Arrive around 10:30am.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Staying at an airport overnight is never fun but thinking about going to Tenerife made things a lot better. Tenerife is the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands. We arrived in Tenerife Northern Airport but our hostel is in the south by La playa (beach) de Las Américas , it took us 2 buses around 2 hours to get there. The only thing about south is that it’s too touristy, not exotic enough. We saw burger king, McDonald (of course, it’s everywhere) and even Hooter’s! The guys are actually kind of disappointed that there are so many things that they are familiar with. We got to our private apartment (the hostel) but since we have 5 people, one of us booked a double room but it turned that 5 of us could all stay in the apartment, which is supposed to be for 4 people. So Yan (she is the girl that I met in Spain but who is also from Dalian and study in Oviedo University, she’s also teaching Chinese in the university) and I stayed in the other room for the first two nights then we moved to the apartment for the rest of the trip. Anyway, complicated enough, we got most information about Carnival in Tenerife from the brother of the owner of our hostel. He told us that the parade in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, capital of Tenerife, also is located in the north, doesn’t start until 8pm and there are only kids, grandparents and tourists; local people don’t go. But people do dress up later and go out around midnight, it’s like the whole island is going to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. After settled down, Yan and I went to a travel agency and asked about different stuff we could do on the island. Then we decided to see the Volcano and whales.
Finally it was nighttime. It takes us an hour and a half to get to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Ryan, Mike and me all had costumes but I was the only one that wore it at the beginning. When I first got on the bus in Las Américas, not many people dressed up and I felt like I was the only one but until we got to La Playa de Los Cristianos, we saw more younger people with costumes. I was so happy to see everyone in costume. Unfortunately we were late for the parade, the truth is it started at 7pm. But we could definitely feel that it was Carnival, everyone dressed up and there is a big amusement park in front of the bus station. We just walked along the street (they blocked it for the parade) and enjoy the festival with other people. We didn’t go out either, we were all tired from the overnight layover in Madrid plus we didn’t where to go in Santa Cruz either. We actually never went out in Tenerife.
Yan and I had a good dinner before hand. There is really nothing much typical in Tenerife or I would say Canary Islands. We had mojo con papas as a side dish. Mojo is a typical sauce of the Canary Islands, and is used for seasoning dishes, meats, fish, vegetables, potatoes, bread etc. There is also some special drink on this Island, one is Ronmiel and the other one is basically banana liquor (also a popular brand of this liquor is called “Gobana”). We ordered Ronmiel for dinner. Ron is Rom, miel in English means honey, so this drink is Ron and honey. It tastes very good; I guess I just found another way to drink Rom in the future.
the Carnival Crew
It’s Saturday again. This Saturday is very very relaxed. Yan and I first went to Mercadona—a national supermarket in Spain, we bought food for the trip (so we don’t have to pay more later for food) then we basically just walked along the beach and took lots of pictures. The sky is so blue; the sea is so blue too. Later at night we met up with the others and went for dinner.
Sorry Yan likes to take pictures very very much, thus i also have lots of pictures.
Volcano -- El Teide
On Sunday four of us went to see the volcano—El Teide that locates in Teide National Park. El Teide is the highest elevation in Spain and the islands of the Atlantic. We had to be at one place to catch the bus for El Teide at 8:05 in the morning, that’s one of the reasons that we didn’t go out on Saturday. Yan and I also had to check out in the morning because we were moving to the apartment, it was a busy morning.
It felt warm but windy by the beach, but as we were going up higher and higher toward the volcano, we started to see snow. We can only get to a certain point by bus then we took a cable car to get to the top. There was a sign says temperature -6 °C, so we basically experienced -6 °C to almost 26 °C in one day. It was windy up there as well, but with the temperature and spring clothes it was even worse. The view was awesome. I felt so close to the nature.
On the way back we stopped by a store to taste some local food and drinks from Tenerife. I bought mojo and Cactus jelly. Dinner was nothing special; it was hard to find typical Canarian food. But we tried some special drinks. There is one called “Barraquitos”, it is a coffee specialty from the Canary Islands. It consists of three layers: sweet condensed milk, espresso and milk froth. Sometimes you will find barraquito with a lacing of Tia Maria or Licor 43 and some lemon zest, which is usually called barraquito especial or barraquito completo. I think the one I ordered had Licor 43 and Lemon zest in it. It was really really good, I am going to try to make it someday.
El Teide--you can see how much we wore, it was sooo cold.
Cactus Jelly, I don't know why it is dark red.
Shogun Cruise—Whale and dolphin watching
So Monday four of us went on a small cruise. We were supposed to go to Los Gigantes—a resort town on the west coast of the Canary island Tenerife—to see Acantilados de Los Gigantes, the highest cliffs of the Canaries, while on the way we get to see dolphins and whales, but it was way so windy that day that our cannot make it over there. It was hard to stay stable on the boat too, because the boat moved with the waves... Now I truly know whether I get seasick. Half of the people on the boat felt really sick. But suddenly we found the whales, everyone run to see them then the sickness disappeared. Haha. These whales are pilot whale, which is a member of the dolphin family, and is second only to the killer whale in size. I was so excited to see them. I didn’t take good pictures of them but I have an awesome video of them jumping out of the water!!! It was an adventure to be on this boat, made me feel like a sailor. It’s sad that we didn’t get to the destination. Of course the cruise had food for us, and because we didn’t make it to Los Gigantes all the drinks were free. Yan and I walked back to the apartment while the guys actually took a bus to see Los Gigantes. It seems that that town is very different from the one that we stayed; there is only one hotel there but lots of apartments. Even though I didn’t go there I stole some pictures from the guys!
I got a chance to make it back to the travel agency and asked about where we can find a local restaurant, Alicia—our awesome travel agent told me about this restaurant called “El Gomero”. Alicia was very very nice to us, I feel so lucky to have her as our agent!
We went to “El Gomero”, but we found out the food local people eat has nothing different from most parts of Spain. There is a local dessert though and it’s called Bienmesabe. It’s made from of ground almonds, sugar syrup, cinnamon and lemon zest.
Acantilados de Los Gigantes--what I stole from the guys
Pilot Whale--pay more attention starting the 25th second
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The only thing we did or Yan and I did was visiting Santa Cruz and seeing the last parade. The city is small; we didn’t have a map either. We just walked around Plaza España where the parade started. Of course I wore my costume again. Carnival is a festival for everyone in Tenerife; we saw lots of cute kids with different costume. It’s interesting to see all the costumes in the street. I changed to my costume too! I’m so glad that I got to wear it. I wish I could stay in Tenerife longer or at least long enough to see a whole parade, but too bad our flight was at 7:30pm I was only able to see the beginning of the big parade. Supposedly this parade is from 4pm to 9pm.
See how many people there were
By the way, Tenerife is also famous for its black sand (that's because of the volcano). Fortunately enough, Playa de Las América has black sand! My friend Mike helped me get a bottle of the black sand.
I meant to celebrate Carnival in Tenerife but very sad we didn’t stay in the north other wise we would have experienced more. I wish we could see more of this island’s big festival.
A lot of things happened before, during and after this trip. I was exhausted by the time I got home. But every time I feel better when I look at the pictures.
It’s also a long trip, it took me a while to recall all the things we did. But it seemed to me that we didn’t do too much. Oh well, at least I know I went to Tenerife, I saw the volcano, I saw the whales and I saw the parade.
More pictures in the photo gallery.
By the way, I don’t feel that I did a good job on writing this time, sorry about that.