Sometimes I have to get away. I need a change of scenery, a chance to recharge my batteries. But I don’t want to spend €600 euros and ten hours flying to another continent. The island of Tenerife seemed like the ideal destination, just three-and-a-half hours from Alicante, a place that promised nature, spectacular landscapes, good food and no need to change my euros or buy a different mobile phone card.
Today, on day five of my excursion to the Canary Islands, I am happy to say that this isle has far exceeded by expectations in every way, even though the weather has been, reportedly, the strangest that the locals have experienced for decades.
When we arrived, our first stop was Puerto de la Cruz, a very pleasing little town with a very confusing one-way system. After going around and around (and around) a few times, my friend and I located the hotel and went out to eat some local specialities. The dishes are simple, delicious and cheap. Patatas arrugas (wrinkled/boiled potatoes served with the traditional red mojo (spicy) sauce are totally delicious.
The following day we set out to explore one of the northern part of the island’s hiking routes in the Anaga national park. We ‘gatecrashed’ an organised group of hikers and completed part of the Ruta de los Sentidos (Path of the Senses), negotiating a rather slippery path but loving the dripping forest and breathtaking views from the look out points.
Breathtaking views also awaited us ascending the Teide volcano, where there’s a new, amazing landscape around every bend. Huge fields of rugged black lava, coastal roads where frost lies on hard shoulder, high above the clouds, with views of other islands, swathed in white clouds, floating in distance. We took the route through this park on our way to our posh hotel on Costa de Adeje in the south, where temperatures are higher, but the scenery leaves much to be desired (it’s a desert). The plant life is fascinating… things that you see tiny versions of at home are enormous here.
Once again, we drove north, this time to the steepest and windiest road I have ever driven (particularly in a grotty rental vehicle with rotten brake pads). We went to Masca, picking up two Czech hitchhikers on the way. There were dozens of hairpin bends, but the views were spectacular, and people drive slowly and carefully, so there’s no need to ‘freak out’.
Now we’re in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a lovely city with glittering shopping centres and gorgeous botanical garden. We’ve even been to the cinema. Tenerife really is a fantastic choice for a short break away. Another world!