The Island of the End of the World

A dream island for lovers of the nature in which it is impossible not to live thousands of emotions.

La isla de El Hierro es una de las grandes desconocidas de Canarias

Rodolfo set his feet on the soil of the island with some elegance (inherent in his personality), and peeped with disillusionment a large group of journalists who were waiting for him, «I wanted to have a quiet trip,» he thought. Obviously, he was not the first (nor the last) time that this happened, his fame had increased exponentially since his desire to find an island to build a fantastic building, he publish this in a famous magazine and is almost impossible to reach an island without that hordes of communications professionals are waiting for he. Sometimes, he wondered how they were able to guess where he was going, however, sometimes he enjoy the warm welcome that always the means provide for he.

El paraíso natural de El Hierro en Canarias
The natural paradise of El Hierro in the Canary Islands

However, this moment was not the conducive for companions, thus he made them know the gathered journalists, and, very kindly they attended the requirements of Rodolfo, member of an ancient family like no other. When he is alone, he observed nearby, was on the island of El Hierro, famous for being, for centuries, the island of the Meridian zero, from Ptolemy utilized it in the century II until it moved to Greenwich in the 19th century, in fact, until the discovery of America, was considered the end of the world.

The first visit on the island was clearly motivated by this fact. He went to the municipality of el Pinar, specifically, to the monument of the Meridian zero, there, in front of the block of concrete with a perforated circumference of which emerges a orb of metal, knelt and whispered with a tremor in the voice: «someday will return to be a world reference», excited, Rodolfo admire again as these two materials are superbly complemented : concrete and steel, seem to have been born to merge one into the other, the concrete will act as element of protection and opposition to the forces of contraction and the steel will act as a skeleton of union and reaction to the pulling forces.

Faro de Orchilla. Foto: Marcus Stöckl
Faro de Orchilla. (Photo: Marcus Stöckl)

He approached the Orchilla lighthouse (after), a few meters from the monument, this lighthouse stands at the location of the imaginary line of the famous Meridian and is a building that gives shape to the landscape, breaking the fine point of the horizon with its slender figure. The construction was completed in the year 1930, and is made of stone of Arucas, coming from another island of the archipelago (Gran Canaria), a basalt stone of world famous due to its characteristic blue colour. The basaltic rocks are of volcanic nature, in other words, come from the cooling of magma either on the inside of the Earth’s crust (to shallow depth) or of the outcrop to the surface (lava).

The lighthouse is located at 132 meters above the sea level, although the building measure less, obviously, just 25 meters has the tower which, with octagonal shape, becomes the most important civil building of the island. The building is composed of three main constructions: the cistern, the flashlight and the lighthouse keeper’s House. Rodolfo could almost feel the excitement of the operators responsible of the construction, first of the stonemasons aruquenses that gave shape to the stone, after of the sailors who moved the ashlars (stones carved with form parallelepiped and with an important volume and weight), later, guides who took the rocks on camels to Orchilla and, finally, the master masons who placed the stones in its final home.

El balneario que te llenará el alma de emociones
Spa Pozo de la Salud. Book here

The tide of emotions that furrowed our protagonist’s mind was beginning to have epic proportions, was time to relax, nothing better than a spa, luckily had one very close, in the village of Sabinosa, located in the municipality of La Frontera. The resort Pozo de la Salud has a curious history, over centuries the drought forced to many islanders to travel from one end to another of the island, looking water for themselves and their animals. At the beginning of the 18th century they drilled where today lies the Spa, discovering a well of salt water, they realized that who drink the liquid element have a health noticeably better than the rest.

Rodolfo not hosted in one of its 18 rooms, did not have time to lose, but he enjoyed a relaxing swim in the pool. Kindly they taught the complex and he could see with his eyes the famous medicinal and curative waters of the well, they explained that they are especially recommended in rheumatic, dermatological treatments and stress. The hotel also offers a medical control specialized on different fronts: massages, vapours, muds, sludgy, osteopathy, hydroponic treatments and laser. Recovered and comforted (and with a quesadilla in the hand) said goodbye to the staff of the hotel with the promise that would enjoy of its waters, declared by the Spanish Government of public utility in 1949.

Un hotel para soñar en El Hierro. Foto: Patrick Keenan
A dream hotel in El Hierro. (Photo: Patrick Keenan)

He was agreed then of the record guines that is located in this municipality, the smallest hotel in the world, the Hotel Punta Grande, with the whopping of four rooms. At the beginning of the 19th century began the construction on this singular jetty, with the completion of housing (in 1884), begins the stock of products for the export: wine, fruit, or water of the Pozo de la Salud. It was not until the years 1920 and 1930 when living its golden age with a busy traffic of products of the building (such as the Marseille tile or the cement) and food. But the creation of a new road linking Frontera and Valverde relegates to background the jetty, leaving, over time, its activity.

Las vistas de la isla son una auténtica maravilla para los sentidos
The views of the island are a marvel for the senses

It is in 1975 when is sought the authorization to rehabilitate the house with a new use: a hotel. They hired the architect José Luis Jiménez Saavedra, who was later Professor of the school of architecture of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, he used natural materials taken from the surroundings (such as woods and rocks) to rebuild the exterior and interior of the building. Rodolfo fell in love of the stair balusters, designed by Néstor de la Torre, also liked the detail of to retrieve the plates of vehicles of the boats for the decoration of the Hotel’s restaurant.

Pensive, he posed his hands around the outside of the walls of volcanic stone, there is a mixture of feelings with the fingertips touching the irregular and drilled surface of a volcanic rock. The pores remember the violent birth of this stone, the abrupt cooling to which it was subjected introduced air bubbles occluded inside, also giving rise to another natural effect: the possibility of inhabiting its surface by other living species as the lichens.

Mirador de La Peña en El Hierro
Mirador de La Peña en El Hierro

It was getting late, his stay on the island neared its end, but didn’t leave the site without visiting a place that both appointed his father, the Mirador de la Peña in Valverde (capital of the island), a construction designed by someone who Rodolfo had in high esteem even without having known him: César Manrique. The masterful use of stone and wood marks this building of two floors with a purely Canarian style. Admiring the beautiful views of 700 metres high, saying goodbye in silently of the island (up to his return, of course) and after a hearty meal at the mirador restaurant, had the feeling that, of course, would be a good place where to construct a magnificent building.

Disclosure: The characters that appear in this article, their different personalities and their relationships with each other and with the environment are part of a fiction. The author is not responsible for the views expressed in the article and has no business relationship with any of the companies listed on it.

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