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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Trekking to the Holy Shrine at Candelaria

Everybody is talking about trekking during this week-end. There is a fiesta this week end called ´Dia de Candelaria´ when pilgrims all over Tenerife walk or trek to a shrine of Virgin Mary at Candelaria. It is a long walk and you see them making groups and heading towards the church which is closer to Santacruz and North airport. While most of the pilgrim leave from Santa Cruz t at 12 midnight and reach the shrine during the early hours of the morning, here in Icod de Los Vinos, pilgrims begin their journey one or two days earlier. I met the group of 15, who left at 3pm from Icod de Los Vinos. They looked cheerful with haversack containing food and drinks, torch and a walking stick for a journey of 70 kms which would take them about 15 hours to reach. I have neither strength nor stamina to walk with them, so I followed them for a while and then retreated my steps as I saw them disappear into the woods. The trek is through the steep beaten path of hills, trees and shrubs. There are path-signs at regular interval directing the proper route to follow. There is one point on the route which is the meeting point where different groups from different parts of the island meet. This point offers the beautiful panoramic view of the island. It is the resting place and they share their eats and drinks and let their hair down. In between their journey of beaten path, they cut through concrete roads, where there is traffic and if somebody is too tired to walk, he can continue his journey in the car that may be driven by one of their friends. The last five hours of the trek are quite difficult and the route is going downhill, climbing down the huge rocks. At the end of the journey, they are breathless, tired and silent, they offer their prayers at the secret shrine and are back home to sleep for next 24 hours brushing away the pains from their tired limbs.

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