The Castillo, a welcome addition to any town...except Vallehermoso

The Castillo, a welcome addition to any town...except Vallehermoso

It was with real sadness that I read on Colin Kirby’s blog about the demise of the Castillo del Mar on La Gomera. Closed, according to local sources, “due to council objections to their commercial operation.”
I was lucky enough to visit the Castillo a couple of times. It was quite a unique place; not a castle at all, but a beautifully restored loading bay and part of La Gomera and the municipality of Vallehermoso’s heritage.

Not that the local authorities had any interest in that fact that it was an important part of their history. I interviewed the owner, Thomas Müller, for Living Tenerife a few years ago and his vision was to restore the Castillo into something that locals could be proud of and attract more visitors to the area in the process; apparently not a vision shared by the local council bigwigs. The project was in danger of being scuppered before it got off the ground; amongst other officially placed hurdles, council workers were using the building, despite it being owned by someone else, as a source of building materials for other jobs.

Despite the lack of support (something of an understatement), the restoration of the Castillo was completed. Its presence added a unique feature to aptly named Vallehermoso and at night when it was lit up it looked like a magical vision from Arthurian legend. But, as has happened too often in the past, what’s good for a town and what pleases the local powers-that-be don’t always necessarily match.

I’ve heard a number of stories about odd decisions coming out of Vallehermoso’s ‘corridors of power’, or should that be ‘terraces of tattle’, but they’re hearsay so whether they’re true or not is debatable. After reading about the Castillo having to close I know where my money lies.

I’ve said time and time again how friendly and welcoming we’ve found Canarians to be over the years. However there can be an element of insularity and protectionism when it comes to business and listening to advice from non-Canarians, something we comment upon in our book ‘Going Native in Tenerife’.

It seems almost unbelievable that people with a vested interested in supporting initiatives which would promote their town in a positive manner would quite happily shoot themselves in the foot. Then again, all those Gomeran jokes must have their roots somewhere.


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