For those who spare to have a day off from the beach while in Gran Canaria, el Roque Nublo (Rock in the clouds) is one thrilling sight to visit. This most famous landmark of Gran Canaria is merely about 40 km from Maspalomas, yet, being over 1’800 meters high, it is a rather tricky sight to visit.
By what I remember from the previous visit, we were taken to the area on bus, but were not allowed to hike to the rock, since it was hidden in thick clouds — I wonder what else could You expect from a landmark that is named ‘Rock in the clouds’. Another thing that I remember from the previous trip was the insane mountain road. Those, who dared to look out of the bus window, were either screaming the whole road or trying hard not to throw up.
This time I was eager to try to conquer the insane road myself with my flat ground driving skills so we rented a car for a day when there were suppose to be thunderstorms. In theory I was aware that the insanely curvy and steep road along the sides of the mountains was wide enough for two tourist buses to pass each other, but when driving the road myself on a small car, even when a bicycle was trying to pass my car I felt as if one of us had to drive off the cliff to make enough space for the other one to pass. And the speed limit of 90 km/h on those roads, ..they have to be freaking kidding with it!!! The few moments when I dared to speed up to anything above 30 km/h and maybe even used the third gear, I felt I was about to either faint or soil the seat beneath. I suppose we did have a radio, but not sure whether the guys could really hear it while I kept mumbling and maybe even screaming ‘oh, God, ..ohh, God!!! ..oh, God..’ while clenching the steering wheel throughout the drive.
For whatever reason some institution or person really did not want the rock to be found. I tried to follow the tourist signs leading towards Roque Nublo, but at some point, while having a look at the mirror I noticed signs that I passed were leading towards the rock too, so obviously I had missed the turn. Did I already mention that the road was way too narrow to fit the car, ..so it took a while before I figured out how to get the car turned around. As turned out, the sign at the correct turn was covered up, so no wonder I missed it.
Relieved to get out of the car we headed on hiking into the clouds to find the 80 m high volcanic rock. As much as we could see around on the way up in between the clouds, the view was breathtaking, as was the low oxygen level at such altitude. But a flat-lander like me is very easy to amuse — four of those rocks on top of each other would already beat the height of the highest ‘mountain’ in Estonia.
Because of the amazing view and extreme case of vertigo and fear of slipping and splashing myself over all the rocks below I kept on mumbling my mantra of the day: “Oh, God.. Oh, God..”, while also telling myself “please don’t faint, oh please don’t faint”.
I was trying to find statistics on how many of the few thousand people who visit the rock every year have to be scraped off from the rocks below, but failed to find anything about it.
In time the clouds cleared up a bit giving us even better perception of the height we were at. Despite my continuous fear, I really loved it all up there.
When driving back from the mountains it already got dark, so it was yet another extreme experience for me. I was hoping that in night time the traffic would slow down but in fact it was only me who was slow and blocking up the whole road while the locals were trying to pass us in their casual suicidal 90+ km/h speed.
Photos were taken on November 8th, 2012, on the way to and around the area of the Roque Nublo in Gran Canaria (map).