Sunshine, palm trees and black sand

Dusk. Lights appearing gradually between palm trees and next to narrow, winding roads. Little coloured houses hiding in the mountain chains. This island is enveloped in subtle ash: La Palma.

The harbour is long and meagre. Just a few little plants in concrete beds adorned the pier. But as our crew gave us a few hours to discover the heart of La Palma, we got to know its beauty. Black sand, wide beaches and the clear blue water of the ocean. As I dipped into the warm salty water, I kind of felt freedom – the ocean seemed to be boundless. It never changed for anyone. Whether you loved or hated it. As I took a few swimming strokes I had the feeling I arrived. Arrived in that moment. Arrived at this project. Arrived in the here and now with all the 49 other people I had got to know better in the last four weeks. It was the first time after a long period of time that we had solid ground under our feet not only a short period of time.

In the next few days we would hike through mountains, see active volcano, sit together in the dusk until we could see the stars and would discover the uniqueness of this island with our bagpack. As we walked up to the bus station in the earliness of the next morning, we were all excited for the next 3 days and what would expect us. After 3 hours of driving over mountains and through impressive landscape, we arrived at our hostel. Our evening was filled with cooking and after we weren’t hungry anymore, we sat on the roof terrace with a wonderful view of the ocean and a perfect sunset until we nearly fell asleep. At 7 AM my alarm clock rang – the night ended too fast and came too early. But as our guides told us about the plan for the day, we were all awake and started to set off soon: hiking around pine woods, through little villages, up to a small museum and on our way back through valleys and tiny jungles laying in ravines. As we were walking through the nothingness of endless mountains, we discovered a few orange- and almond trees and stuffed ourselves with fresh fruits and nuts while a complete rainbow appeared over the ocean. In the evening and on the next day we saw the active volcano in the mountain chain of Cumbre Vieja. The volcano was endlessly fascinating. I could have sat there until the end of time and watch it spewing sparks, ash, volcanic rocks, lava. On the other side hours for hours we sat there watching it destroying landscape, houses, plants, animals, our environment and much more. And it never stopped. We feel for the residents who lost their belongings to the volcano and wish them all the best.

Then the last day dawned. We packed our stuff and went for the last time to the bus stop in front of our hostel. The drive home to our ship gave us time to review the last few days. Then we arrived at our home. Home? Where is my home?

Everywhere the heart is. With all the 49 other people who had gotten close to my heart in the last few weeks. I might call it my second home now.