Charter trip to the Canary Islands Tenerife 2001
Photos from my trip to the Canary Islands with "Ving".
To see the photos, click at the index to the left.
Our clock rang at 5 am and we went up. It was unusually easy to wake up Wilfred this morning. Today was it only 12 degrees below zero, which was 5 degrees warmer than yesterday. Not too much snow to sweep off the car. We drove to Sandared where we picked up our friend Mikael Svensson. We parked at the long-time parking lot and checked in at the airport of Landvetter and departed at 8:30. Five hours flight to the Southern airport of the Canaries Island Tenerife.
We were met by a temperature which was about 40 degrees higher than at home. There were many buses sent out to meet the flights, not only from Vingresor. The tour from the airport was quite short and just before we arrived at hotel Aguamar in Los Cristianos, there was a short but heavy rain. We got an apartment with a large living room, but ridiculously small bedrooms.
We went to a supermarket and bought some breakfast and a salad lunch. Wilfred and Mikael were so tired so they went to bed, but Christina and me went down to the town centre to look around. It was a really touristic place with every kind of possible attraction, shop and restaurant. Of course were a lot of menus written in Swedish, as well as other languages...
In the evening did we all go down to the centre to find a restaurant. After avoiding all restaurant with people who were hired to throw us in, we found a nice little Argentinean restaurant, which was excellent. We noticed later that there were quite a lot of local people who had went there as well.
We started the morning with the welcome meeting with our Ving guide Johanna L. Afterwards did we book two excursions. One to Tejde and one to La Gomera. Otherwise the guide didn't seem to know more than exactly what we could read in their written information. Then we waited for a doctor to arrive, as Wilfred had got tonsillitis. He got a prescription of medicine, which we bought when Christina made some salad for lunch. Afterwards did we spend some time by the hotel pool.
When the dusk had fallen had we decided to walk to Playa los Americas to a Spanish restaurant, but we realised it was too far away, so we went into an Italian restaurant halfway instead. Anyway it was a nice walk by the beach to and from the neighbour village. As it was Christmas eve, some of the restaurants and shops were closed during the evening.
We spent most day by the pool at the hotel. We asked the Ving guide Anna to help us to book a rental car, but it was closed today, so she promised to do it the next day and contact us. As we didn't want to go so far, we went to a Moroccan restaurant "Fes" nearby. It had excellent food, although it was nearly empty with just an English family there as well. The waitress preferred to speak French instead of English. We played a the card game Bohnanza before we went to bed.
After breakfast we waited for a call from the Ving guide but didn't get any. So we went down to Tenerife Sur, but the guide Anna was at the hospital. The other guide was very sneezy and unfriendly when she tried to help to find another rental car, as Avis didn't have any. Finally we got a car next door without any help from the guides and drove away around 10 am on the auto route on the East coast up to the village Guimar.
The last bit was quite curvy up to the village. We entered the museum of the step pyramids, which the Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl had founded. With headphones had we a good guiding through the museum, which mostly is outdoors. We also saw an interesting film about his theories of the connection between the cultures of Egypt, Canaries islands and the Maya people in Mexico. The pyramids were anyway the highlight of the museum. They were laid in a pattern, which showed their knowledge of astronomy. There is also an exhibition of Heyerdahl's experiments with crossing the Atlantic sea with the reed boats Ra and Ra II as well as crossing the Pacific Sea with the Kon-Tiki boats. But my dreams were mostly attracted by the photo exhibition of Easter Islands with its large statues, which he also had been involved with. We ate a lunch with sandwiches from automates. As they were about 4 days old you could only call them fill-ups for the stomachs...
It started a few drizzling when we continued Northwards by Santa Cruz and then Westwards to Puerto de la Cruz. We found a parking house for the car and went to a cafe and ate some sandwiches to get some better food in to us. Then we visited the saltwater basins, which are designed by Cesar Marques. It was a large and nice outdoor pool, where we took a bath in the salt water.
It was nearly 5 pm when Mikael took over the driving and we continued Westward to Icod de los Vinos. There did we find the over 1000 year old Dragon Tree among all the other tourists... It was an interesting trip to get back to the main road again. Unfortunately didn't we find the right road but come too near the coast, so we took a shortcut on a serpentine road up into the mountains. When we finally had reached the main road on the West coast, the dusk had fallen and it was soon dark. The road is more curvy at this side and Mikael couldn't drive as fast as I had done in the morning, but he thought it was quite fun anyway. We arrived in Los Cristianos about 7:30 pm. First we went to a supermarket and then filled up the gas before we came back to the hotel an hour later.
We were met by a message from the Ving guide that Christinas credit card was empty and that we should meet her 10 am in the morning, and that was during the tour, which should have been paid by the credit card! Christina was very worried as she knew that there should be more than enough to cover what we had paid. We were also irritated that she wanted to meet us when the tour had started the day after. Thought she that we shouldn't go on the tour because the payment didn't work or is she only brainless in general?
Anyway we went to Angus Steakhouse nearby as we needed something to eat. We ate pizzas, which were quite "uninteresting", but we got enough to be filled up. We used the credit card of Christina to test it, and it worked perfectly. We noticed at the copy of the slip to the tour that the last digit looked like a 3 instead of 8, which was probably the reason to the error. Anyway we went back to the apartment to get some sleep.
We went up 6:30 am. I went to the car rental to leave the key, but it didn't open until 8:30, so I left the key in the reception at the hotel Tenerife Sur. We went with the Tejde excursion which started at 8:00 am. It seemed to become pretty clear today and we saw the top from the village. Our guide was a Spanish man called Tony. He spoke Swedish fluently, although his accent revealed that he probably never had lived in Sweden. He seemed to be able to talk without interruption all the time. But he know a lot about the islands and the name of plants and everything else we saw along the route.
The first stop was in the small village Vilaflor, which is the highest village on the island. We passed through pine forest and saw the oldest and largest pine tree on Tenerife. There become less and less trees along the road and there were almost none when we entered the crater of Tejde. The landscape was rough and interesting with a lot of cliff formations in all kind of colours. It was less than 100 years since the last volcano eruption, but it's now said to be passive. The colours was mostly red because of iron, green because of copper and black. We also a lot of glimmering rocks, which are made of obsidian, a very hard mineral. It's easy to understand that at least 3 major Hollywood productions has been recorded here. Among them Star Wars. Their is a state hotel, called a paragor, which mainly hosts conferences connected to the research around the volcano. as well as metrological. There are three observatories, a metrological, an astronomical and one seismological.
We made a photo stop where we were able to make a short walk, although most places are protected against human interference. The bus took us up to the cable car, although the wind was too strong today to allow us to go up to the top. We spent some time at the cafe with waffles with whipped cream and chocolate. On the way back did we make another stop beside some well known rough cliff formations. They have been on older 1000 pesetas bills before.
We took another way down through the crater and the area which was affected by the last eruption. It was interesting, but more and more took a nap in the bus. Tony had warned us before that it was common that people fall asleep on the way down, as they arent used to the level differences. The last stop was 10 minutes outside a terrible souvenir shop in Guia de Isora. I couldn't stay there for more than one minute...
After sightseeing around Playa Los Americas to leave some of the other participants, we returned around 2 pm. Back in the apartment I took a nap and read a bit in my book and the other went out in the sun. At 4:45 pm did Christina and I go to the car rental and collect the deposition and then we went to the Ving office. Johanna hadn't arrived yet so we had to wait to see that it was the wrong Johanna. Anyway this girl called the other and she seemed to have misinterpreted the digits, but wasn't able to test it until she was back at the office.
We went back to take showers and Johanna called at 7:30 pm to confirm that it worked perfectly well with the correct number. She sounded to be very sorry for the mistake, which was more than we could say about any of the other guides... Relieved we went to the town centre and ate dinner at a Chinese and Thai restaurant, before it was time to go to bed after some reading.
We slept to after 9 am and then we went to the beach between Los Cristianos and Las Americas. Wilfred preferred to stay at the pool or maybe go up to the roof to sun bathe.
It was slightly cloudy and windy but still nice and warm on the beach. We ate lunch on one of the innumerable restaurant and by avoiding the throw-ins we found a good one. After quite hot sun it become cloudier again on the crowded beach.
We went back around 4 pm and found a cafe with big and creamy cakes, which we couldn't resist. Then we went into a shop who embroidered names and logos on t-shirts. We bought one each to Helen and Caroline as late Christmas presents. Mikael also choose 3 to some of his friends. As it would take some time we went home for a while. Johanna gave us a bottle of wine to repair her mistake with the credit card. A nice gesture, which gave us some hope about the guides. At 6 pm we returned to the shop to fetch the t-shirts, which looked great. We had to wait for Wilfred who wanted to say goodbye to his English friends who were about to leave, then we went to town to find a crepe restaurant. But we had to choose one which only had crepes for dessert.
After dinner we took a walk along the beach walk. Christina decided that she wanted a henna tattoo, which would last for 3-4 weeks. She choose a spider on her ankle and a South-African guy made it for her. Back at the hotel did she have to wait an hour so it would dry enough. I finished my second book for this trip before we went to bed around midnight.
The clock called for awakening at 6:45 am. The bus fetched us for the tour around La Gomera after 8 am, although it was 20 minutes late. No problem to get on the boat in the harbour in time. We mostly stood outside on the catamaran during the 40 minute trip. Inside the boat rocked worse. We got on the bus in the harbour and we had the places in the top front on the double deck bus.
The island is an extremely hilly island. Most road are like serpentines which goes up and down through the valleys and mountains. Christina didn't like the feeling so she moved a bit backwards in the bus. Normally I don't have problems with wavering heights, but I sometimes had a nauseous feeling when I sat above the steep cliff beside the road and more or less lifted unconsciously my feet!
The landscape was really immense and I've never seen something similar. The terraces seemed to be impossible to use as fields and it was impossible to understand how they initially had built all of them. In the middle of the island is the national park Garajonay situated. There are a lot of pines and bushes of heather. The main road to Hermigua had been closed a couple of days before because of heavy rain partially had destroyed the road. so we went on a small road, which our guide Hege thought was more interesting. Although the distances aren't really long it took a long time with a few stops, before we reached Las Rosas and a restaurant where we ate an included lunch meal. After lunch two of the waiters showed how the typical whistle language called "siblo" worked. It was built upon how the Spanish is intonated. Unfortunately there are quite few who want to continue the tradition, as modern things like mobile phones also are invading La Gomera.
We continued on even more curvy roads to a coffee stop at Epine. They knew how to serve a bus full of tourists quickly! Then we entered the national park again. We saw several cliff formations called an egg of Columbus, mainly because of there oval forms. We came in to the pine and heather forest again and made a stop in La Laguna Grande. It was a large circle in the middle of the forest where no vegetation grew. It was used as a recreation area. The forest is known for its magic and witches and in the middle was a stone circle and a large stone around which the witches were said to dance.
Then we went "straight down" to San Sebastian again. We passed the only known remnants of Los Guanches houses, which are the original inhabitants. In San Sebastian did we follow Hege to a catholic church where she made a short guidance before we had an hour of spare time. We shopped a few thing to our last breakfast and walk around a while. I took a photo of Torre el Conde, which is known to be the place where a lover to Christopher Columbus lived.
We went aboard on the ferry again after 6 pm and had a calmer trip back to Los Cristianos. We didn't go with the bus but went directly to the town centre to find a restaurant. We had seen one which seemed to serve "tapas", i.e. Spanish small plates. We were lucky to get the last table and the staff was really nice waiters who joked a lot. We were served 8 different kind of plates. It was really great with a good bottle of Rioja wina, although Mikael and Wilfred preferred beer. We couldn't even eat dessert afterwards. Back at the hotel did we packed our suitcases and spend a nice talkative time, although Wilfred again went down to the pool bar to find some new friends, as most of his old English ones had returned the evening before. We didn't go to bed until midnight.
Up after 9 am and we went to the market after breakfast. It was quite crowded and mostly for tourists. Anyway not a bad way to spend an hour waiting for the airport bus. After noon arrived the bus and we went to the airport. It was astonishingly efficient they succeeded to make all people to check in during a quiet short time. They must have been rehearsing on a few before so we had over an hour to pass in the transit hall. It was impossible to get a place to sit and eat something, so we had to bring something to the chairs at the gates. Christina bought some lilies to decorate our home with.
After a quite uneventful flight home did we arrive before nine to a cold and still snowy Sweden. I went ahead to get the car, which was totally covered by snow. Anyway there were no problem to start it after a week on the parking. First we drove to Sandared to leave Mikael there and than we were home after 10 a.m.
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