Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200411 1 Spain Tenerife

MONDAY 1 NOVEMBER – We’re surprised to be disturbed by lots of cars and voices through the night.  When we get up there are already loads of fishermen and birdmen around.  It’s a lovely day and the beach soon gets busy, not surprising when we learn that it is “All Saints day” bank holiday.  It feels like Morocco when a man comes over, crouches down by Steve, and begins to chat him up for money.  He says he needs it for food so we give him something to eat instead.  Appreciate a beautiful sunset and having the beach to ourselves.

LA ANTILLA 2

 

TUESDAY 2 NOVEMBER – The bin men disturb us at 5am then just after 7am a tractor arrives clearing the sand off the road.  He spends a lot of time working around us so Steve gets up to ask if we need to move.  No, he’s just finished and is ready to drive off!  As we are up we make the most of it and watch the sunrise.  As soon as it is warm enough we head over to the beach showers and wash a few smalls.  A better day than yesterday, even hot enough for me to have a swim.  Trawlers entertain us at sea; we think they are dredging for clams.  John and Maureen arrive late afternoon.

LA ANTILLA 3

 

WEDNESDAY 3 NOVEMBER – A drizzly start to the day becoming dry but cloudy later.  We all walk into La Antilla for lunch where from 2pm – 3pm Koki restaurant are offering the menu of the day with a choice of starter and main course plus a salad, drink, bread and wine for just Euro 5 (£3.50).  Most diners are workmen who obviously know it’s a good spot as it soon fills up.  The food is excellent but we fail to drink our allocation of a bottle of wine per person.  Stagger back late afternoon.  Steve gets his golf clubs out for a practice on the beach and this attracts the attention of some Germans walking past.  He ends up getting a free lesson from one of them.  More rain in the evening, it seems that whenever we meet up with John & Maureen the weather takes a turn for the worse.

LA ANTILLA 4

 

THURSDAY 4 NOVEMBER – Get occasional sun between the clouds but not real sunbathing weather so we head off again for lunch.  This time we go to the restaurant opposite Koki where the menu of the day is Euro 5.50 (£3.85).  The food is not as good and they take us for tourists by bringing the first lot of wine in glasses and adding it to the bill separately then also trying to bring us a better quality wine than the one included in the price although this we spot in time!  We’ve just got back and settled down to sunbathe when a young Spanish couple come over and ask for help.  They have got their car bogged up to the axle.  It takes some time to jack it up, put mats under the wheels, and push them out.  We are joined by a small Spanish camper van overnight.

LA ANTILLA 5

 

FRIDAY 5 NOVEMBER – A hot start to the day so I get some washing done before we sit out to sunbathe.  Unfortunately it clouds over late morning so we all troop back to town for lunch at Koki.  We’ve just sat down when the heavens open up.  We are sat outside under a canopy with plastic sides but by the time we have eaten dessert the rain has come in on the ground and we are paddling in it.  Keep moving to higher ground until we are the only people left outside.  It’s still raining so we move inside for coffee and brandy and to wait for it to ease up before walking back.

LA ANTILLA 6

 

SATURDAY 6 NOVEMBER – Time to move a little further on so we head to the big industrial port of Huelva then down the coast into the Donana national park.  The park is in an area of marshland with little development apart from the resort of Matalascanas, our idea of holiday hell with masses of hotels and apartments.  Turning inland we come to the quirky town of El Rocio, named after a huge religious statue of the virgin that was found in this spot in the swamps.  All attempts to move it were foiled so they built a big church here and put in behind the altar.  A large town has developed around it but oddly enough all the streets are sandy giving it a frontier come “Wild West” feel, they even have horses trotting round the streets although the main mode of transport is cars.  Walking towards the church we are surprised to see lottery card sellers in the doorway.  In fact the whole town is quite bizarre with narrow streets of rustic houses spurting off from big wide boulevards.  Large grassy squares appear from nowhere and the main thing being sold to tourists is flamenco dresses.  We’ve parked by the lake where we can do a bit of bird watching and see the cattle wading in the shallows.  Late afternoon there is a procession to the church with people playing drums and penny whistles.  Inside the church female singers are dressed in flamenco outfits.  As in Santiago de Compostela (another pilgrimage centre) the Spaniards seem to take great delight in setting off very noisy firecrackers and it is beginning to drive us crackers.  We also see a couple of motorhomes turned away by the car park attendant so this makes us decide to move.  Not the best of plans as it is almost dusk.  Heading towards Almonte we see an industrial estate and pull in there.  The fire station is at the back and we reckon it will be a good place to park so long as they don’t get many shouts.

INDUSTRIAL ESTATE BETWEEN EL ROCIO AND ALMONTE

 

SUNDAY 7 NOVEMBER – We’ve had a very quiet and restful night so get up early to head into Seville.  We easily park on the main thoroughfare by the river opposite the bullring – the oldest and most beautiful in Spain.  We’ve been to Seville before but had David with us so ended up just doing the main cathedral area.  Today we begin at the Alcazar, Euro 5 (£3.50), with superb Moorish architecture and nice gardens.  Next we walk around the Barrio de Santa Cruz old Jewish quarter with narrow streets emerging onto pretty squares then out past the tobacco factory that inspired the opera Carmen.  We’re very impressed by the Plaza de Espana, a grand semi circular structure with a fountain, lots of bridges and 50 tiled areas representing the Spanish kingdoms.  Through the Parque de Maria Luisa we reach the Plaza de America with an impressive Mudejar pavilion housing the art museum.  It’s free for EU passport holders to go in to the museums so we visit this and the archaeology one opposite but don’t spend long in either, as it is such a nice day.  Stroll back mainly along the waterfront and catch a rally procession of over 200 old Seat cars.  Arrive back after our 4-hour walk feeling that there is still more of Seville for a future visit.  Head towards Cadiz and for the first time in Spain we find a conventional petrol station with LPG in El Puerto de Santa Maria (Repsol garage on the old road towards Fuentebravia).  Nearby, on the west coast, at Rota is a huge American Navy base.  The town itself is surprisingly large.  We’re using the same map as we did in Portugal and there most of the marked towns were tiny but here they all seem huge.  Parking is difficult so we follow the coast out and find a track to the beach behind some shacks.  It’s a lovely spot from which we get a great view of all the American planes landing.  There are dozens of them, possibly because of the war in Iraq.  Fortunately they stop on nightfall.  Police call round at 9.30pm, look at our passports, and then wish us a “Good night”. 

BALLENA BEACH NW OF ROTA

 

MONDAY 8 NOVEMBER – We hear one plane at around 7am then it goes quiet until after 9am.  For about an hour there is a lot of activity with jet planes then all goes quiet.  A number of lads come down to surf.  Steve comes back from his beach walk with a “message in a bottle”.  We remove the cork and find the paper is wet and the writing faded.  Just manage to make out that is was sent from nearby Rota 2 weeks ago. 

BALLENA BEACH NW OF ROTA

 

TUESDAY 9 NOVEMBER – The cloudy start to the day prompts us to drive to Chipiona.  Park up and ask directions to the library for the Internet.  2 hours later we have asked loads of people directions, found a library with no Internet, been to the visitor centre who sent us to a café that was closed then finally found one, just round the corner from where we parked.  Still we’ve had a good tour of the town and checked out the beaches.  I’m hoping to find a cheap flight for Claire to visit so book the Internet package for 2 ½ hours at Euro 3 (£2.10).  I finish doing my own letters, banking, and start checking out flights.  At this point the computer freezes.  Fortunately another customer speaks good English and translates that there is a problem but to wait.  1 hour later we have to give up, they are putting new telephone lines in between 2nd and 16th November and it’s Chipionas turn today!  On the way back we turn off to check out Costa Ballena.  It turns out to be a massive development with luxury hotels and private villas and many more being built.  Return to a spot just south of where we were before, turning off the main road at the sign to “Venta Medina”.  This time we have a water supply but are directly under the flight path so hope there is not too much activity in the night.   Wrong, with no timetable for the flights we are rather shocked to have a number of planes landing throughout the night, flying directly over us, so close we feel the van shake!

BALLENA BEACH NW OF ROTA, NR VENTA MEDINA

 

WEDNESDAY 10 NOVEMBER – Although mornings are a bit chilly the days soon warm up and we go down to the beach to sunbathe.  There’s a house for sale just behind where we are parked and the agent arrives to show someone around.  We ask for information and find it is a small 2 bedrooms bungalow with a swimming pool and up for Euro 138,000 (£98,000).  We are rather curious so make arrangements to look round tomorrow.

BALLENA BEACH NW OF ROTA, NR VENTA MEDINA 2

 

THURSDAY 11 NOVEMBER – Lots of activity from the US base.  Ships congregate on the horizon and we see a helicopter hovering above them with something dangling.  All the different types of aircraft fly over at some stage.  The agent arrives to show us round the property on 700 square metre plot.  It has electricity and a water supply but not drinking quality (this explains the stand pipe near where we are parked).  The house is very small but would be adequate for us.  Lounge, tiny kitchen with no cupboards, bathroom with shower (no bath tub) and two bedrooms.  It all looks very dark as the shutters are down but we can see the potential.  Outside the swimming pool is deep but small, more of a plunge pool but with the sea on your doorstep you don’t need much more.  The roof terrace of the house gives us stunning views and it is at this point that we ask about the land adjoining.  She tells us it can’t be built on.  We next ask if we could build higher like the house at the other end of the empty land.  She tells us no as it is illegal and this is when she slips in the fact that this house is also illegal as it is built too close to the beach.  The interest that has been stirred in us immediately evaporates and we make a quick withdrawal.

BALLENA BEACH NW OF ROTA, NR VENTA MEDINA 3

 

FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER – Head to Puerta De Santa Maria to meet John & Maureen at “La Dunes” campsite.  We arrive first so I set about getting my washing done.  They have a crazy system with the machines in a locked building.  You have to walk a long way back to reception to ask for someone to come down to open up whilst you put the washing in then again when the machine has finished, an estimated 1 ½ hours later.  John & Maureen arrive along with their friends Andy & Chris (also from Y.S.S at Hull) who are going on the same ferry as us to the Canary Islands.  Chris has a dental problem so heads off to sort that out first.  The washing is finished and I start to peg it out using Maureen’s and my lines, racks and clotheshorses to cater for the 3 weeks backlog.  I notice that the dark coloured items all have powder stains on even through I used a washing liquid myself.  Trail back to the reception where they agree to my re-doing them and having them tumble-dried free.  By now it’s early afternoon and the plan is for us all to go into Cadiz to confirm the ferry booking and to book the return leg.  Steve ends up staying behind to deal with the washing whilst I go with the others.  It’s a long walk to the far end of Puerta De Santa Maria where we catch the 3.15pm ferry to Cadiz, Euro 5 (£3.50) return.  The journey takes 40 minutes and is quite pleasant.  Arrive at the docks but find the Trasmediterranea office closed.  Walk into the town but have to wait until 4.30pm for the travel agents to open.  They can’t deal with our booking and send us to a Trasmediterranea office further down the street.  This office only deals with freight and sends us back to the docks where the office opens at 5pm.  Finally manage to do the intended business.  It’s not cheap; each way costs £246.04 for the motorhome and £151.40 per person sharing a 4 berth inside cabin.  The ferry makes a circuit of the main islands and whilst John, Maureen, Chris, and Andy are getting off at Grand Canary we are going on to Tenerife.  Our plan is to island hop to Grand Canary, Fuerteventura then Lanzarote catching the boat back from there on 6th April.  Just time for a drink before the 6.00pm boat back to Santa Maria.  By the time we have walked back to the site we are pretty exhausted and it’ dark, but so dark that I can’t see some dark coloured washing on the line.  Steve explains that the tumble dryer didn’t work.  The van looks like a Chinese laundry with stuff hung everywhere.  A frustrating day. 

PUERTA DE SANTA MARIA, LA DUNES CAMPSITE. 

Euro 3.50 (£2.45) per person, Euro 5.14 (3.60) motorhome

 

SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER – None of us like the campsite but the others still need to do laundry.  We tell them about a site near Rota that looked much nicer.  They head off there and we leave as soon as the washing is dry.  Puerto de Santa Maria is extremely busy and it’s difficult for us to park for the Internet.  We park badly near a junction so Steve stays with the van.  When I return he tells me how interesting it has been watching the Spanish use their bumpers to nudge other cars to create a parking space!  Check out Port Sherry where there is a huge marina but a very small beach.  Stop for lunch then return to Playa de La Ballena.  I walk 15 minutes north along the beach to find John & Maureen and Andy & Chris happily ensconced on the beachside football pitch area of the campsite.  They are much happier as the site is quieter and cheaper.  We have a very quiet day with no planes at all.  Late evening some lovers pull up in a car.  Have to laugh when the police come round doing their checks.  They now completely ignore us but get out and shine a torch in through the steamy car windows!

BALLENA BEACH NR ROTA

 

SUNDAY 14 NOVEMBER – The mornings are really chilly now so we linger in bed until at least 9am when the sun is warms things up.  The bird catchers have already arrived and there are a number of other men making the most of low tide to get squid and octopus by scrambling out over the rocks.  Spot a couple of cyclists on the beach, it’s Chris & Andy who call in for a drink.  They are so happy where they are that rather than joining us they are going to stay put. John & Maureen arrive a bit later on their scooter.  I hitch a lift to the phone on John’s scooter and phone Claire.  We use the windbreaks to make a coral at the back of the van where we sunbathe nude all afternoon.

BALLENA BEACH NR ROTA 2

 

MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER – Although there was some aircraft activity yesterday we had a quiet night.  Have heard on the news that there was a big attack on Iraq last week so the planes from here were probably being used to support that.  It’s a warm but windy day and quite cold night after the sun sets.

BALLENA BEACH NR ROTA 3

 

TUESDAY 16 NOVEMBER – Drive into Puerta de Santa Maria and do a big shop at Lidl.  The Canary Islands are duty free but groceries are more expensive there.  Meet the others at Cadiz port.  Andy is unlucky and gets caught for being over 6m long (we all are) and has to pay extra.  Whilst queuing (1 hour) for boarding cards Steve spots a man wearing a Liverpool shirt and gets chatting.  There is a queue next to us with people buying tickets.  The last man in the line is not impressed when the shutters go down in front of him and a sign says closed until 3pm!  In a bar nearby we take a menu of the day Euro 6.50 (£4.55) lunch then go on the Euro 8 (£5.60) 1 hour open top bus guided tour of Cadiz.  There’s very little to see from the bus but the narrow streets look ripe for exploration later.  Board the “Juan S Sister” on time and soon find the 4-berth cabin that we are sharing with John & Maureen.  Once we have passed out of the bay of Cadiz there is no more land to be seen and won’t be until we get to the Canaries.  Steve finds the Liverpool supporter and learns that John & his wife Terry have an apartment on Fuerteventura but live in Hollywell near Michael Owens parents.  John is well up on the team and has met Michel Owen.  We are starving and evening meal is not served until 8pm.  Matters are made worse when they announce that the ferry is working on Canary Island time, 1 hour behind Spain giving us an extra our to wait.  3 meals a day are included in the ticket price and we queue up for cafeteria-style service.  You get a choice from 2 starters, 2 mains, yoghurt or fruit and a bottle of water.  It’s very basic and not that tasty.  We’re all pretty tired so settle in to bed before 10pm.  Unfortunately both John & Maureen snore loudly and by 1am we’ve both had enough.  Get dressed and clutching our pillows we search the lounges for an empty comfortable sofa, as we are not the only ones with the same idea.  If you don’t book a 4 berth cabin with friends you must either pay for a 2 berth or share and they are all single sex rooms.  This probably explains why many couples prefer to sleep together in the lounges.    

TRASMEDITERRANEA FERRY TO THE CANARY ISLANDS

 

WEDNESDAY 17 NOVEMBER – We manage to get a bit of sleep.  Walk out on deck and find some people asleep on the sun loungers by the pool, not such a great idea, as it is very damp.  Breakfast is marginally better than last night’s meal as it is all cold food.  It’s a hot and sunny day so we spend a lot of time on the sun loungers by the pool. 

TRASMEDITERRANEA FERRY TO THE CANARY ISLANDS 2

 

THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER – Dock an hour earlier than expected at 8am in Las Palmas GRAND CANARY.  As soon as we have finished breakfast we go down to the car deck and drive straight off.  John & Maureen, and Andy & Chris are staying on this island so head off whilst we collect our onward ticket to Tenerife.  The catamaran leaves at noon so we’ve time to explore Las Palmas.  The bit we walk around is on a narrow strip of land with the docks on one side and a sandy beach on the other.  The “Millennium Dos” sails on time.  There is no restaurant on board but our original ticket included meals we have been given access to the Club Class lounge where drinks and snacks are free.  2 hours later we dock on TENERIFE in Santa Cruz.  Park near the Plaza Espana where parking is free but unofficial guards hope for a small payment.  The tourist office have told us that if we want to pay anything it should be no more than 50c and only when we return.  Santa Cruz seems weird; there are many tourists around yet it still has lots of small traditional bars for locals.  The old and the new buildings sit side by side but the thing that impresses us most is the brand new opera house on similar lines to the one in Sydney.  We try to sort out gas on Tenerife, to buy a Rough Guide in English and to buy a computer battery but fail on all counts.  Take the motorway heading south.  Fuel is much cheaper here (around 50c (35p) litre for diesel.  We stop for some and also ask for water as it’s difficult to get it on Tenerife.  We turn down their offer of a watering can full of non drinking water.  It’s extremely busy on the motorway and towards the sea all we can see is development and ugly coastline.  It’s a volcanic island with the terrain inland looking more interesting with unusual lava rock formations.  Turn off at Las Caletillas as it looks like a small village, wrong, it’s a big development, and this stretches all the way along the coast to merge with Candelaria.  Visit the famous pilgrimage basilica at Candelaria where there are some lovely frescoes inside.  Outside along the promenade are nice “guardian” statues.  The only parking is roadside so we rejoin the motorway and try Punta de Guimar.  Same story but this time signs for no tents or caravans on the car parks and at this stage we don’t know if that includes us.  We next turn off to an industrial estate with a gas supplier but they say there is no chance of getting our tank filled on Tenerife.  Finally at El Medano we find a place to park just east of the town at Arenas del Mar.  A difficult start to Tenerife.

EL MEDANO

 

FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER – We’re close to “Reina Sofia” airport that serves the south of Tenerife and don’t we know it when planes start taking off in succession at 7am.  Where we are parked is very windy and the beach has black gravel like sand.  Drive back into El Medano but everything is still closed.  Travel along the coast past the “red rock” towards Los Abrigos.  Stop to look at El Medano beach, said to be the nicest on Tenerife but it is still not great.  Call in to the airport to check with the travel agents what the alternatives would be for Claire because at this rate we are going to be finished on Tenerife very quickly and way ahead of our island hopping schedule.  Return to El Medano as I am waiting for a packet to arrive from Australia.  Park at the eastern side of town by the sea then walk back.  The town is fairly pleasant and has a bit of a beach in the centre.  The mail hasn’t arrived and will probably be another 2 weeks due to the Christmas rush but the problem is that they will only hold it for 15 days and won’t tell us over the phone whether it has arrived or not.  Try to find out about my computer battery and the man in the shop says call back tomorrow so we settle in for the day.  Another British motorhome is parked by us and Pete and Joy tell us they have been coming here for 20 years but it’s now getting very difficult for motorhome parking. 

EL MEDANO, ARENAS DEL MAR

 

SATURDAY 20 NOVEMBER – Hear a few planes taking off in the night but it’s not too bad.  In town I go on the Internet to check out flights for Claire to Fuerteventura, at this rate we will be done with Tenerife in 6 days rather than the planned 6 weeks!  Head for the next place along the south coast called Las Galletas.  To the east of the original town is an area of villa complexes and just west of the village a small stony black beach.  However they do have bars showing the English football so we park by “The Cellar” for Steve to get his weekly fix.  I go off walking and find 4 “Netto” supermarkets and an Asian shop selling all the curry spices etc.  After the matches we begin looking for a place to park and again have difficulties.  End up at Palm Mar parked up by yet another building area; this one is to become a new promenade.  A security vehicle drives round every hour and disturbs our night. 

PALM MAR

 

SUNDAY 21 NOVEMBER – Head into Los Cristianos but there are signs everywhere forbidding motorhomes to park.  No great shakes as it is far too built up and touristy for us anyway.  Head out along the coast and this time run into an area of really posh hotels so no chance of parking up.  Make our way inland a bit to Adeje and eventually see the signs to the walking track.  The only problem is that it doesn’t say that the road is a dead end, very narrow and twisted and has no car park or turning space.  Steve is not happy having to back all the way down.  Eventually park down in the village and walk back up.  There is a kiosk for the walk into “Barranco del Infierno”.  Only 80 people are allowed in the ravine at any one time and it costs Euro 3 (£2.10).  At the front of the queue we are told that unless we have a prior booking we cannot go in until 11.45am (it’s now 10.30), but the good news is that it is free on Sunday.  Our name is put on a list and we must return and queue up again nearer the time to be issued with the free ticket!  Eventually make it onto the track and this curves along the side of the gorge lined with succulents.  It’s quite hard going in places and we are happy to eventually get to a shady area.  After just over an hour we have walked 3km and emerge at the waterfall.  It’s all quite pleasant but certainly not outstanding, we console ourselves that it is good exercise.  Get back to the van before 3pm then set out in search of parking.  This time we find a spot at Paraiso beach overlooking the lido.  Nice views but we are still at the side of the road and have a building site with rubbish behind us. 

PLAYA PARAISO

 

MONDAY 22 NOVEMBER – We continue exploring up the west coast and things get worse when we get to Los Gigantes.  The narrow streets are all one way so once we have started to head to the town we cannot turn back and have to drive all the way down the steep hill to the port.  Unfortunately we cannot stay at the port as it is privately owned so have to make our way back out.  Give up on the coast and head inland to Tamaimo then towards Mount Teide and the national park.  At last we are away from the hoards of tourists and can drive and enjoy the views as we climb higher.  Teide is a dormant volcano and the landscape is fantastic.  Drive through fields of lava flow and past great rock formations.  Park near the Parador Nacional de las Canadas and go into the visitor centre.  There’s a walk starting here called “Roques de Garcia” and we want to do it.  Find a parking spot on the opposite side of the road with a direct view of Teide.  The 4km walk is really good, quite strenuous as we start near the top of the rock formations, walk round them, and then descend into the valley before climbing up the other side.  Well worth it as the rocks are so varied and interesting.  Shortly after sunset we have the place to ourselves and it is totally quiet – sheer bliss.  We are now over 2,000 metres high so it’s not surprising that we need the heating on in the evening and find it rather chilly through the night.  The altitude also explains why things like packets of crisps and yoghurts have burst open under the pressure!

TEIDE

 

TUESDAY 23 NOVEMBER – Steve reckons I look like Mohamed Ali with a jumper wound round my head and bathrobe over my tracksuit.  I don’t care as even with the heater on it takes some time for the van to warm up.  Drive further into the park to El Portillo where the visitor centre has an impressive display and film about the volcano.  Set out on walk number 2 the 7km “Arenas Negras” circuit.  Initially it runs alongside route 4 (14km one way track to the parador) and the ranger tells us to turn off at the second barrier.  At this point there is no other track in sight so we continue for another kilometre or so before deciding the rough turning further back must have been ours.  Double back and head in towards the mountains.  Walk through a lava field where we collect a supply of small lava rocks for our gas BBQ.  We then have to climb a really steep mountain of black lava, rather like a slagheap.  Take it steady and we are finally rewarded with superb views.  The track leads us round the back of the black mountain then along a gorge with interesting rocks.  From then on we go further out towards the north part of the island whilst making a gradual descent.  Walk through areas of sand with orange rocks strewn around and other parts with lots of green vegetation and get views of the observatory and the north coast.  It takes us just over 3 hours and we are surprised that we don’t feel at all tired.  Drive down the steep road to the Oratava valley.  We drive through areas with trees and much more greenery than on the south side.  Puerto de la Cruz is the main resort and we park by the sea front behind the derelict football pitch.  It’s a cloudy afternoon and hundreds of people promenade along the sea wall.  Steve finds a bar to watch football in the evening.

PUERTO DE LA CRUZ

 

WEDNESDAY 24 NOVEMBER – We’ve picked up a brochure for “Miller Tours” and all their trips within Tenerife are just Euro 9 (£5.60).  You cannot book them with a travel agent but must wait at one of the hotel pick up points at the listed time.  We find there is a stop at a hotel near us and sure enough a large coach pulls up.  We know that they are doing a health product presentation keep the price low and the whole system gradually unfolds.  Once the bus is full it drives to Tacoronte to meet the coaches from the south.  We are funnelled into a large building then split up into smaller groups based on which tour we want to do and what language we speak.  In a small room we are seated then served tea and coffee.  A lady on the table next to us is from Yorkshire and used to do a milk round in the Ingrow area of Keighley.  The talk begins and is about bone disease and how it can be prevented or eased if you buy their special mattress.  They also talk about bed bugs and this leads up to the sale of pillows.  It’s actually very interesting and if we lived in England and needed a new mattress we’d have been very keen.  At the end of the presentation we are served wine and given our free gifts, a bottle of wine, video of Tenerife, and a mini radio walkman per couple.  The people on the Masca or Island tour are given a free lunch, a very small serving of meatloaf, cabbage, and bread.  We are doing the Mercedes Forest trip and this includes a fish meal at the local restaurant.  We’ve chosen to do this trip as it takes us on the second most dangerous road on the island and one that Steve is not keen to drive.  We have a tour guide who gives us loads of info as we travel into the mountainous region.  Luckily it is not the normal cloudy day so we get superb views from the Pico del Ingles.  Crazy drivers come towards us in the middle of the road making the narrow and winding roads very dangerous.  Begin the descent to Taganana with fine views along the north coast.  The coach stops at Bar Africa where we are seated for lunch and get a superb meal.  Rose wine and water to drink, salad including fruit to start followed by bread, Canary island speciality wrinkly potatoes, and a whole fish each.  For dessert we have prickly pear fruit.  Time after to explore the small beach area.  Return up the hill then over the top to drop down the other side to San Andres.  Nearby Teresitas beach was man made with sand from the Sahara Desert and is picture postcard pretty with palm trees completing the scene.  There’s a Spanish motorhome parked up and we soon establish that it would be a spot for us to stay.  Arrive back in Puerto de La Cruz around 6.30pm after a lovely day out. 

PUERTO DE LA CRUZ 2

 

THURSDAY 25 NOVEMBER – At 8am I join the early morning walkers on the promenade.  Walk back into town and around the bay where there are natural rock pools and a man made lido.  Return through the town where locals dominate the scene.  Almost all the tourist hotels are higher up the hillside so it feels like a typical village.  Arrive back just before 10am to find Steve sat out by the van.  I’ve just expressed surprise that no one has stopped to speak to him when a couple call over, Brian and Margaret are not only motorhome owners but also naturists.  Once they leave we drive over to Teresitas but find the area near the Spanish motorhome is full.  The rest of the parking is roadside but we have to make do.  Settle on the beach and both go into the water and make use of the beach showers.  Find what we think will be a better parking spot for the night.

SAN ANDRES, TERESITAS BEACH

 

FRIDAY 26 NOVEMBER – Yet another noisy night that culminates with the beach cleaners driving right beside the van to empty one of the bins.  It’s windy early in the morning and we are the only ones to sit on the beach protected by our wind break.  Once the wind has dropped the beach fills up.  I swim out to the breakwater and we also walk the full length of the beach.  Just on dark we move to a parking spot at the end of the road expecting it to be quieter.  It is after 5am, once the youngsters have driven off after playing loud music all night!

SAN ANDRES, TERESITAS BEACH 2

 

SATURDAY 27 NOVEMBER – Woken again just after 7am by the early morning walkers.  Drive back to the beachside parking spot noticing lots of tissue debris where the cars were parked last night.  It’s a cooler cloudy day but there is plenty to observe.  Mid morning a group appear at the end of the beach and perform some sort of total immersion christening in the sea.  In the afternoon 10 parascenders make their way down to the beach from the cliff top.  Late afternoon we try our luck for parking at the nearby fishing port and we drop lucky and have a quiet night.

SAN ANDRES, FISHING PORT

 

SUNDAY 28 NOVEMBER – We’ve completed the circuit of Tenerife and now head back down the east coast checking out a few other turn offs.  Playa del Abrigo is OK for parking but the beach is poor however Abades looks reasonable (comparatively speaking as we have now reduced our expectations).  Return to Costa del Silencio for Steve to watch the Liverpool match.  Find a nice parking spot above a rocky beach that has an area with sunbathing ledges and a ladder into the water for swimming.  Whilst Steve watches the afternoon football match I sunbathe and swim.

COSTA DEL SILENCIO

 

MONDAY 29 NOVEMBER – It’s quite a long walk to the adjoining village of Las Galletas where I visit the post office and Internet café.  Meanwhile Steve clambers along a rocky ledge to discover a naturist “beach” in the next cove.  It’s quite late by the time I get back so we sunbathe on the nearby ledges and enjoy a bit of snorkelling.  Walk around the nearby developments late afternoon and liken it to a housing estate in England with 1-bedroom studios on sale as low as Euro 60,000 (£42,000).

COSTA DEL SILENCIO 2

 

TUESDAY 30 NOVEMBER – Both walk over the rocks and round to the naturist area.  The volcanic flow has made amazing shapes in the rocks and created natural sunbathing terraces.  The snorkelling is very good with lots of colourful fish to be seen in the clear waters.  At high tide the rocky ledges would be difficult to negotiate so we walk back over the hill.  Steve goes out to watch an evening football match.  At last we seem to have found a place that meets many of our needs so our impression of Tenerife is improving.  We certainly can’t complain about the weather, between 25C and 30C in the day with warm nights and the only rain we’ve had has been short bursts on a couple of evenings. 

COSTA DEL SILENCIO 3

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