Although the village of Tejeda is the second smallest on the island, it is famous for the nearby Cruz de Tejeda which is a carved stone cross that marks the top of a pass (at 1580m) and the centre of the island of Gran Canaria. At weekends this is a popular spot with locals and the spa and area around the cross must bustle. But we visited early in the week and it was comparatively quiet. You go for the views as much as anything and although the man offering donkey rides was quiet I am sure he is busy at weekends.
Looking west across the island there are dramatic views.
And you can even see Tenerife quite clearly on a good day.
There are several bars and it was nice to do the tourist thing, for a change, and just sit and people-watch and eat something ‘local’. Gofio is the food you have to eat in the Canaries, along with potatoes boiled in seawater, but Gofio is rather vague. It is just ground, toasted corn (I have never quite worked out if it is wheat or maize) and although it is added to everything from biscuits to ice cream I had eaten it most often just made into a thick paste – surely just subsistence food!
So, and I have never taken a photo of a meal before, here is gofio, cooked with ?? – I have no idea – and made into a sort of veggie stew, eaten with onion petals. Not the tastiest thing I have ever eaten but it was OK – herby and with a few, lurking dried chillies, and I am sure it must be healthy – it tasted as though it was. (there is fried cheese and jam in the background)
There are lots of walks from here and one easy one started between the bars on the road opposite the cross itself. I found it by accident and we continued up and up, to reveal amazing views. Climbing a spur, the clouds swept across the pass below us.
Following the path till it started to descend we found ourselves in the clouds and decided to turn back.
Looking northwest the vegetation was largely grass and there were some interesting plants. This is dodder (cuscuta species – I can’t say which one as there were no flowers). Dodder is related to convolvulus, though now in its own family, and is a parasite. The seeds germinate in the soil and the leafless stems whirl about looking for a host plant. When it finds one it invades the host plant and the meagre roots wither away. The dodder forms a web over the host and has small ‘balls’ of pink or white flowers. There are native dodders in the UK too.
I have been unable to identify this convolvulus but it was a beauty.
But this is Salix canariensis, a plant that is endangered but quite abundant in moist areas, alive with the buzz of bees when in full flower.
Of course, the real show made by trees was the almonds – of which more tomorrow.