador and dropping straight down towards Jardina, so I quickly finished my coffee and plunged down another steep and rough trail, emerging into the village a short while later. I located the bus stop. It showed a time (for Festivos) of 4:50, and it was now 4:15. Since there was only one road all the way in to La Laguna I guess if kept moving I would see the bus and then make a decision. No bus came and I eventually jogged the full way (4.5 miles) and arrived at the Cathedral at 5:05, just as the procession started.
I’d heard that the Senta Semana festival was one of the most famous Easter processions in the world, and the crowds certainly reflected this. Whilst not my own religion I was moved by the endless procession of floats each representing the Holy burial and each presented by one of the local churches, their brotherhood following behind wearing brightly coloured robes and the traditional pointed hats. The music provided by various brass band was slow, funeral, loud and had an impressive dynamic range. The procession lasted well over an hour by which time I really needed to eat. I took the tram back down to Santa Cruz and had sandwiches and cake in a café there before catching the 111 back to Las Chafiras.
A tiring but immensely rewarding day.

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