Ruta Cruz del Siglo, La Aldea de San Nicolás' Century Cross Route

Do you want to enjoy excellent views of La Aldea de San Nicolás? The beauty of this trek is that it's as easy on your feet as it's on the eye. And probably one of the best all-year-round hikes as because it's so short, it's doable even in the heights of summer.

Ruta Cruz del Siglo: getting there

There are two ways to reach La Aldea de San Nicolás: by the north or the south. If you're heading from the north by bus, take Global's 101 from Gáldar. For those travelling from the south by bus, you'll want Global's 38 which departs from Puerto de Mogán.

However, I was staying in the area. After tackling the Ruta de las Presas the day before and having pencilled in a trek to Andén Verde the following day, I was after a bit of a breather. And I got it by following the feet-friendly Ruta Cruz de Siglo.

Ruta Cruz del Siglo: the start 

You'll start this hike in the municipal capital, 63 metres above sea level, in Calle Real. The ascent, however, begins in the agricultural hamlet of Castañeta. Where you'll soon see three crosses pictured above on Peñón Rajao (Cracked Rock).

This descansadero de muertos (resting place of the dead) marks the spot where locals used to break their journey when carrying dead bodies on their way to an autopsy. As well as a photo opportunity, it gives you chance to catch your breath before the path continues upwards. Through the Barranquillo de Castañeta.

Ruta Cruz del Siglo: the view

After walking for 2.7km, around an hour and a quarter if you're going at a steady pace, you'll reach the summit. 190 metres above sea level, you'll be able to survey La Aldea de San Nicolás below. And, taking advantage of the solitude, enjoy a sneaky siesta as I did.

La Cruz del Siglo, The Century Cross

You'll see two crosses when you reach the top. The one on your right is the original Cruz de Siglo, from which the route takes its name. Fashioned from tea (the wood not the drink), this cross dates back to 1901.

The pope at the time of its immaculate conception was Pope Leo XII (1810-1903) who served as pontiff from 1878 until his death. He decreed that a cross should be erected on the highest summit to enable the locals to become closer to God. And so Las Tabladas, with its view over the municipal capital, was selected.

La Cruz del Milenio, The Millennial Cross

Every May, the locals would adorn the cross with flowers during festivities. And it was in May 2001 that the second cross was unveiled. Its name relates to the fact that it marked the beginning of a new millennium. Metallic in structure, 400 inhabitants from La Aldea de San Nicolás attended its opening ceremony which was lead by the local mayor along with the parish priest, Don Manuel Reyes Brito.

Looking back at Las Cruces

Returning from whence you came, your downward journey will again take you a little over an hour. You might well be descending, but you'll have to slow down in order not to lose your footing. And if you look up in Calle Real, you'll see something that you probably won't have spotted before: the two crosses standing proudly on their hillside.

 

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