3. – 13.9.2016
While working on my master’s thesis on Canary Islands (Fuerteventura), I reached a point when I was unable to continue. Plenty of problems without solution. I packed my backpack and went for a walk. In the end I walked about 250km, chilled down and found a solution.
When I was about to start my journey, I was invited for a grill party that was on the terrace of Bhavana hostel in Corralejo. We have prepared a lot of food and also a lot of Mojito. There were people from Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Romania, France, Australia, local people and me. There was this Spanish guy living in Corralejo. We were sitting next to each other and I was talking with him about websites and traveling and I have realized that he does the same thing I would like to do next years. For 6 months he lives somewhere (now Corralejo, earlier many Europe cities) and then he moves. From time to time he goes to London to get some job, because working for UK money is much easier in combination with travelling. In Czech Republic, I would have to work the whole year to get the same money that I can get in UK in 3 months. Yes, that is what I want to do and I think I am already on the right path. He also told me, where I can find some empty houses in Corralejo for staying there. After this party I took my backpack and went to the house he told me about. In front of the house, there was a small terrace and I was so sleepy, that I didn’t care much about its surroundings and slept in 5 minutes.
I woke up at 8, packed my backpack and started my journey. After 30 minutes I entered a desert. Dirt, rocks, no vegetation and a lot of sun. It was my first experience with this environment and I felt quite exhausted after 2 hours of walk. Everything was the same. I saw an empty house on top of a hill, so I climbed there and stayed there for some time to get some rest. In didn’t want to continue, but at certain moment I packed my backpack and continued. I won’t give up so easily. I came to a village and I found a unopened bottle of water. I took it. It was useful.
Behind the village, desert started again. After some time, I found a ruin of quite a big farmhouse. I stayed there for four hours to protect myself against the sun. It was killing me. I ate some carrots and apples, unpacked my sleeping mat, learned some spanish and the felt asleep. I continued and found 2 empty luxury houses with beautiful view and swimming pool.
In one room acoustics was so beautiful that I stopped there and was singing for at least half an hour. Later I found a village from which I was able to see two windmills. I went towards them and I have realized I am already right next to town called La Oliva.
I went into local pub and asked for battery recharge. I was waiting outside and then I started to search for a place to sleep. I found some unfinished houses. Check-in instant, check-out flexible, private room and low price 🙂
I woke up with beautiful view at sacred mountain Tindaya – my next destination.
I was searching for the official way to the top, but then I just started climbing instead. Up there, there was beautiful scenery of Fuerteventura. I have been chilling on the top and then I had to go to the Tindaya village to get some water. Where is my bag strap? No! I went down the same way and fortunately I have found it on a place I was resting on earlier. In the village, I met a woman, who was trying to explain me how to get up to Tindaya, but I was unable to tell her that I have just came from there – my Spanish consisted of few words and phrases which were of no use – so I just thanked for her effort and continued. I bought 5 liter barrel and my backpack regained its original weight. This backpack is made for motorcycling and it serves as spine protection. It is made from durable plastic and when it is empty it weights about 2kg by itself. With the barrel, food and everything, it was pretty heavy. I stayed 1 hour in a small bus station to protect myself against sun. Tuna and cheese for lunch. I hated this cheese already. I bought 500g of it and with the sun it was more like a cream. I wasn’t able to sit just like that, so I started walking even with this sunshine. Desert again. I reached a cliff and I found 2 empty houses.
These were beautiful – right above the cliff with drawings inside. I went to the beach I saw from there and I found small pond of sweetwater! Great, I can wash my clothes now. I stayed on the beach for few moments playing with waves and then I started walking again.
I finally reached the place I was looking for – remains of a castle close to Puertito de Los Molinos. I found one “room” for me. This room has no roof, I can see the stars and I can try to imagine the magnificence and nearly-to-nothingness of our planet compared to space around us.
I woke up early, listening to the sounds of cliffs being splashed with waves, waiting for the sun to appear so that I can make a photo of my “room”. My clothes were still wet, but it was much better than the day before. In the night I realized that there are sunglasses in one pocket of my jacket that I was using as a pillow. It survived! Uff! I love these. Found it in our London restaurant La Casa Degli Amici. I was walking near the cliffs and I saw the strength of the ocean.
The sound that waves made while splashing cliffs sounded like little explosions. I have climbed down to see small water ponds created when there was a high tide. Incredibly clean water, fish and crabs. I continued through the desert. Sun was burning hard already, so I have found one hole in the middle of desert and waited for a while to catch my breath. Well, I have been waiting for much longer that moment – I just simply didn’t want to continue – I was exhausted.
I made it to close to the village I have seen from the desert and I found a small cave, unpacked my stuff and closed my eyes for 2 hours. After that I ate some tuna and cheese and I realized that my food supplies are almost depleted. Just one tuna and one sardine can left. Fish food doesn’t have much energy and there was not much of the water left in the barrel also. I decided to go west to Antigua to get more supplies. It should be about 20-25km from here. I searched the village I was in, but it was like a ghost town – luxury houses with no inhabitants and no shops. I was climbing up closeby hills, because I didn’t want to go on the road and I thought it is going to take less time. Well, It didn’t, but it after getting to the top, it felt great. I reached the cloud level in 2 hours and then I walked towards a house I saw from the top.
It took me a long time to get there and I realized that it is not that kind of house I could use for sleeping. It was a museum that was very close to the village called Betancuria – first village on the island established by Spanish in 1400.
This village was beautiful. There were also some trees and some vegetation. I also found a well, but as every river shown on the map, it was dry. While in Betancuria, I realized, I am sitting right next to the path to Antigua and that I may make it there till 22:00 – just before Hiperdino supermarket closes. It should be just 5km and in front of my eyes there were 4 ice-cream cones, that I would eat in a row. I need sugar! Before this idea of cones, I wasn’t particularly fast, but now I was nearly running to the top of the hill.
I was entering Antigua at 21:00 and in 15 minutes I found Superdino, that is smaller Hiperdino that closes at 21:00. Ou, no ice-cream 4 pack today. I was searching this town for another shop and I found 24/7 cafeteria/supermarket. I bought some sweet soda called Aquarius and single ice-cream. Yes, sugar! I was really enjoying it. I have started searching for some place where I can stay for the night. After quite a long time I found this ruin behind town, I built myself a bed from bricks and closed my eyes. There was a music coming from the town and It woke me up few times.
When I woke up, I was very happy, because I thought that this day I am going to sleep somewhere with shower and internet, I also thought that I am going to buy that 4 pack ice-cream and other supplies in Superdino. The biggest problem was, that it was sunday and in there, everything, except 24/7 was closed. I was hungry. I went to get some money from ATM and there were a lot of people standing around waiting for a bus to get them home from last night party. They looked tired and some of them were still in the party mood. I continued to this 24/7 called El Colmando. I went inside and was asking for wifi connection, but I received “No wifi” answer. She told me, with her hands, that I should go to the second street on the right. Universal language works 🙂 In there everything was closed. I asked local policeman, but he told me that there is no wifi around here – hands again. Nobody spoke english around here. I was a fool when I was thinking that learning just english is enough for travelling. For a while, I was searching for some open wifi with my tablet, but I didn’t find any. I went back to El Colmando, I bought some apples, bread and water and went to eat it outside. Some sunscreen sticked to my backpack while shopping and I didn’t know how to explain it, so I just left it on the table outside. While eating, some local man came and told me – in spanish obviously – that he saw me taking photos in Betancuria. For a few minutes we were “talking” about Betancuria and he invited me for a beer. Every energy is important for me now, I accepted 🙂 I also wanted this conversation to continue. Maybe I am going to get that wifi password. He knew nothing about english and kept talking quite fast in spanish. I also thought this wasn’t his first beer today (and I saw him in here yesterday). I was asking about water in here and he started telling me about water desalination process. I asked him what he does for a living and he told me “Yo vivo.” He was 61 years old, used to work as electromechanic and now he just lives 🙂 I was using offline dictionary in google translate for some important words so that the conversation has its basis. Most of the times, I didn’t understand, but I think I was somehow able to use universal language 🙂 I asked him about wifi. He went inside this 24/7 caffeteria and brought me the password. Sadly it didn’t work on my iPhone, later I have realized I should have also tried it on my android tablet, but by then I was already too far from there. We talked about my travelling around the island and it was already 11 am. I told him I have to go to make 30km today, we said bye to each other and my trip to Tuineje started. The sun was burning hard already, so I was doing some stops now and then. There was a house for sale with a nice shadow, in the next village there was some square with even better shadow, shadow behind touristic information table – sometimes everything changed and I started to see the whole reality in terms of shadows and lights.
I was walking along the road and I saw a little fire burning. I was thinking if it is intentional or not. I went to this house and knocked the door. Nothing. Knocked the window. Nothing. I put my bag aside and ran to the other side of the house where I saw the fire. In that moment, fire was already eating 3 paletts, rubber hose and some mess on the ground. Ground was in fire as well, because everything was very dry. I need to do this NOW! I grabbed the palett in the place where it wasn’t burning and pulled hard. More. MORE! Ouch! I burned my hand. PUSH! Now it worked. I dragged this palett away. Paletts were connected, so I needed to separate them. It was quite heavy. I managed to move it 3 meters away from the main fire. The ground started to burn as well. Second palett. Move. Separate. Move. Ouch. S*it, again. COME ON! Ok, now the palett is separated and burning on its own. Third one – same process. I found some stick with which I was able to separate burning mess on the ground. I was smashing the rubber hose to the ground until it stopped burning. Ok, solved. Now, everything was already quite far from the house. It still wasn’t safe though. I called 112 and in there was at least someone who spoke english. I described the situation, location and I told them my name. It took like 20 minutes for police and “bomberos” (firemen) to come, so during that time, I was trying to solve it on my own. When they arrived, everything was ok already. With my hands (no english as well), I showed them how I did it. I was waiting there for a moment and then I asked them if they need something else from me. They told they don’t, so I just packed my stuff and continued in walking. When I was leaving, this woman arrived. Owner of the house. She saw the police and firemen and she didn’t know what is going on in there. She looked terrified. I don’t know if she is going to pay for this intervention, but I needed to call them to be sure and also because I was operating on someone else’s property. I continued to Tuineje.
My hands burned me for a little while, but I found a beautiful place with water tap. First place like this! European union funded this place. Thank you EU. I washed myself and my clothes after 2 days. I saw this disoriented dog on the road. He was dehydrated. You could have seen his bones under his skin. He was running away from me and all those cars were just honking and nobody stopped. I felt sad about it. The dog dissapeared from my eyes and I was thinking about how evolution and selfish genes work.
Finally – Tuineje. This is where I am going to stay for few days. Shower. Internet. At least I thought so. No internet at gas station, at restaurant, everything was closed. This guy told me about this place behind palms. What? Sign said free internet. I connected to open network. Now I am saved. “Please use your user name and password.” AAAHHH! Ok, there are 2 guys sitting on a bench. We google-translate-talked about getting access. “It is sunday, everything is closed, you can’t get it.” I was walking around and scanning for open wifi networks. No success. Ok, no internet, no shower, no bed.
I found this little park with a lamp and started to learn spanish from a child book I found while walking. I need to learn spanish. I was naive to expect people to know english here. It would be the same in Czech republic if you would go to some village. I translated 10 pages and I was getting sleepy. I started searching for a place to sleep. I found a house in construction, I made a bed from wooden parts, inflated my sleeping mat and felt asleep in 5 minutes with stars above me.
I woke up at 7 AM and I have tried to sneak out from the house I was sleeping in. No success. One woman saw me, but she told me nothing. I went straight to local telecentre and I thought it is going to be opened. It should have been, but it wasn’t. I was waiting there till 10 AM, but nobody came. I went to buy 2 apples and I ate it at local square. So no internet again. Next stop is Gran Tarajal – there should be some library. It is about 15km far. I was walking through the desert and I drank 3 liters of water during 3 hours. I was listening to Coffee break spanish podcast and I learned few new phrases.
Gran Tarajal is one of the bigger towns in Fuerteventura. Port is not so big, but from here, you can take a ferry to Gran Canaria. Beach has dark sand and is used lot by tourists, there are plenty of bars and shops. And there it is Hiperdino. I ate the whole 4 pack of ice-cream without hesitation. I wasn’t able to move, so I stayed on bench in a park in front of Hiperdino for a while. After this, I started my search for library. A man in a pet shop told me, that there is no library in Gran Tarajal, the same told me a waitress on the street. I won’t give up. I need to find someone who speaks at least a little bit english. IT shop! Sadly this pretty girl didn’t speak english as well and she doesn’t know about library around. There was a man repairing some lights, he heard our english-spanish conversation and told me that there is a library close to the police station. Great! Thank you! Table with plugs and free wifi. Finally. Many messages was like: “Martin, your mother is looking for you. Call her.” I sent her a message before I left Corralejo that I am going to be without internet for a while…but you know mothers. I solved some problems on a project I was working on, called my sister, wrote some messages – time was running much faster while working with computer.
After all of this, I was tired and I was looking for a place to sleep. I found this house behind town and I was kind of scared. I knew that this house was used by some homeless people.
I didn’t know if I should stay there or not. I searched the house and found the most suitable place for me. I was waiting till midnight, so that I know that nobody comes. There was a car with 2 people and 2 dogs stopping close to the house, but they were not interested about the house. They just let the dogs out of the car for a while and stayed inside. Car was periodically moving from side to side for about 15 minutes and then they let them in again 🙂
I woke up and went straight to the library. I don’t even know what I was doing – it was time without movement while on internet. At 12 I went to buy some food and later I was reading some offline articles about traveling on my phone. I really want to make this digital nomad thing to happen. I like this idea so much. I went back to library, but it was closed – maintenance. What to do here? I decided to leave this town and to continue. Map showed me no walking path to Ginginámar, so I had to create my own.
After 30 minutes, I managed to climb the hill behind town and it took 30 more minutes to get down. It was tough. Originally, I thought I will find Ginginámar behind this hill, but I made a mistake. I found only some fisherman’s cottages. I’ve looked at the map and it showed me 3 more hills. There must be some other way I thought. I decided to go along the cliffs. At the beginning, it was fine – some slippery rocks and crabs. After some time, there was a cave and I needed to go into water. I was telling myself it is going to be fine – my bag was full of electronics and I would loose a lot of money – Macbook, DSLR, iPhone, tablet, chargers, powerbank, lights, … I was careful. Another cliff like this. I thought that this village is close, so I continued. Little bit of cliff climbing and walking in the sea being splashed with waves. I was wet up to my ass, bag was fine. I didn’t want to go back, it would take me too much time and I thought the village was pretty close. I am hanging on a cliff that is very slippery, 15kg on my back, no place for hands and rocks are crumbling. This was very dangerous, but at that moment I just simply didn’t realize – I was too focused on getting to the other side. My mind was somehow calm and I enjoyed this state. Well, I made it, but I was telling myself, that I am simply stupid. When I reached Ginginámar, I was so exhausted, that I have just put my bag off, went to the sea and lied on my back relaxing. I washed my dirty clothes and was about to get some backup water from a shower. A man living closeby was shouting at me and I knew what he means. “Yo no halo espanol, lo siento”. He started to speak english. He told me that this water is not for drinking and he offered me drinking water. I accepted, thanked him and continued. It was already getting dark, but I needed to continue to the next village. My shoes were wet, so I had to put my sandals on. For a while, moonshine was fine for me and I saw the path. Later I had to put headlight on and strange noised started to appear. Sometimes it was very close to me and I always looked in the direction the sound came from. Darkness around, walking in the rocky desert with living creatures with strange voices. I didn’t know what is there. Uaaahhh! The sound was very close and I reflexively turned my head. F**k! I kicked into a stone and blood appeared. Ok. First aid kit. Clean. Fix. Ok. This happened few more times and few more blood was spilled. After those cliffs, I will survive everything. I finally came close to the next village, but I didn’t want to be in the situation, when I am completely exhausted and looking for some empty house. I crashed on a beach close to the village and realized that my mat has a hole, so it can’t be inflated. Ok. No big deal. I was sleeping in 5 minutes. After 3 hours, wind woke me up. I was looking for some stones and I built a small wall around me so that I am protected against this wind.
I woke up and went straight to Tarajalejo. I bought 3 apples, 2 bananas, 1 cola and sparkling water. As soon as I filled my water barrel with, I realized that sparkling water was not a good choice. There is too much pressure from the inside and the barrel can explode in my bag – for sure I don’t want that. I was listening to Coffee break spanish podcasts and than I went to La Lajita and Canada Del Rio.
I was in a different world there. Southern part of island is like little in Germany. You can feel the “Ordnung” in here and there are mostly people from Germany walking naked on the beach.
I went to Spar and I bought ice-cream pack, chorizo and bread. I ate 2 ice-creams and I have regretted I have done that. I threw the other 2 away. I didn’t want to persuade someone it is ok and give them. I just threw it away. I needed some movement in this, otherwise it would still be the same and I would end up fat and ill. For a long time, I have was walking on a beach and I was making photos of some kitesurfers.
I saw this empty unfinished hotel and I found some mats on the best places where there was no wind and it was far from the hotel entrance. If I was a security guard then I would check those places first and that is why I was searching for more suitable random room. While I was searching, I realized that there is a car in front of the hotel. I switched my headlamp off and I was listening. There was some music playing from the car and I am sure it was security guard. It was not there when I came here. Car left after 10 minutes – now it was 11 PM and I just wanted to sleep. I prepared an escape plan across balconies, packed all my stuff and tried to sleep. I woke up at 1 AM after having a nightmare in which this security guard caught me. I realized that if he comes, it will be too late for me to notice and there is going to be a lot of troubles. I was about to leave the hotel, but I saw this car standing on the other side with lights dimmed. I had to use my escape plan otherwise he would be able to see me. I was jumping from one balcony to another and finally I have found a way out. I went to the beach, found a place with good protection against the wind and slept until morning.
I didn’t know if it was because of this turistic area, but I didn’t find things in there interresting. This place is all about getting money from people arriving here. People lying on the beach, running, talking, walking naked (I have never seen so many naked people on public place – mostly old German people). There was nothing much to do there for me. I was about to reach Morro Jable, then I Cofete beach and than maybe lighthouse called Faro de Jandia and then I was about to ride back to Gran Tarajal. I came to Morro Jable in few minutes. All those towns are interconnected and are creating something bigger. Germans were still everywhere. I found Morro Jable’s lighthouse and went there to sleep on a beach for a while. I was enjoying the water and at about 16:30, I showered myself and started my journey to Cofete beach.
It took me a long time. Wind was very strong and hills were beautiful. When I started descending, it was already getting dark and when I reached the beach, it was already completely dark. I saw only few lights about kilometer away from me, graveyard wall next to me and few lights from Cofete village.
I went to explore those lights and when I was coming closer, I realized that those are only few caravans parking in there. I was looking for a place to sleep and I was very tired, but I wanted to be on my own. I went to the village. Nobody in there, just lights and closed houses. After few alleys, I turned right and there were 10 people sitting around a table. I continued to search for some empty house/ruin to sleep in. There was nothing around. I was searching with my headlight on and there was just desert and cactuses. I walked 6 km down the road and there was a car getting closer. They saw me, stopped and asked if I need some help. “No, thank you.” They asked me for the second time, but I gave them the same answer. Well, to meet someone at 11PM in the middle of desert…. Next 3km and there was a crossroads. I had two choices – either to continue to the hills or going down to the beach – I knew that if I go to the beach, I would have to go back the next day, but I still went there because I was so tired that I was wondering how it is possible that my legs are still functioning. I was looking for a place to sleep for another hour. I saw some light, they moved, I went towards them, they went away from me. I went to the cliffs, but it was too hazardous, because I was not sure about if it was low tide or high tide and I could just get trapped there. I went back to the beach and found one place. Finally! I collected few rocks and built a wall around me. KO.
I wanted to quit! I woke and went towards the hilltops. Apparently, those lights I saw, were 2 people sleeping in a tent 200 meters next to me. I went to the hilltops and the wind was so strong, I wasn’t able to walk straight and it was just playing with me.
When I crossed the hills I decided to continue to Faro de Jandia – the southern part of Fuerteventura and my final destination.
I walked 11km to get there. Finally. 19km back to Morro Jable. Now I didn’t have to walk, I was able to hitchhike, because my travelling quest was completed. I tried many times without success and then this French couple going to Cofete stopped and took me to the crossroads. After 10 minutes walk, one woman stopped and my accent sounded similar to her. “Where are you from?” she asked. I am from Czech Republic. “My taky, nastup si” – we too, come in :D, It was very nice to talk in czech language after 14 days. They took me very close to Morro Jable and then I continued walking. This jeep appeared and stopped. “Hola senor, cerveza neccesita?” “Cerveza? Si! Muchas gracias.” Like that he knew I have a lot to celebrate.
It was not actually about travelling. It was about the courage to try what I can handle. I have accepted challenges and succeeded. Now I would like some shelter – safe place with shower and internet connection. Now I know that I can solve problems and that I can make than thesis work.