The capital of La Gomera, San Sebastián is home to around 30% of the island’s population. As our ferry wasn’t scheduled to leave for Tenerife until the late afternoon, we had an entire day to explore the town.
Before you get the wrong idea, I should clarify — San Sebastián might be by far the biggest town on the island, but with a population of just over 8000 people, it’s hardly a city. A single afternoon was more than enough time for a comprehensive visit, especially on a Sunday, when nearly everything was closed.
Unfortunately, the Sunday closures included the one sight I’d really wanted to check out: the Columbus House. La Gomera was the final port of call for Christopher Columbus in 1492, before his initial voyage to the New World, and the house in which he stayed has been preserved as a small museum.
San Sebastián has a history as old as the Spanish occupation of the island in the late 1400s, and actually older, since it had been settled by the aboriginal Guanches. In the sea-facing park near the city hall, we found the weather-beaten Torre del Conde, built in the 15th century. Nearby, there’s also the yellow customs house, or Aduana, which dates from the 16th century.
With everything closed, we were quickly finished with our tour of town, and directed our attention to the Parador Nacional up on a bluff to the north of town. Paradores are government-run hotels, known for their quality and stunning locations. We sauntered in, talking loudly in English and hoping our foreignness would let us pass as guests. And it worked… or more probably, the concierge didn’t care if we checked out the grounds. The place was amazing, with a perfect view over San Sebastián, a massive garden, and a pool overlooking the Atlantic.
Heading back into town, we turned our attention to the beach… we weren’t about to get into the water, but couldn’t think of a better place to spend our final hour on La Gomera. And soon enough, it was time to head over to the ferry — Tenerife was large on the horizon, and we couldn’t wait to get over to our real For 91 Days home.