Friday, June 04, 2010

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Tenerife, Canary Islands
Friday, May 28, 2010

What a beautiful island Tenerife is. It is like a European Hawaii. Tenerife is a volcanic island, dominated by the dormant volcano, Mount Teide, which soars 12, 300 feet high. Mount Teide is Spain’s highest peak, and has been designated a World Heritage Site. Tenerife seems to be an older island than the Canary Islands because it has topsoil and it is very green. The high peak also results in abundant rainfall on the north slopes.

Although Tenerife has natural beauty, its beauty is mostly man made. Beautiful, well-kept roads; well planned landscaping and beautiful plants everywhere; beautiful, colorful houses; almost manicured fields of banana plants and vineyards; everywhere one looks, one sees a beautiful scene, and the scenes were created because people created them. And never an electric line. Tenerife shows that beauty is a choice, and it is so nice to be in such a beautiful place. Tenerife is completely modern and upscale. Tourism is the principal economic activity; over five million tourists visit the island each year, mostly from Europe.

Bas has had a home in Alfaz del Pi, Spain, for the past 30 years, and he has lived there part time during that time. He was “home” in Spain in Tenerife, and he wanted to drive. Monique had arranged for a rental car to be picked up at the airport in La Laguna -- the north Tenerife airport. We met for breakfast, and then were the first passengers to leave the ship after clearance at 8:00 a.m. The drive to the airport in a taxi was only a few minutes, and we were off for the day. We first traveled to Puerta de la Cruz, a beautiful seaside town on the north shore of the island that has been Tenerife‘s premier resort since the 19th century. After parking the car, we went for a walk in the cool, sunny early morning, and stopped for coffee at a beautiful seaside outdoor restaurant. What a great feeling to sit outside in beautiful surroundings and chat and have coffee. We then went for a walk through the narrow, pedestrian streets. Photos were everywhere.

Monique had read that another town on the coast, Garachica, had recently designated a World Heritage Site, so we drove there next. Garachica is also a very beautiful little town, much smaller than Puerta de la Cruz. We walked through the town and visited the two very old churches, and then we stopped for lunch at an outdoor restaurant directly beside the sea. It was beautiful.

We then had only enough time left to drive back for a walk through La Laguna, also a World Heritage Site, before returning the rental car and returning to the ship. La Laguna is a larger, working town, and quite busy, and the World Heritage Site is the “old town”. We enjoyed our walk through, and then hurried back to the airport to return the car. A quick taxi ride took us back to the ship just in time, and we enjoyed taking photos of the sail-away along the coast.

Tenerife is a very beautiful island, and it is easy to understand why Europeans go there for a restful holiday. It really does remind one of Hawaii.

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