Wow, we have landed in El Hierro and we will stay here for three months. It is the smallest of the Canary Islands located outside the coast of North Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. In the old days, it was considered to be the end of the world, and it’s easy to understand why. I must confess I have never been to a very isolated and wild place, but I immediately fell in love with the dramatic lava formations standing against angry waves.
While the four largest islands (Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura) are packed with mass tourism, the three smallest and remotest ones (La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro) mostly attract eco-tourists, walkers and hikers who want peace and solitude. La Palma and La Gomera are more populated and accessible, but there are not so many tourists visiting El Hierro. Most of them come in the summer.
El Hierro is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the island is a front runner when it comes to renewable energy. Five wind turbines produce electricity for the 11,000 residents and the excess power is used to pump seawater up to a volcano crater. When the wind stops blowing, the water is sent down to a lower water reservoir through water turbines creating electricity and when the wind starts to blow again, the water returns to the upper reservoir. It is a clever solution and a great example to follow. Some visionaries here have done a great job. There is interest in the technology from several places in the world. My dream is that this idea will also reach the Philippines. We have both wind and volcano craters and electricity is really scarce and often produced by coal.
We have been to El Hierro for a week and I already love the place. We have rented a flat in El Tamaduste, a small coastal community near the airport that handles a few propeller flights a day. The first thing we did was to rent a car for a week to explore the island. The roads are good, but some of them are very, very scary. Climbing up over one thousand meters on the first gear on a narrow, extremely steep, curvy road on the edge of deep unsecured abysses made me feel close to panic…. from 21ºC to 10ºC through mist and rain, and suddenly sunshine again with fruit trees in blossom on green and arable areas… I prayed intensely for our safety, but I have never seen such fantastic scenery. Here are some photos from our first week. Enjoy!