Two views dominate the skyline of Abades in the municipality of Arico; at the top, across the TF1 motorway, the wind turbines hint at a high tech future for this overlooked part of the east coast of Tenerife. Lower down the bare stone block frame of the old church harks back to bleaker times. But rummage deeper in this mixed bag and you will be rewarded with a selection of beaches worth claiming as your own retreat, and a craggy landscape carved out by nature.
There you go I managed to get this far without morbid talk of the former leper colony built in the early 1940’s and wild speculation that as a consequence the area must be haunted. I found a small but lively community that has evolved very nicely to create a special place to co exist with nature. All this just 30 minutes from the big southern resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas.
As a football fan, Abades will always mark the birthplace of Pedro Rodriguez of Barcelona and Spain. He returns regularly and must find its serenity very reassuring. I explored from the motorway turn off (km 42), just north of Granadilla, I could tell straight away why the wind turbines had been placed at this point. Some 20 years ago there were short lived plans to open up Abades for more development, the access road has little to serve but is still marked out for disabled parking and has benches at regular points. I moved onto the rough terrain down to the first small beach cove, just above a rock perched like an exclamation mark over two old caves used as store rooms.
Heading along the undulating coast I got a clear view of the white walled, two tier houses that make up the heart of Abades. All are trimmed with dark green and topped with pink roof tiles, very neat and attractive. A small shelter of fishing boats gave way to the biggest beach, a glorious crescent of light shingle and sand. Behind this a cluster of shops, bars and restaurants bordered a gleaming white plaza, what a smashing place to rest and eat as scuba divers marched down to the gentle waves.
Pushing on there were smaller rocky beaches, tell Aunt Agatha to avert her eyes from the nude sun worshippers, even if they are shielded from the breeze by horseshoe shaped shallow rock piles. Marching up the hill behind, the abandoned leper colony struck me as a beacon of hope with its need now defeated by science. Some of the lower buildings showed signs of recent squatters and the red house used by the Association of Friends of Lourdes showed that kindness and compassion live on in this area.
My eyes now had a new beacon to follow, the lighthouse, Faro de Punta Abona standing proud on a distant cliff. My feet were grateful to the marked tracks up over the banks and I was soon standing below the candy striped 1978 guardian next to the small squat original from 1902. It was very like the set-up at Malpais de Rasca near Las Galletas, all automated now but still attractive to farologists who like to “bag” lighthouses on their travels.
My exploring had taken a couple of hours and brought me to the modern road out through Poris de Abona to connect with the motorway again. When I hear Abades mentioned in future, I wont be thinking of a sad past, my thoughts will be of the beauty and charms of the present.
Category : days out
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