Up in the Clouds…
We visited Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. Tenerife is around 800 square miles and has a population of 800,000. Its main economic industry is tourism as over 9 million people visit it each year due to its location as one of the closest island destinations for Europeans.
Our friend, Judith took us all around the island and showed us all of its beautiful scenery and culture. It was quite amazing to see all of the different microclimates on Tenerife from tropical beaches to dense pine forests to barren volcanic landscapes to snow covered mountain peaks. We ventured all the way up to the base of the impressive Mount Teide where we were literally above the clouds. Mount Teide is the third largest volcano in the world and is over 12,000 feet high. It is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1909. For miles around it are the remnants of its last eruptions formed into futuristic looking moonscapes. In one of the areas they had constructed an apocalyptic “Mad-Max” type village and were filming the remake of Clash of the Titans.
As the island is located right off the coast of Africa, it enjoys a warm climate year round. However, it can get lots of sand from the Sahara desert when it is windy. It was quite amazing for us to experience such drastic climate changes in just one day depending where on the island you go to. In the morning we were enjoying the warm, tropical sun and in the early afternoon we were at the base of Teide shivering and looking at snow covered peaks!
We strolled on the old cobblestone streets of Santa Cruz the island’s capital admiring the Spanish architecture that reminded us so much of the French Quarter in New Orleans with ornate wrought iron balconies and large lush courtyards. We also enjoyed a Spanish-style Tapas lunch sampling many Canarian specialties including potatoes in Mojo sauce (so delicious), homemade goat’s cheese and of course the local wine.
Tenerife is a beautiful place. So very different from the Caribbean islands that we are used to. It is modern and clean and prosperous. Unfortunately, after we left it made national news for a horrific crime that occurred right on the streets that we strolled. A 60 year old English female tourist was decapitated by a deranged man while in a busy shopping area. The murderer was a deranged man who chose his victim at random and then stabbed her, cut off her head and ran through the streets with her head while screaming. One can only imagine how horrifying it was for the many people who witnessed it.
Our next stop… Lanzarote!