Another of our traditions is to walk in the opposite direction every Sunday. Let me explain what I mean. Our apartment in Fañabe is more or less central between Playa and La Caleta. Most times we leave the entrance and turn left, heading towards the bars, restaurants and shops which line the Geranium Walk almost continuously all the way to Los Christianos. When we are feeling fit or adventurous we will walk that whole distance of around eight kilometres and, if really, supremely fit, we will walk back again.
Sundays are different. We turn right instead of left and walk the beach path to La Caleta. The route is nowhere near as interesting, sea is sea and the black beaches are distinctive but once you have seen them a few times the attraction tends to pall. The path is a haven for wildlife, particularly tiny lizards on the beach stones either side of the barranco. A few years ago this barranco flooded and the massive onrush of water from the mountains surged into the sea carrying with it the bridge and a lot of other debris. Until this year the barranco needed to be crossed by following the dry bed of the stream scrambling over the pebbles and the coarse grass.
This year, a new bridge has been erected a few dozen yards upstream. The sturdy bridge carries thousands of tourists daily but a large proportion seldom go past the bridgehead and return to the attractions of Playa Del Duque and beyond. Something special meets the traveller who ventures further. The rocky shore is littered with cairns built by almost everyone who passes. The spot is a favourite for photographers and on a busy day you almost have to stand in line to get a good photo.
Is this the reason we head towards La Caleta each Sunday? No. When we first started walking into La Caleta, some twenty years ago, there were a handful of fish restaurants along a spur of beach and, apart from a gaggle of small residential bungalows that was it. As time went by new houses and resorts began to crab up the hillside and more shops and restaurants opened up to cater for that increased trade. Now the hillside is dominated by a massive tourist resort complex blindingly white against the dark volcanic rock. Rumoured to be Russian built and owned, it is a depressingly ugly building in many people’s eyes.
This clearly is not what attracts us each Sunday. Could it be one of the local fish restaurants serving fish freshly caught less than a mile away? Getting closer. It is a restaurant but not specifically a fish restaurant. About ten years ago some entrepreneur opened up a stylish Italian restaurant with a superb view out to the sea. Called ‘Rosso sul Mare’, it is in great demand especially on a Sunday when booking is highly recommended. The food is astonishingly good, slightly nouvelle cuisine but slightly unusual. The service is exceptional and you realise that you have become accepted if they reserve a table at the front with the best view.
On this occasion we had a starter of bruschetta slices topped with tomatoes and garnished with either anchovies or Palermo ham or mozzarella cheese. We were almost full after our starters. For a main course I chose a salmon filet encrusted with herbs together with sautéed potatoes dressed with fresh rosemary. MBH went with chicken supreme stuffed with olives in a pepper sauce.
How do you walk home after that? Carefully! The memory lingers on and we have already booked for next Sunday.