The Magic of Tenerife – It’s Easy to Discover

Posted: October 12, 2009 in Life, Nature, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s easy to view Tenerife in one dimensional terms, as little more than a purpose built tourist resort. That’s the way it’s presented both wittingly and unwittingly in a variety of mediums. However, all anyone needs to do to discover otherwise is to venture forth from their resorts. Just about every time I drive on Tenerife’s roads (the old ones, not the TF motorways) I see something which brings a smile to my face and reminds me how ‘different’ Tenerife actually is.

It isn’t just on Tenerife that you only discover the magic of the place by getting out and about, and it isn’t just Tenerife that has holidaymakers who rarely leave their resort.

The first time we went to Sri Lanka the civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese Army had flared up. On arrival at our hotel we were given a F.O. memo advising us not to leave the hotel’s grounds. One woman broke down in tears, she had no idea that the country was in the grip of a civil war.

Anyhow, we’d been following the situation for some time and had spoken to the Sri Lankan Embassy in London and knew that it was only certain areas which were badly affected and we weren’t in one of them. So, as soon as we recovered from jet lag, we walked out of the hotel and went on a voyage of discovery into a land where very little seemed familiar. One of the many things which really gave us a buzz was the sight of giant monitor lizards lumbering along in the ditches and pools at the side of the road, some as big as crocodiles. They were everywhere.

The reason I mention this is that later in our holiday we went on a coach excursion. At one point the coach stopped and a local man stood at the window holding up one of these ancient looking monitor lizards in his hands. Nearly everyone in that coach jumped up from their seats and ran out to take photos of the big lizard, for which the man charged a small fee.

It was a stupid thing for the visitors to do for a couple of reasons.

  1. It would encourage more men to catch monitors to earn ‘easy money’ from the tourists, not a particularly pleasant development for the lizards.
  2. If they’d only stepped outside of their hotels they would have seen dozens of the damn things where they should be, in the wild.

That’s only one little example, but I could apply the same sort of thing over and over again to everywhere we’ve visited in the world, Tenerife included.

The Sea of Clouds Hugs the Mountain Slopes

The Sea of Clouds Hugs the Mountain Slopes

On Saturday we sat on the edge of an abyssal ravine looking down on Costa Adeje. It was a spot of sobering contrasts. Above us loomed a cliff face 7 million years in the making and below us a resort which was younger than I am by some distance. Sitting on those gnarled rocks it felt as though I was looking into the future from the past. It was odd to experience such contrasting sides of the island in one vista.
Later, as we drove through the hills, we passed a gathering of hunters and their families holding a party in a small churchyard beside a statue of Hermano Pedro, the Canary Island’s one and only home grown Saint. As we left the pine forest above Vilaflor, a blindingly white sea of clouds hugged every nook and cranny in the undulating slopes; it was spectacular. Crossing the Teide Crater, the low evening sun made the landscape so sharp that I fancied it was clear enough to see a lizard scuttling on Mount Teide’s summit which was framed by an impossibly intense deep blue sky. Descending from Aguamansa we became caught in a traffic queue caused by a troop of caballeros (horse riders) who wouldn’t have looked out of place in Brokeback Mountain (not that I’m suggesting they were gay).

Mount Teide, Sharp as a Pin in the early Evening Sunlight

They were all little things, little magical things which were unique to the real Tenerife and which would never be seen from the inside of a hotel complex.

  1. pegasus says:

    Bravo…… well said.

    That day I was at the top of Mount Imonde at the back of Ifonche looking down at the sprawl of the South and then back up to the majesty of Teide and drawing similar conclusions.

    Well done.

  2. Hey there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

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