We arrived back from a wonderful week of sunshine and blue skies in Tenerife last week. All we knew about Tenerife prior to booking our break there was that its a popular destination for Brits seeking summer sun during their bleak winter.
After booking we started doing some research, and fortunately, more by good luck than good management, we had managed to book at Puerto De La Cruz, which is towards the northern end of the Island. We absolutely loved it.
The pool in the middle of the complex.
Our self catering apartment at Casablanca was spotlessly clean, comfortable and more than adequate. The weather, which was our reason for going there, didn’t disappoint. The nights were mild allowing for a good nights sleep, but were still warm enough to justify leaving the ceiling fan on low. By 10.30am it had warmed enough that the sun lounges around the pool were beginning to fill up, and yes, we spent some time lazing around there soaking up the sun. Although not a first for us, it isn’t something we would usually do. We’re spoilt for sun in Australia and it’s something we tend to take for granted. After several months of living under the grey skies of England I now understand the Brits desire to lie out in the sun soaking up every bit of it. The evenings were warm and mildly balmy. Short sleeves were definitely the order of both the day and the night.
We were about 20 minutes walk from the sea front and the main shopping area, and walking in the other direction, about 20 minutes from their beautiful botanical gardens. The area is hilly, so with at least two walks each day in one direction or the other we managed to get our daily exercise in.
The flora on the Island was beautiful and almost made me homesick for Australia. Colourful bougainvillea, orange trumpet vine, oleanders, hibiscus, gorgeous ferns, palms and by favourite – elephants ears. The beaches near us were mostly volcanic, so black sand, not inviting for beach walks but still with a beauty of their own, and rock pools and waves provided for an enjoyable beach vista.
We took a trip one day to Loro Parque, a huge wild life park. It was relatively cheap considering what they have there. Orcas, Dolphins, Sea Lions, and Parakeets – all with regular shows throughout the day. Then there’s the normal (and some not so normal) zoo life – penguins, meerkats, white tigers, ant eaters, flamingos and some amazing birds and parrots. It was a good day out.
On our second to last day we hired a car and drove down the more touristy areas at the southern end of the Island. We were so, so pleased we were in Puerto. The southern area seemed so tacky and purpose built compared to where we were staying. Accents in Porta were a mix of Spanish, German, English, (and Australian if you count our own accents), and various other European accents. Down the south of the Island there seemed to be more English accents that anything else. The shopping and eateries around Puerto catered a lot more to the locals than those in the South. In the South everything seemed geared to tourists.
And now onto the driving. Having never driven (or been a passenger) in a left hand drive car, and driving on the right side of the road, it was with great trepidation that we hired the car. People say you get used to it, but in one day, I certainly didn’t. I had thought it would sort of be like driving on the right hand side of a one way street. How wrong I was. Being on the other side of car is weird and I kept thinking we were going to hit the curb. We came close a few times I’m sure. Also, turning into roads takes a lot of concentration to make sure you don’t find yourself driving into oncoming traffic. Then theres the street signs in Spanish to try and decipher. Would we do it again – perhaps in America where theres English signs, but I’m not so sure I’d want to repeat the experience again in a country that’s not English speaking.
It seems very popular here for people to book ‘all exclusive’ holidays abroad. I’m so pleased we stuck with self catering. We found a little local supermarket and bought our yogurt and berries for breakfast, and our salad ingredients for lunches when were home. Most nights we walked into town and meandered down the back, cobbled streets seeking out authentic Canarian restaurants with a local clientele. We found some amazing little places and ate some pretty good food, paying very little for it. One small restaurant that we found there was so, so memorable. The owner who spoke very little English managed to convey to us his recommendations, which we went with. An amazing fresh tuna salad for two, followed by fillet of lamb served on Canarian potatoes, also a dish for two. The lamb…. oh the lamb!! We both agreed it was not only the best lamb we’ve ever tasted, but the best meat dish we’ve eaten – superb.
The restaurant, Bodega Julian, was a very small family run business. Twice throughout the evening the father picked up his guitar and played while his beautiful daughter sang. The song was in Spanish so we didn’t understand a word of it, but her voice was beautiful and we could imagine the words were that of Spanish folk song ballad. We felt so sorry for those tourists that had purchased an all inclusive package deal holiday. They missed out on so much. We felt sorry for them even more on our last day there which was the one and only time we ate at the restaurant in our resort – how very ordinary.