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Old 04-02-2006, 03:43 AM   #1
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A Trip To Tenerife (photo intensive thread!)

A TRIP TO TENERIFE - Preface

I've created this thread to detail in text and photos my recent trip overseas from Houston, Texas to the Canary Islands. I've been asked to share the story of this trip, and I think it would be fun to do so. I also hope it inspires some who read it to put a trip to the Canary Islands on their list of goals for the future.

The Canary Islands are a tropical paradise owned by Spain and located just off of the northwestern shoreline of the African continent. I went on this journey of adventure and discovery with my Dad, who lives in Wisconsin. We met up there and caught the flight overseas from Chicago. We spent most of our time on the island of Tenerife, but did spend one memorable day on the neighboring island of Lanzarote. This thread will primarily cover the 10 days we spent there.

PLEASE RESERVE COMMENTS UNTIL I COMPLETE POSTING ALL THE ENTRIES.

This will allow me to post a coherent narrative. The posts will consist of the daily e-mail diary and picture attachments I was sending home from my cell phone each day, along with higher resolution photos I took with two digital cameras and other resources I've collected. I'm also including some information from my Dad's journal of the trip, as he is always so good at documenting information about culture and history on his trips. I will try to highlight his contributions with italics.

Also, I have tried to edit this to a managable, easily readable format. I took nearly 400 pictures of various resolutions, plus collected documentation from other sources. Triming all of this down and marrying it to a descriptive text that conveys the excitement and wonder of the trip while not making it overwhelming was my challenge.

Excuse me if I am less than objective and I edit favoring inclusion rather than exclusion, but this trip affected me in some very profound ways. After the course of the 10 days spent in these idylic islands, I felt spiritually, mentally and in particular physically healthier. It has given me much to consider as I contemplate how I live my daily life.

A Taste Of Things To Come

If you would like to just see the bullet-point highlights of the trip, I would recommend skipping to the pictures in posts #3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 24 and 26
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:44 AM   #2
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 01a

The following Canary Island background is from my Dad's journal:

The Canary Islands are not named after the canary bird as many people think. Instead, they are named after the Preza Canary dog which was developed and bred by the very early inhabitants of the Canary Islands for war and hunting. The Preza Canario dog is usually a brown color and built somewhat like a cross between a mastiff and a bulldog. Little is known about these people as to where they originated and how they evolved. It is generally thought that they came from Africa because of the nearness to these islands, but this has not been confirmed. It is also believed that they were hunter-gatherers until fairly recently in their history. Until about 30 years ago the main economic activity on the islands was subsistence farming, but tourism has now replaced that as the main source of livelyhood on these islands.

Map Of The North Atlantic Ocean

The Canary Islands were formed by volcanic activity many hundreds of thousands of years ago and in fact that formation is not yet complete. Some geologists feel that the Canary Islands are the last remaining remnants of the ancient fabled continent Atlantis.

-------------------------------------------------------

Exerpted from www.lanzarote.com:

You might think that the islands are named after the canary songbirds, but according to Roman naturalist Plinius, such is not the case. Plinius wrote that Juba, king of Mauritania and vassal of Rome in the I century B.C. sent an expedition to explore the African coast and its proximate islands, the legendary Fortunate Isles which were in the Dark Ocean beyond the Columns of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar).

In one of these islands they found a multitude of fearsomely huge canines and therefore named it Canaria from the Latin word can, canis (dog).

There is a mysterious haze surrounding the natives of the Canary Islands whose culture is now extinct. Who were these islanders and where did they come from? Fact is that their presence on these islands was a strange anomaly given their position near the African continent: they were tall, had a light skin colour and often blonde hair. They were called Guanches and came from North Africa, originating from the same stock as the Berbers of the Atlas Mountains.

Certainly the Guanches had to arrive via the Ocean but when the Europeans set foot on Canary grounds they found a Neolithic culture based on shepherding and limited agriculture that completely lacked the basic principles of navigation - the islands were in fact cut off from one another-.

Some claim that the Canary Islands are the uppermost peaks of the lost continent of Atlantis and that the Guanches were the descendants from the last survivors of the sunken civilization.

------------------------------------------------------------
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:45 AM   #3
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 01b

-----------------------------------------------------
Exerpted from www.lanzarote.com:
For centuries, even after the Spanish conquest, it was believed that the islands were the uppermost peaks of the lost continent of Atlantis of which Plato wrote in his "Timeos and Critias".

Atlantis was a very large island located beyond the Pillars of Hercules (what we now call the Strait of Gibraltar) and it was inhabited by the Atlanteans of semi-divine origins. Atlantis was immensely wealthy and its inhabitants were the most advanced people of the world that in time degenerated becoming complacent and greedy. Zeus decided to punish them and in the course of a single night volcanoes and tidal waves destroyed the big island in a disaster of cosmic proportions. According to the myth, only the islands of Azores, Madeira, Canaries and Cape Verde remain from Atlantis in the sea that took its name from this legendary civilization: the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlanteans monuments?: a central characteristic of the Atlantean empire was the use of a mixture of red, black and white stones. This extraordinary combination, most probably of volcanic origin, can be found all over the Canaries. On Lanzarote, the Guanches built long, conic pillar-like monuments in red, black and white stone. Due to seismic activity on the islands all except one collapsed. This remaining monument can be visited in Zonzamas near Arrecife.
---------------------------------------------------

The islands are mostly volcanic with lava flowing to the sea which offer lovely views of the sea slapping against the volcanic rock. The sand on the beaches that exist are generally black which relects the volcanic rock of the islands. These islands are a part of Spain having been acquired through warfaring in the 1400's. They are a thousand miles south of Spain, so this is similar to the Hawaiian Islands being a part of the United States. The language spoken is primarily Spanish, but most people can communicate in English, and even in German, Dutch and other languages. Ben can speak some Spanish having taken some courses while in high school, and this was very helpful on a number of occasions.

Map Of The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands consist of seven main islands of which Tenerife is the largest and perhaps the most developed. The weather is quite consistant year round with an average high temperature in the low to mid seventies (Fahrenheit) and a low in the low sixties. While we were there they were experiencing a prolonged period of below normal temperatures and above normal rainfall. The temperature was a bit lower than normal but to a fella from Wisconsin in February it was s-o-o-o-o-o-o n-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ce!
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:45 AM   #4
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 02

More Canary Island background from my Dad's journal:

The northern part of Tenerife is tropical in nature with lush foliage and vegetation. Palm trees and cactus abound among myriad flowers and greenery. The south of the island is generally much drier, and desert-like conditions can even be found in some areas complete with sand dunes. Between these two different worlds stands Mt. Teide (pronounced "tidy") and a mountain range. Mt. Teide is the hghest point in all of Spain and at about 12,000 feet above sea level it is snow covered, often with a mantel of clouds surrounding it.

Map Of The Island Of Tenerife

Lanzarote is also being developed at a rapid speed because of tourism. A visit to that island is a must for anyone who wants a thrilling vacation experience and some areas give the impression of having been transplanted from the moon. Agriculture still is important but is gradually being replaced by the tourism industry. (Note: I noticed that there seemed to be vinyards everywhere, so it seems that the wine business is still thriving there.) Some areas of the island (the lunar-like landscapes in particular) have been used to film motion pictures, including the original "Planet of the Apes".

Map Of The Island Of Lanzarote

Gran Canaria has many of the same qualities as Tenerife but is smaller and less developed. The island of La Gamera is a geologic formation that is much larger above sea level than it is below (imagine a diamond shape, with a tapering base underwater) and there is a real possibility that some day it could topple over into the sea. Such a catastrophy could cause a tsunami which could destroy Miami. The islands of La Palma, Herro and Fuerteventura are less populated, much less developed and not a prime destination for tourists at this time.
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:47 AM   #5
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 03
As many of you know from my posts in "Random" at the time, on January 3rd, my Mother suffered a collapse. This trip was initially planned for my Father and Mother to take together. However, the legal and medical ramifications of this unfortunate episode meant that she could not go on this trip. The Spanish people have a saying, "There is no ill out of which some good does not come." The good that came out of the ill of my Mother's problem was that our family grew closer, and I got to go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip with my Father. * This note as an newly added post-travel bonus: My Father and I now end each phone call with "I Love You", which would have been awkward and unheard of before given the previous family history. And that is a very good thing.

Friday, February 3, 2006:
We left Chicago on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight #612 at 4:15 p.m. on a Boeing 747 to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. This plane carries 461 passengers and is 10 seats wide with 2 aisles. The flight was 7.75 hours, and since Amsterdam is 7 hours ahead of us, we were scheduled to arrive at 7:00 a.m on Saturday. We flew at 31,000 feet and the temperature outside the plane reached 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) below zero. We flew through the airspace over Nova Scotia, just south of Greenland and Iceland, and across Scotland and England. KLM really takes good care of their passengers as we were served both a full evening meal and a full breakfast. We were offered drinks many times (the Heineken was very good!) and snacks as well. On the other legs of our journey we were given frequent eats, and I was overall very impressed with the service on all the international flights. I was so impressed with the KLM 747 that I bought this postcard:

A KLM Airlines 747 Jumbo Jet, With Tulips

Saturday, February 4, 2006:

We were amazed that it was still dark in Amsterdam at 8:00 a.m, but it was cloudy and rainy and they are located quite a bit further north of us, so I suppose this is to be expected. As our next flight did not depart until 12:40 p.m., we did a bit of shopping at Schiphol Airport. I was wearing a Green Bay Packer jacket, and a woman from the western part of Wisconsin who was headed to Stockholm stopped to talk to me. The flight to Barcelona was on a KLM Boeing 737 which holds 147 passengers. The flight lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes, so we arrived in Barcelona at 2:50 p.m. amd we flew over the Pyrenees Mountains. The temperature in Barcelona was 70 degrees. Tenerife is about 1000 miles south of there, so we were expectin warm weather.

We left Barcelona at 5:00 p.m. on Aero Europa airlines and arrived at Tenerife North airport at 7:45 p.m. - Tenerife has a north and south airport. For an island that is approximately 60 miles across at the longest point, that seems excessive, but with all the tourism maybe it makes sense. The north airport was 20 minues by taxi from our resort. As we were descending into Puerto de La Cruz, we could see Mount Teide. The snow capped peak of this volcano was impressively majestic in the evening sky. The view of the mountain sloping to the sea was quite spectacular both from the plane flying in and during the taxi ride to our resort.

Here are some more postcard photos:

Tenerife's Northeast Side, From Mt. Teide To Puerta De La Cruz

Aerial View Of Puerta De La Cruz

Our hotel is visible in the picture below: the red roof below the letters TENE.

Close Up View Of Puerta De La Cruz

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Old 04-02-2006, 03:47 AM   #6
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 04

Subject: WE MADE IT!
Date: 4th February 2006 9:20:53 pm

We've checked into our room. We are staying at the Hotel Casa Blanca. Below are a picture of my Dad and I in front of the resort entrance.

Dad And I In Front Of Our Hotel

The hotel has a website: www.apartamentoscasablance.com

Here is link to a page from their brochure showing various pictures from the resort.

Hotel Casa Blance Brochure

And I've stitched together 5 pictures to give you a panaramic picture of the view from our balcony. (We would spend many happy hours just sitting on this balcony reading and enjoying the view. However, I note that our balcony faced north; we would have had much more sun had our balcony faced south.)

The Panoramic View From Our Balcony

Since we've been up for over 32 hours, I think we'll sleep good tonight, and jet lag should not be an issue.

Fun fact: I am watching "Duetchland Superstar," the German version of American Idol. Great, now I can watch people sing bad in another language!

I had my girlfriend e-mail me the latest weather forcast for Tenerife.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is your local 10 day forcast:

Day High Low Precip %
Today 62 55 10% Sunny
Mon 62 57 10% M Cloudy
Tue 65 58 20% "
Wed 65 58 60% "
Thu 64 57 40% T-Storms
Fri 63 56 60% Showers
Sat 62 56 60% "
Sun 63 54 30% "
Mon 61 54 30% Few Showers
Tue 63 55 10% P. Cloudy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not what we were hoping for, but we'll make the best of it.

Here is a map of Puerto de La Cruz, showing the location of the fabulous, beautiful bay filled with lava rocks that so captured my imagination (photos to come) and the location up the hillside of our hotel:

Map Of Puerta De La Cruz
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:48 AM   #7
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 05

From Dad's Journal:

Spent the day just taking it easy. (A little recovery time from our trip and jetlag was in order - Ed.) We had breakfast at the resort restaurant and sat in the sun by the pool while the sun shone, but by early afternoon it clouded up and cooled down a bit. The forecast is for below normal temperatures for the entire week. I note that it can be raining just a short distance away and perfectly dry and sunny elsewhere. The winds are northeasterly for these islands and as they sweep up over the mountains the air condenses and it rains, especially near the tops of the mountains.

--------------------------------------------------

Sent : Sunday, February 5, 2006 7:29 PM
Subject : Dining Out

Tonight we ate at Meson Los Gemelos restaurant, which our hotel aide recommended for traditional Canary Island fare. The grey patch at the top of the first picture is sky, as this was an open air restaurant.

Low Resolution Picture Of Inside Meson Los Gemelos Restaurant

Picture 2 is the cup of coffee I ordered. My girlfriend knows the pot of coffee I go through every morning, so when I point out the pen at the bottom of the picture for scale, she should be amused. (I would later learn that this is the norm for coffee here, and it is served espresso style everywhere. So much for relaxing with a leisurely cup or 5 in the morning.)

Low Resolution Picture Of Tiny Cup Of Coffee

I had the onion soup which was fabulous. I'll let Dad tell you about his asperagus later. For our main dish, we both ordered sirloin steak served Canary style (picture below). Let me tell you, that was the finest steak with fried onions and banana that I have ever had. Yes, you read right ... BANANA. The banana is Tenerife's principal crop and export, so it figures that it would work it's way into the cuisine. The steak was fine ... the fried banana was only so-so.

Low Resolution Picture Of Steak Served Canarian Style

More later.
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:49 AM   #8
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 06

Subject: Irish Pub
Date: 5th February 2006 9:53:03 pm

We kept asking at different stores we passed for a location to watch the Superbowl, and finally found Thatchers Irish Pub.

Business Card For Thatchers Irish Pub

Due to popular demand (us and one other couple) the pub will be tuning the satelite receiver in to the Superbowl for some "American-style" football. Here are a couple of pictures of the location. As I'll mention in more detail later, every square inch of real estate is at a premium, and businesses are built on top of each other.

Thatchers' Street Sign

View Of Thatchers Irish Pub From Street Level

(for the Gnetter's with enquiring minds, no, I did not get to check out the Club Vampis Discoteca. More's the pity!)

We are now 6 hours ahead of our homes in the United States, so the local start time of the game is 11:15 p.m. and the pub closes at 2:00 am (8:00 pm your time) but hopefully Pittsburg will have a decisive lead by then.

Go Steelers! (for my brother the renegade Steeler fan and Jerome Bettis.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We went to Thatchers' to watch the game. It was a unique experience. We got a seat right in front of the TV, so that was good. A pair of girls from Washington D.C were the only other serious watchers, although a few Europeans watched for a while trying to figure out how it was played and asking us some interesting questions.

However, there was an entertainer who was playing and singing Irish folk songs, so the sound was off at first. Once he finished up his show, the pub owner put the sound up on the TV, and I was enjoying the british accent of the surprisingly knowledgeable announcer on the UK satellite broadcast. But that's when a very drunk Dutch guy in his early 20's sat down in front of me and started talking to me ... a lot. He thought my San Antonio t-shirt was for some European soccer team, and so I had no idea what his drunken rambling was all about. So I had a hard time watching the game, until he finally got up and staggered away.

At halftime the power went out, and we missed The Rolling Stones halftime performance. One of the beer coolers was blowing a circuit breaker, so once that was sorted out, the TV came back on. But then the satellite could not be restarted, so we watched the broadcast on cable - Sky One - in Spanish!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Third Quarter
Date: 6th February 2006 2:06:59 am

Shortly after Pittsburg scored a touchown on the 75 yard running play, our friend in the Irish pub said he had to close ...

Boo hoo!

.

.

But ...

.

.

.

He told us of a 24 hour pizza restaurant where we could go to watch the rest of the game...

Yeah!



So we got here in time to see Seatle's answering score ...

Boo!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the pic of Compostelana Restuarante and Pizzaria.

Compostelana 24 Hour Pizzaria

So we got to enjoy frosty cold Heineken for the first half and some delicious thin crust pizza for the second half. Pittsburg won so that was alright. YEAH!

Leaving the restaurant at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to make the long trek uphill to our hotel was a trip. We got stopped along the way by two guys handing out flyers with naked women on them. I don't know if the girls were dancers or hookers ... all I know is I was with my Father, so I quickly said "No Thanks!" and moved on. We made it home and were soon in bed and asleep.

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Old 04-02-2006, 03:50 AM   #9
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 07a

We left the hotel to walk downtown, and I took this picture up the hill of the narrow switchback road that leads up to our hotel. A reoccurring theme throughout our trip will be how much real estate is scarce and used economically. Would you park here?

A View Up The Switchback Road Leading To Our Hotel

As we walked downhill, this was my first sighting of the ocean:

Our First View Of The Ocean

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Sent : Monday, February 6, 2006 2:35 PM
Subject : Walking the Beach (part a)

Dad and I spent the day walking along the beachfront of Puerto de La Cruz. We did a LOT of walking. I am glad we are taking a bus tour tomorrow!

We stopped at a lot of little shops along the way, and I bought a DVD disk with videos, 150 photos and music from Tenerife. I also picked up a pendant made of volcanic rock. It has an image of the sun engraved in it and I like the looks of it. Plus it was crafted in the Canary Islands by handicapped people, so my purchase helped them.

The Hand Crafted Pendant Made Of Lava That I Bought

Next was our first close-up encounter with the ocean. Here was an early hint of the beauty this islands coastlines would hold for us:

Lava Rocks In The Surf

Along the beach we also encountered an ancient Spanish fort. I wish we'd have had a tour guide to tell us a bit of history about it.

A Spanish Fort Overlooking The Ocean

Obviously, it was used by the Spanish to defend the coastline here. I could not climb down the outer fort wall to take a proper picture, and the part we could see was integrated into the newer shops and restaurants, so this was the best picture I could take. It was obvious it had been used in the 1700's, as the cannon was imprinted with the year 1733:

Close-Up Of Cannon Inscription

A Little further on, we encountered a walkway boardering the sea. Below it, the large cubes of volcanic rock are obviously a man-made breakwater to stop erosion of the coastline:

Giant Cubes Of Lava Rock Carved And Placed To Form A Breakwater

Here, my Dad steps up to the edge of the walkway to take a picture just as the surf splashes up from the breakwater. I was enchanted by the aquamarine color of the waves:

My Dad Dodges The Surf For That Perfect Photo

We also observed that the large cubes of lava that made up the breakwater also served other purposes:

A Tern Braves The Sea Spray For Breakfast

We walked a bit further down the coast, and encountered this view that hinted at the wide variety of plants and flowers we would see all over this island:

Cactuses And Other Local Flora

(continued next)
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:51 AM   #10
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 07b

Sent : Monday, February 6, 2006 2:35 PM
Subject : Walking the Beach (part b)

After a while we needed a break, so we stopped for an Ice Cream cone and a Coke. The pictures I've attached were all taken in that area. The first two give you an idea of what the black sand beaches and volcanic rock formations look like. The third one shows off some interesting plant life, and the fourth one shows a pair of waterfalls we encountered.

Low Resolution Picture Of Coastline

Low Resolution Picture Of Beach

Low Resolution Picture Of Plants In Front Of The Ocean

A Man Made Waterfall, With Flowers

While the tempereatures have been below average (highs in the low 60's) there are flowers blooming everyhere!

Here is a link to a panoramic picture I took later that gives you a better view of the black sand beach at Playa Jardin:

A Panoramic View Of The Black Sand Beach

TOMORROW WE SEE THE VOLCANO!

More later.
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:52 AM   #11
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 08

Mt. Teide part 1

From my Dad's journal:

We got the wake-up call at 6:30 a.m.. Need to catch the tour bus a block away at 8:10 a.m.. It was sprinkling when we got to the pickup spot. Later on it rained rather hard, but only while we were traveling.

We took a walking tour of part of La Oratava
(an older city on the way up to the mountain - Ed.) that took in a couple of 1700's buildings that are now gift shops.

La Casa De Las Balcanias

A View Down The Alley To The Hillside Beyond

The Historical Marker In Front Of "The Church of the Conception"

La Iglesia De La Concepcion

We visited the government center where a large plaza is located in the front. The celebration of "Corpus Christi" takes place here each year. “Corpus Christi” originated in the 13th Century and is a festival traditionally symbolising the Christian Eucharist that takes place on the Thursday (usually in May) following Trinity Sunday. The floor of this plaza is decorated in mural-like panels carefully crafted in fine detail from colored sand and seeds. The art work is beautiful. The people then dance the night away on these transient works of art, destroying them in the process. This celebration is recreated every year with a new theme and artwork being selected each year.

An Example Of The Floral Tapestry From 2005

You can see some excellent photos from the 2003 celebration here:

http://www.knmultimedia.com/corpus_christi_2003.htm

We also saw some women engaged in the making of the world renowned Spanish Lace inside "La Casa de Las Balconias". It is intricate and painstaking work, and it is all done by hand. I have a new appreciation for the patience and artistry involved in the making of this delicate cloth.

The island is very hilly, the roads are quite narrow and winding, and no matter where you are on the tour you have a great view. Some views however, are just awesome and inspiring. While it was raining we saw the most intense rainbow I have ever seen over the valley below us. It came right down on houses way below us at either end. Beautiful. No place to stop and take a picture, unfortunately.

We drove around the island going higher and higher, always seeing more inspiring views - the ocean below us on one side and mountain peaks above us on the other side. We progressed above the tree line and above the clouds although there were more clouds above at the higher peaks. We began seeing patches of snow and eventually we got to places where it looked like it had snowed last night. Mount Teide was snow covered at the peak, and the top was cloud covered as well.

The scenery is surreal and one could take picture after picture and still not be satisfied. A portion of "Planet of the Apes" was filmed here and I can see why. It is not earthly looking. The tour guide suggested that it looked like a landscape on the moon. Other portions of that film were filmed on the island of Lanzarote, and in the nearby African country of Morocco.


The Surreal Landscapes Near Mt. Teide

Another View Of A Lunar-Like Landscape
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:53 AM   #12
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 09

Continuing from my Dad's journal:

Mount Teide is a volcanic cone which formed on the north rim of a very large crater 170,000 years ago. It last erupted 200 years ago. The original crater covers 48 square miles and developed 500,000 years ago.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Sent : Tuesday, February 7, 2006 7:34 AM
Subject : Mt. Teide part 2

We're on the bus tour of Mt. Teide (the heighest mountain in Spain) and we've seen a church built in 1788 and stopped at a local resturaunte for Hot Chocolate made with cognac or brandy, fresh cream and chocolate (locals call the drink "La Boomba") along with some cake.

It's a good thing we had a hot drink, because our next couple of stops have been much farther up the mountain. Dad estimates that the windchill at one stop was in the "teens" (Farenheit) . And you were jealous about the tropical paradise we are visiting. Good thing we ended up settling the debate this morning by deciding to bring a jacket.

We're near the top, and I'm attaching to this and the next e-mail a few pictures. While we are above some of the clouds, there is another layer of clouds further up the mountain. So you can see from the pictures that the peak is obscured by clouds. Other features we have been impressed by are the many surrounding hills, the volcanic formations and lava pathways.

Here are links to a couple of higher resolution pictures I took with the digital camera:

Tourists Climbing An Unusual Rock Formation

A Scenic View Of A Snow Dusted Peak

Here is a link to a panoramic photo of Mount Teidi rising up into the clouds:

Wide-View Of Teide's Peak, Disappearing Into The Clouds

Next we are stopping at a local resturaunt near the peak for lunch. I'll let you
know how that goes.
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:54 AM   #13
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 10

Sent : Tuesday, February 7, 2006 7:37 AM
Subject : Mt. Teide part 3

Map Of Parque Nacional Del Teide, With Restaurant Teide Location Highlighted

This picture is the resturaunt were we are eating. Our tour guide calls it "Pepe's Place." I would have taken more pictures here, but the wind outside is just too brisk!

Low Resolution Picture Of Restaurant Sign And Entrance

-----------------------------------------------------------

Sent : Tuesday, February 7, 2006 10:19 AM
Subject : Mt. Teide part 3

Lunch at Resturaunt Tiede in "Las Canadas del Tiede" featured traditional Canary fare. I had a kind of hard roll, Canarian vegitable soup (onions, carrots, cabbage and peas), some small whole potatoes that appeared to have been prepared or cooked in brine (the skins were very salty) and chicken in salmorejo sauce (falling off the bone tender). All was enjoyed with a local red wine (not sweet at all) and then I had some mousse for desert. Very fine fare and very filling indeed!

Here is a link to the RECIPE for the potatoes ("Papas Arrugadas") and the Mojo sauces you serve with them. I liked these a lot:

http://www.discoverlanzarote.com/papas_arrugadas.asp

We were supposed to go a little higher to an ideal photography location, but when we got there we encountered high gusting winds. The bus driver was concerned that the wind was driving pelting rocks into the windows, and he thought it might break out a window. To be honest, I could have taken some great pictures there, but did not think it was worth getting stoned to do it. So I suppose I will buy a postcard or two to remember the view.

(I searched for and found the following pics on the internet when I came back)

Mount Teide's Majestic Peak

Another View Of Teide's Peak

I was disappointed to learn that several years ago they discontinued allowing people to take cable car rides up to the peak, so we couldn't do that. I was also disappointed that the tour did not include a stop at the Russian observatory here, but I suppose you can't include everything in one day.

By the way, when you're driving down a mountain and you go through thick clouds, it's just like fog. Also, if you ever go up a mountain, be SURE to bring a jacket. I almost decided to leave mine in my room ... and that would have been a big mistake!

more later...

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Old 04-02-2006, 03:55 AM   #14
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 11

Sent : Wednesday, February 8, 2006 12:52 PM
Subject : Wednesday

Monday we went on a walking stroll of the city of Puerta de La Cruz's shopping district and beachfront. Tuesday we took a bus tour up Mt. Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Thursday we will fly over to Lanzarote to see the geothermal marvels of that island. So what did we do today? Not much.

The Restaurant Casa Pablo

Another View Of Casa Pablo

We did walk down the hill a bit to have lunch at "Casa Pablo." The grilled tuna was okay, the onion soup was disappointing (after the wonderful bowl I had at Los Gemelos the other night) but the salad, potatos and bread were good. We've had the bread (always a longish hard-roll type loaf called a "bocadillo" here) served several times with a garlic spread we both like. And again the potatos appear to have been boiled in a brine solution which makes the skin very salty. I like that too.

(The menu was in English, French and German. This is the norm in the Canary Islands, and in fact, later in the week we would see menus with up to 6 languages on them. - Ed.)

Casa Pablo menu side A

Casa Pablo menu side B

(I was so impressed with the local people's versatility with languages. It makes me think that the average American is a bit narrow minded in our openness to other languages. - Ed.)

The forecast for today was for showers and possible thunderstorms, but we didn't get much more than some fine drizzle from time to time. At one point it was sunny with no clouds overhead, and we were still getting hit by raindrops.

I took a few pictures with the digital camera down at Lago Martianez. This man-made "lake" or swimming pool is situated right on the coastliine. It is very clean and pretty, but rather than pay the 3 Euros a day to sun on cement decks and swim in chemically treated water, I think I'd frequent the black sand public beaches for free. But, as we said to each other, "It was something to look at." You can see an aerial view of it at the bottom of picture 4 from the previous post titled "A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 03" and here are a couple of pictures:

Inside Lago Martianez

It was a very overcast, on-and-off rainy day ... so you can understand all the empty deck chairs. In fact, we were a couple of the only paying fares at the time we were walking around. But at least we can say we did it, and this picture was worth it!

View Of The City And Mountain Side From Inside Lago Martianez

We came back to our room, and I sat on the balcony to read for a while. After a bit the sun came out, and then a rainbow appeared over our resort, so I took a picture. The rainbows here are incredible, with sharp, vivid colors! A lovely way to settle into the end of the day.

A Rainbow Appeared Over Our Resort

The flight tomorrow to Lanzarote leaves the southern airport after 6:00 a.m., so our bus picks us up at 3:35 ... in the morning. We have a 2:00 a.m. wake-up call scheduled, so I am going to try to go to sleep early; the operative word in that sentence being "try." Ah well, I can sleep on the bus and the plane. Should be exciting!

More later...
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:56 AM   #15
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 12a


Sent : Thursday, February 9, 2006 1:59 PM
Subject : Lanzarote! part 1a

2:00 a.m. is a beastly hour to be about. I did manage to get a little over 4 hours of sleep, so that's something.

So we caught our bus at 3:35 a.m. and it took almost 2 hours of bus travel, including stops to wait for passengers, to get to the southern airport of Tenerife.

After processing through one of the smallest national airports I have ever been in, we took a small bus to our plane. About 45 minutes later we were wiping the sleep (or lack thereof) from our eyes on the fire island of Lanzarote.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From http://www.casabuenafortuna.com/lanzarote.htm -

Timanfaya National Park – The Fire Mountain

If sightseeing isn’t very high on your agenda. Make an effort to go to Fire Mountain. The views to be had are truly unique to this island.

Formed between 1730 and 1736, when more than 30 separate eruptions devastated the landscape and destroyed many local villages. The last eruption was in 1824. Though proof of the volcanoes activity is still seen by the demonstration on the mountain. A short coach trip around the national park will allow you to see the strangest of landscapes, with stopping points to get all your photos.

------------------------------------------------------------

From www.lanzarote.com -

Timanfaya National Park

The Park is a monument to the untameable force of nature. The massive volcanic eruptions which lasted from 1730 until 1736 spewed rivers of fire and clouds of black ash leaving a dramatic landscape of twisted lava, destroying 9 villages and burying 13 further in cinders. The violent explosions could be heard from hundreds of kilometres from the island and was one of longest and most devastating of the world. Prior to the eruption, the south of Lanzarote was a fertile place of vineyards, agriculture and cattle farming.

They say that Nasa showed the astronauts of the Apollo 17 photos of Timanfaya Park’s lunar landscape to prepare them for the moon.

-----------------------------------------------------------
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:56 AM   #16
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 12b


Sent : Thursday, February 9, 2006 1:59 PM
Subject : Lanzarote! part 1b


It was a long and amazing day, and I will send some pictures along in this and the following e-mails to show a few highlights. Yes, we rode a camel. I did get some pics with the digital camera, and Dad bought a couple copies of the oficial photo of us together on the camel, but you will have to wait to see those. You really can't hold onto and focus your pda cellphone camera at the same time you are trying to stay on to your camel!

(Ed. - Actually, here are the camel pics!)

Our Camel, Up Close And Personal

Dad And I Riding The Camel

A Caravan Of Camel Riders

And you really do have to hold on. It's not easy to describe the herky-jerky motion that a camel ride entails, but is it really hard to stay in your seat ... especially going down hill. The best way to describe it is to think (while you look at the picture below) that each seat is swinging around in a "figure 8" motion, and the two seats are reversed "figure 8's" from each other ... in other words, when the camel's step threw my seat forward, my Dads seat lurched back. And we were both fascinated by how their feet work ... kind like a very flexible snowshoe that spreads out 25% upon contact with the ground. And up close, the camel is an ugly and goofy looking animal. Needless to say, a 15 minute ride was plenty for us. But, I CAN now say I've ridden a camel!

(Ed. - Also, here are a couple of pictures of the surreal landscape we were starting to encounter)

A Volcanic Field With Hils In The Distance

Another View Of A Lava Field

--------------------------------------------------------------

As I've mentioned earlier, "Planet of the Apes" was filmed here. Looking at those photos should give you an idea why, as well as some insight into the following from www.lanzarote.com:

Lanzarote´s lunar landscape provided the ideal setting for many successful films. Scenes from the movie 'One Million Years B.C.' from 1966 were shot in the national park of Timanfaya. Keen movie enthusiasts, or indeed Rachel Welch fans will recognise the green lagoon as that of El Golfo.

Other notable movies filmed on Lanzarote:

• Moby Dick. 1956
• When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. 1972
• Journey to the Centre of the Earth 1976
• Doctor Who TV Series (The Caves Of FIre) 1984
• Enemy Mine. 1986
• The Search for Treasure Island. 1997

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Old 04-02-2006, 03:58 AM   #17
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 13


Sent : Thursday, February 9, 2006 1:59 PM
Subject : Lanzarote! part 2

Besides riding the camel, we went to a research center at Timanfaya where they demonstrated the geo-thermal features of the island. The signs and brochures for this place all feature a line sketch of a simplified devil-like character welding a pitchfork over his head in both hands. It is very appropriate.

The Ticket For Entrance To Timanfaya

I got handed some freshly dug gravel which turned out to be 170 degrees Farenheit (you have to specify that, as opposed to Celsius, here). I was told if I dropped the gravel, I would owe the worker a drink. Well, nobody got to wet their whistle on me today, although I did have to juggle a bit.

Handling Hot Gravel, Fresh From The Hot Ground

We had several demonstrations of the intense heat just below the surface. These next pictures are from when one of the workers threw a piece of brush in a hole, and it burst into flames rather quickly.

Low Resolution, A Crowd Watches The Brush Catch Fire

Fire In The Hole

These next pictures are from when the worker dumped a bucket of water down another hole and it immediately blasted back out of the hole as steam!

Thar She Blows!

Here next are a couple of views of some fields, to give you an idea of what all that volcanic activity left this place looking like. Parts of it look like you are on the moon. Of course, the islands that make up the archipelago owe their very existance to volcanos.

Low Resolution Picture Of Another Lava Field

One Of The Strangest Landscapes I Have Ever Seen


Then we stopped at a "bodega" or winery. We got to sample a little of the local product, and it was goooooood! This picture shows you how they manage to grow grapes in this enviroment. The holes are where they dig down through the most recent volcanic ash and rubble to reach fertile soil. The holes are about five to six feet deep and ten to fifteen feet across. The bricks along one side act as a windbreak. It really is an ingenious solution.

Low Resolution Picture Of A Canarian Vinyard

Another View Of How Grapes Are Grown On Lanzarote

And here is a panoramic picture of the bodega:

Bodega Suarez

Then we had lunch at Restaurante Yaiza where the Canarian soup was excellent!

(to be continued)
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Old 04-02-2006, 03:59 AM   #18
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 14

Sent : Thursday, February 9, 2006 5:07 PM
Subject : Lanzarote! part 3

Near the restaurant, Dad wanted to buy a volcanic mineral rock. So this picture is of him making a deal with the seller. the rock he bought is called Olivina, and is lava on the outside and colored glass on the inside.

Dad Haggling With Mineral Rock Dealer

After lunch we stopped a number of places, including a place where the view of the coastline was fantastic. I noticed again that tremendously beautiful aquamarine color of the water. Dad says it's the same color you see in the water on the coastlines of Acapulco and Cancun. These pictures are from there.

A Black Sand And Lava Coastline

Waves Crashing On The Rocks

A Seaside Hut Before The Waves


Then we stopped by a little roadside souvenir shop. The most remarkable thing about this shop is the giant cactus statue out front. Now it's true that there are lots of cactuses growing in the Canary Islands, as well as palm trees, geraniums, orchids, etc.. But why a giant cactus statue? I don't know. All I do know is that I had to have my picture taken in front of it ... hence, these pictures!

Low Resolution Picture Of Me In Front Of Cactus Sculpture

Giant Metal Cactus And SUV (for scale)

(next up - a little culture!)

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Old 04-02-2006, 03:59 AM   #19
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 14b

A little local culture from The Lanzarote Gazette (February 2006 issue) - www.gazettelive.com :

ISLAND NAME CALLING

The Brits call the French "frogs"; the French respond by talking about the "rosbifs". Everyone's got their own nicknames for locals or outsiders and Lanzarote's no exception. "Guiri", "Godo" or "Conejero", what flavor are you?

What A Guiri Might Look Like

CONEJEROS
While the word "Lazaroteno" is the correct term to refer to someone born and bred on Lanzarote, most Canarians prefer to use their own nicknames for islanders.

As a result, Fuerteventurans are called "majoreros", which means "the oldest ones", in reference to their island's claim to have the most ancient Canarian civilization. Tenerifenos are called "chicharreros" after the small fish that formed their staple diet. Lanzarote islanders are proud to be known as "conejeros". The word means "rabbit hunters" and harks back to the days when island life was a perpetual struggle to find food and water.

The rabbit is about the only wild animal worth eating on Lanzarote, and hunting for it is a long-standing tradition that still takes place today. However, that's not the only reason. Lanzarote men are proud to be conejeros - "rabbit" is also a term for the female private parts in Spain, giving the nickname a more raunchy double meaning!

GUIRIS
If you're reading this article, chances are that you're a "guiri" (pronounced "girry"). It's the term used throughout Spain for Northern Europeans, usually tourists, who are easily identified by their pale or bright red skin, fair hair and general cluelessness. You may have lived here for 30 years, survive on gofio and papas, and be able to say which Saint's day it is on any given date, but if you're over 5ft 8in and have hair mouse-brown or fairer, you'll still be a guiri. Come on, you didn't really think that after 30 years of serving Brits and Germans in bars, cleaning their hotel rooms, and doing night classes to learn our impossible languages, they wouldn't have a name for us, did you?

(continued next)
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:00 AM   #20
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 14c

More local culture from The Lanzarote Gazette (February 2006 issue) - www.gazettelive.com :

ISLAND NAME CALLING (continued)

MORE ABOUT GUIRIS

Nevertheless, "guiri" is hardly ever used maliciously, and foreigners in the know are usually happy to join in the joke. An English-language comedy club in Barcelona, for example, has named itself "The Giggling Guiri" - a nod to the city's thousands of ex-pats, who realise it's better to be a guiri and proud than to take umbrage. The origins of the name are mysterious, but most believe it dates from the Carlist wars of the 19th Century, when northern mercenaries were brought into Spain to fight for Queen Cristina. In the Basque country, these cristinos were known as guiristinos, which was later shortened to guiri. Canarian author Benito Perez Galdos referred to guiri troops in one of his novels at the time. However, others claim the word comes from the Welsh coal miners who travelled to the Basque country and Astrurias to lend their expertise to mining operations there - "gwr" is a common Welsh term meaning "man".

GODOS
While "guiris" is not an insulting term, "godos", a Canarian word for mainland Spanish folk, certainly is. The word means "Goth", and they're not talking about Marilyn Manson fans who hang around graveyards wearing black. The Goths were the original Germanic tribe who swept through Europe and into Spain, and their tendency to invade places and impose their culture is the reason for this name.

Canarians use the word to talk about snobbish, superior mainlanders who come to the islands and treat the locals as if they're barbarians. "Godos fuera!" - "Goths Out!" - is also a popular slogan among supporters of Canarian independence, who resent being ruled from Madrid.

Of course, we've only touched the tip of the iceberg here, and there is plenty of other terms in regular use on the island, as you'll soon find out if you're involved in a traffic accident!

---------------------------------------------------

(next up - JAMEOS DEL AUGUA!)
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:01 AM   #21
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 15

Sent : Thursday, February 9, 2006 6:00 PM
Subject : Lazarote! part 4

When we traveled around the island, we noticed two things; there's a wide variety of terrain types here and all the local villages feature little square white houses with green shutters. Here's a photo of one of the villages we passed:

A Hillside Village

The colors may be used due to the ancient superstitions of fishermen, who thought this paticular color green to be lucky. Also, white and green both do well in reflecting heat, so it may help to keep their buildings cooler. They seem to take this very seriously. We saw one business with blue shutters and trim, and I noticed as our bus passed it that the building was up for sale.

-------------------------------------------------------------

From http://www.casabuenafortuna.com/lanzarote.htm -

Jameos del Agua – The Water Hollow – Magic Caves

These caves are well worth the visit. Jameos del Agua was formed over 3000 years ago. The Jameos (translates as ‘hollow’) was formed as a result of gas explosions within a volcanic bubble, and over time the seawater has filled the tunnels until as now a lagoon has been formed. The lagoon is home to thousands of tiny albino blind crabs. The lagoon with its turquoise water is a real must to see.

------------------------------------------------------------

The Ticket For Entrance To Jameos Del Augua

Next up we traveled to JAMEOS DEL AUGUA. This site featured a couple of things. The main attraction is an underground volcanically formed cave that hosts a lake. It really is gorgeos to look at, and pictures below attempt to capture a glimpse of that natural beauty.

The Volcanic Cave Formation

A Picture From Inside The Cave

Looking Through To The Other Side

People are forbidden from throwing coins into the water. To quote the brochure, "The corrosion of the coins thrown into the lagoon endangers the lives of the blind white crab (Munidopsis Polymorpha), unique in the world and exclusive to this volcanic tube." I tried to see the crabs and could not, but Dad said he saw them.

(next up - Casa de Las Volcanes and ending our excursion on top!)

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Old 04-02-2006, 04:02 AM   #22
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 16

Sent : Thursday, February 9, 2006 7:00 PM
Subject : Lazarote! part 5

When we climbed up out of the volcanic cave/lagoon at JAMEOS DEL AGUA, we found a manmade lagoon. It's very pretty, but I don't know what it had to do with anything else there. Nevertheless, here is a very pretty picture of it.

The Manmade Lagoon

Then we went up a staicase to ground level and toured the "Casa de Las Volcanes." Think of the Museum of Science and Industry, only exclusively covering volcanos, and you get an idea of what this place was like. There were lots of diaramas and maps where you could push different buttons to turn on lights representing volcanic activity around the globe from different eras. There was a plastic mountain-shaped triangle that featured animated lighting to illustrate the lava flow through an erupting volcano. Finally, we did encounter tv monitors featuring real video footage of actual volcanic action, but by then I was pretty bored and ready to move on. I have attached two photos from here; one of a photo near the entranceway and one where I posed in front of one of those "infinite hallway of mirrors" setups. What this thing had to do with anything else I don't know, but I had fun with it!

Lanzarote, Una Isla Volcanica

Thanks To A Couple Of Mirrors, It's Me ... And Me, And Me, And Me, etc.

Finally, we travelled to "Peatas del Chache", the tallest elevation on the island. At 671 meters, it doesn't come anywhere close to the granduer of Mt. Teide (3718 meters), but the view was spectacular anyway and you could see the land all the way to the ocean. Below are several picture to give you an idea. It seems amazing to me that the one island out of the seven Canary Islands that has the most volcanic activity does not even have a mountain!

A View Of The Beautiful Landscape With Cloud Shadows

A View To The Sea

Remember how I've mentioned how real estate is at a premium in the Canary Islands. Well, that applies to farmland as well. In this next picture, taken from the same location, you can see the tiered plateau system that allows the locals to make farmable plots most the way up the sides of hills and mountains.

Tiered Farm Plots, Carved Into The Hillside

Well, then it was time to go back to our resort. On our way back to the airport, we passed a spanish castle:

A Spanish Castle

So, three buses, one plane and about 3 hours later, we were back. It was the short end of a long day, and for supper we walked across the street from our hotel to a british-style Fish and Chips restaurant. No, I did not have the Mushy Peas or the Steak and Kidney Pie! The fish and chips were filling and we headed off to bed.

The Fish And Chips Restaurant

Tomorrow is going to be a very boring day ... I have to do laundry. Boo!
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:03 AM   #23
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Sent : Friday, February 10, 2006 6:00 PM
Subject : Friday

Well, Friday was pretty uneventful. There are no scenic pictures to attach as we didn't go see anything new. We did eat lunch at McDonalds. Do you remember John Travolta's speech from "Pulp Fiction", the one about going to McDonalds in Europe? Well, it's true. Since they use the metric system here, there's no quarter pounder. Here it's la royale grande. Also, there is no super-sizing your meals.

Then I washed clothes in the hotel laundry room. Figuring out the operation of those machines is an illustration in what it is like for a tourist to get around on Tenerife. There are 4 languages spoken here. Spanish is the main language, while most tourists speak English, German and French. This means that many print materials (instructions, brochures, menus, etc.) are in up to 4 languages. So the instructions for the washer and dryer were kept in a spiral binder. When I leafed through to the English page, there were a brief and incomplete set of steps to follow. I ended up having to go to the front desk for clarification. Then, while I was waiting for my clothes to finish, I had 3 other English speaking people ask me the same questions I had to ask at the desk.

This also means that at many businesses here the staff speaks up to four languages. Watching the folks at our hotel's front desk at work is fascinating as they switch from English to Spanish and then to German with ease, consulting with each other when necessary. On the other hand, when we walked down to the market district the other day, we were able to order drinks and sandwiches from a lady who spoke only Spanish, so language isn't really a barrier to the determined!

By the way, appliances are a bit different here. The washing machine dispensed laundry soap into the wash automatically; I did not have to put any soap in myself. Although, the washer and dryer cost me 3 Euros each for one load, so I certaily paid for it! (Convert 6 Euros to Dollars and you'll see what I mean.) Coffee is brewed by infusion in all the restaurants; so a single cup is prepared in seconds and is quite strong. You can routinely hear that telltale "Whoosh" sound when you are dining out that signifies another cup has just been brewed.

Also, there are a lot of energy conservation measures in effect here. The hotel suite only has working electricity when we insert our door card into a special slot on the wall. This prevents people from leaving the lights on when they go out. Of course, it's caused me to forget my room key when I went out once.

Low Resolution Picture Of The Keycard Electricity Slot

The escalators do not operate all the time. I have skipped using them on two occasions in favor of the stairs because I believed they were out of order; now I realise that there is a pressure plate in front of them that controls their operation. So once you walk on the plate, the escalator runs for a set amount of time, then turns off again.

All the automobiles are compact or subcompact models. While they are not all new, I have yet to see one that looked old or like a "beater". Not a speck of rust on any of them. On the other hand, there is grafitti in most of the alleys and sidestreets!

Well, I am going to attach a few pics of things around here. Here is a picture of the bidet in our bathroom, unused during our visit but strangely amusing to me.

Low Resolution Picture Of The Unused Bidet In Our Bathroom

Here is a picture of how you purchase coffee here, in foil pouches (it's quite strong!)

Very Low Resolution Picture Of Local Coffee In A Foil Pack

And here is a view out of our balcony this morning.

Low Resolution Picture Of The View From Our Balcony

Last night we ate at a restaurant named Regulos. Dad had the leg of lamb and I had the beef filet with mango sauce, along with another lovely bowl of onion soup. And I had a lovely red wine from the south of spain. Yum!

Today Dad is planning to sit by the pool and write some more of his journal. I am going to do a little souvenir shopping. Tomorrow, I'm planning on walking downtown and taking a bunch of pictures of the shops and streets. I'm hoping it will approximate a walking tour of the city.

More later.

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Old 04-02-2006, 04:03 AM   #24
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Damn, Ben.

That is going to take hours to go through.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:04 AM   #25
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A TRIP TO TENERIFE - 18

Sent : Saturday, February 11, 2006 11:34 AM
Subject : Saturday part 1

Not much to talk about today ... a lazy day. Well, not so lazy for me, as the
next emails (Trip To Tenerife 21-23) will make clear.

I walked dontown to do some souvenir shopping, and take some more intimate pictures of the local shops and parks with my two megapixel camera. I've been using Mom's four megapixel camera for the spectacular outdoors photos. I'll have hundreds of pictures by the time I head back stateside.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Here I am just going to post a bunch of pictures to approximate a walking tour of the downtown area. For Monday, February the 13th's entry, I will post some of the most extraordinary, gorgeous pictures of the coastline and lava formations.

Looking up the hill from our hotel

Looking down the hill from our hotel

Headed down those many flights of stairs

Walking down to the the downtown area

Looking back up the hill

Peering down a Puerta de La Cruz street to the ocean

A glimpse of the ocean down another street

Some of the streets are tiled stonework like this

The green cross, universal sign here for "pharmacia"

Many merchants here display their wares on the sidewalk

El Restaurante Tic Tac - because the name amused me

Another example of the dense use of real estate

Just walking down the street

There are flowers hanging from balconies everywhere

And palm trees abound everywhere you look

(more)
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