This is a guest post by Amy Trumpeter of www.globetrotterguru.com
My heart started pounding and I gripped Simon’s hand, possibly harder than usual. If I looked left out of the bus window, it looked as if there was no road available, just a sheer drop into the Masca Valley. The valley was full of lush olive trees and prickly pears, and eventually the valley snaked downwards towards the ocean. It became clear to me why Masca used to be an old pirates cove, before it was the peaceful village that it remains today.
There was road available either side of the bus, of course, but it just looked much worse than it was at a height. What was not available, I might add, was enough road for two vehicles to pass each other.
By waiting at the top of the winding chasm, this would give other cars and buses time to pass. This strategy also had the added advantage a pop up shop in boot of an old rusty red van. A smiling dark haired Spaniard offered me free nuts in a beautiful wicker bowl. It looked like he had pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts and figs or dates. ‘No gracias, por culpa mi aparato dental!’ I said to him. Basically, I can’t eat nuts with this damn brace face! Sorry Senor, they looked so tasty as well!
After stopping for some photography, we set off to make the descent down to Masca village itself. My Nikon had run out of battery and the SIM card was full. Lesson 1 in photography – always charge your battery! I guess I’m just a newbie. Thanks God for the back up iPhone!
The road below looked much clearer. Great, I thought to myself, the rest of the traffic will be gone now, and it will be a straight run down. How wrong could I be?!
Back on the bus, heading down slowly. Very slowly. Almost like 5 or 10 miles an hour. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure!
Then, along comes a white couch, driving towards us head on. This is just not gonna work.
I remember our tour guide explaining that we had the best driver – Fran. Maybe Frank? No, Frank sounds to English! At the time I thought nothing of it – surely a driver is a driver? I was about to find out why we did indeed have the best!
Fran immediately put the hand break on and got out of the bus. He approached the other bus and banged on the side of the other bus drivers window frantically. Before the other driver had chance to wind the window down, he was already shouting at him in Spanish. He looked so animated that I thought he should have been in a cartoon! Who knows what he said, but the other driver slowly backed up and we passed. Just about. Phew.
A brave guy on a bike squeezed through the narrow road between the coach and the cliff, followed by a silver ford focus. The wing mirror shaved the edge of the coach.
Then, round two of the bus standoff…a bold blue coach also full of tourists decides to take us on. Fran Parks up in the very centre of a hairpin bend. It seems like this is his usual protocol. He starts to get out of his drivers seat and approach the coach. This time, his shouting gets louder. His arms are flailing all around as he shouts, a little bit like a Spanish version of Basil Fawlty. Clearly experienced, he ‘shoos’ the other driver further and further back round the bend shouting ‘Pequeno, pequeno!’ A little bit more!
I started to snigger to myself and snap pics on my iPhone. It was clear who was in charge on these roads! It wasn’t this hairy on the Atlas Mountains of Morocco! What on earth did the rest of the coach think? I turned around and saw that they all found it as funny as me – in fact, the whole bus was cracking up. We clearly did have the best driver in Tenerife!
We walked towards the Masca chapel in the main square, a secluded area surrounded by palm trees where we were greeted by a classical Spanish guitarist. Masa village is a place where there are rustic Spanish tiles on the houses, traditional fencing, and where the sangria is made fresh in front of you. The crazy winding journey and the bus standoff were more than worth it.
We went into a restaurant and were directed to the toilets and the bar in Spanish. The views across the valley were phenomenal. Masca truly is an untouched and unmissable part of the island. To other the travel bloggers on Facebook who said that Tenerife is shit….you obviously never went to Masca.
By Amy Trumpeter of www.globetrotterguru.com