Month: April 2022

A Day Trip to the Stunning Hills of San Bartolome de Tirajana

A Day Trip to the Stunning Hills of San Bartolome de Tirajana

From our little town of Playa Del Cura, we headed North to Maspalomas which is where we would turn off to go to San Bartolome de Tirajana.

Driving through Maspolomas, however, we spotted a market and couldn’t resist stopping.

Not much there really except lots of leather goods, clothes and some African carvings. Michael needed to buy some shorts which is how we met Eduardo.

maspolomas market eduardo

Eduardo was very charming and we couldn’t help but like him. He would have made a fortune as a used car salesman in Canada. 🤣 He picked out a few pairs of shorts and shirts for Michael, getting his size correct just by looking at him, all the while complimenting me for being a good wife to feed him so well. 😂

There wasn’t really anywhere to try anything on, so the charming and likeable Eduardo had him put the shorts on over his jeans.

maspolomas market mike

Not only was this very amusing, but it had the desired effect and we bought two pairs of shorts and two shirts.

Back on track, we headed up into the hills of San Bartolome de Tirajana.

hills

On the way, we passed aloe fields

aloe fields

and the aloe shop where you can buy everything related to aloe vera.

About 30 minutes later, we came to our first viewpoint.

viewpoint

which affords us beautiful sweeping views of the Barranco de Fataga (Fataga Ravine)

viewpoint 1

and also happens to be an excellent place for stargazing.

We make a note to come back here at night. Continuing on, we pass the Camel Safari Park

before coming to the town of Fataga, also known as The Valley of a Thousand Palms.

fataga

About 2000 years ago, Gran Canaria was home to the Guanche natives. The conquest of the island by the Castilles started in 1478 and ended on 1483 when Guayarmina Semidán, the queen of Gran Canaria, surrendered. At the turn of the 16th century, in and around the ravines of Fataga, then known as Adfatagad, many of the final battles between the Guanches and the Spaniards took place.

The 19th century Fataga was not only a place of enthralling beauty, but it was also a rich agricultural and farming land. A prosperous, self-sufficient farming village for around 650 dwellers, it owed its success to the water source known as “El Cercado de Fataga” (The Orchard of Fataga) or “Fuente Grande” (Great Spring). Although still abundant with resources, its population has since declined.

The first building we see on the way in is this one with a tuba and clock in its front garden.

fataga trombone house

We stop in this quaint little town so we can walk around.

fataga street

Most places are closed as it seems we’ve arrived during siesta, but there were a few places open – a small restaurant and a couple of shops that sold beautiful jewelry, bags and clothes made by local artists.

fataga shop artists
fataga sunshine street
booking 2

We come across this beautiful church called San Jose Church. San Jose dates back to 1880 and is dedicated to its namesake. It has a simple design that matches the old Canarian houses perfectly, and the massive wooden door showcases its antiquity.

Full grown Laurel trees surrounding the plaza only makes it more spectacular.

fataga church courtyard

I’m guessing this is a statue of San Jose

fataga church statue

We take a walk through the streets of Fataga in between the whitewashed houses.

fataga street4

Believe it or not, these streets are what the locals drive on. They look more like walkways than roads, but it seems to be normal for most of the rural towns. Yikes!

fataga tiny street2

Most of these streets are uphill, so if you get tired, you can rest on this concrete bench

fataga tiny street bench

and get a drink of water from this tap

Going back down the hill, we come across this beautiful bougainvillia

fataga tiny street bougainvillia

Back in the car, we leave lovely Fataga behind. Some of these roads are not for the faint-hearted!

fataga leaving 1

We continue our journey to San Bartolome de Tirajana where we’re hoping to find a winery.

San Bartomole de Tirajana is situated on the slopes of an enormous, extinct volcano, and is almost 900 metres above sea level. Often you can hear the word ‘Tunte,’ which is what the locals often call this village because it was built over the ruins of the original pre-hispanic settlement called Tunte. Proudly, the local inhabitants could also say that their region was actually the last conquested place of Gran Canaria.

san bartolome tunte sign

In the historical centre, we found a beautiful church of San Bartolome

This was originally build in the first third of the 16th century, and then significantly reconstructed at the end of the 17th century

san bartolome church red cross

Inside, there are several religious images

including one of Santiago el Chico (Santiago the Lessor), thanks to whom the village became a centre of the Jacobite Pilgrims

san bartolome church inside4

We see a sign pointing to the winery, but can find no actual winery.

san bartolome wine tasting sign

So we head out of town to Santa Lucia de Tirajana

san bartolome castle

By this time, we’re feeling a little hungry and a few minutes later we come across this restaurant perched on the top of a hill

mirador restaurant

We go in and order beer and wine

and this delicious mixed salad which was under ‘appetizers’ on the menu, but is clearly a meal in itself.

mirador restaurant salad

Everything is freshly made and the olives here are to die for.

The view from our table is spectacular.

mirador restaurant view2 2

Fed and watered, we continue on to Santa Lucia where, Google tells us, is another winery. But, once again, we can find no trace of it, so we just wander around for a bit before heading home.

The first chapel in Santa Lucía was built in honour of Santa Lucía in the second half of the sixteenth century. In 1761, as the chapel was not well preserved, the inhabitants decided to knock it down and build another one in the same place but on a different plot of land. The second chapel was blessed in 1761, although it did not survive long due to its poor state of preservation. It was finally demolished and in 1788 the image of Santa Lucía was transferred to the chancel of a new chapel, although this third chapel suffered the same fate as the two previous ones. Then in 1905, the church Iglesia de Santa Lucia was built right in the town square, on a rise, replacing the third chapel.

We decide to do some more research into the location of the wineries, and come back tomorrow.