A Volcanic Retreat (Tenerife, Canary Islands)

This adventure took place before Nepal and Dubai. My first holiday without my family. It was a good chance to get to grips with being in a situation where, if things went tits up, it would be my responsibility to sort it out. In the past, I always had a parent or a teacher to sort things out if there was trouble abroad, but now it would be down to me. Well, me and my boyfriend! He holidays numerous times a year with his family, so he was pretty used to it. It was like having a walk-through of the travel process. It was very useful, as a few months later I would be doing it for myself in Nepal. So off we went - a romantic holiday to Tenerife!

I hate to admit, but I was always put off by Tenerife. I always saw it as a budget holiday because it was always offered by a lot of budget companies. Light research into the island changed my mind, and I found that outside of the Benidorm-esque areas was an expansive geological and historical tale. I wanted to explore this in person, and so we went. This was also a milestone for our relationship - our first couple holiday. So it was all very exciting!

We departed Wales by train at a very early hour, bound for Manchester Airport to fly out. I am by no means a morning person...

We arrived at Manchester Airport in good time, with plenty to spare for exploring the lounge delights. Airport lounges mean one thing: FREE SAMPLES. And so we sampled cocktails, spirits, cheeses, etc. The lot. We also nabbed some spirits for guzzling on the sun-laden balcony!

We boarded our flight, our hand-luggage chiming away with glass bottles. After a long, draughty 4-hour flight, we touched down on the little volcanic island, and hurried ourselves to our hotel, in Golf-del-Sur, Tenerife South. The room was better than we had anticipated. My boyfriend had loaned some points from his parents' holiday club so we were able to zazz it out a bit. We were blessed with a bed that was wider than it was long, full kitchen (not that we'd use it!), marbled bathroom, and a chic living area. The balcony was the best part, and is the only part that is of utmost importance when booking a room for a relaxation holiday. Baby, it fitted the criteria just perfectly.

After admiring the astonishing view and absorbing the fresh air and bathing light, it was time to begin our holiday. We wandered along the coastal path to a small town, abundant with shops and restaurants - yet very peaceful. Everything we needed and more!

One remarkable thing about Tenerife, that is pictured above, is that the sand is black. As black as fish fingers left under the grill for just a moment too long. It sounds quite off-putting, and seems like a sure way to get your feet burnt with all the thermal energy it must absorb. Yet it's strangely cool, and looks rather pleasant close up. It's also very strange to find plants and grass growing out of it too. It's like a different planet, which is a theme common to Tenerife that I'll be sharing you shortly...

A few hours' exploration built up a thirst, which was easily remedied by a timely Happy Hour.

We spent the evening eating out, drinking, smoking and relaxing. And the day after that.

Eventually we decided to head outside Golf del Sur and experience some real adventure. We planned to travel to the island's famous and still active volcano, Mt. Teide. Although the island has been peaceful and unscathed for almost 100 years now, nearing the volcano showed thousands of years of magmatic onslaught, leaving wide vistas of land scorched, resembling crumbled Oreos. Since this destruction occurred long ago, nature has made small attempt at succession, in the way of a few trees.

As we approached the mountain range, the geology and the character of the island took a dramatic twist. We entered a Martian world that could only be competed with by Nevada or Arizona deserts. In fact, this very location was used to bring you films such as Planet of the Apes, Clash of the Titans, Star Wars, and even the Spice Girls video for Say You'll Be There. That last one struck a chord with me!

We hung around here for a while. We certainly did not expect to see something this vast and expansive. I learned that everywhere has it's own beauty, far away from the bright lights, 80's karaoke and 3-euro English breakfasts.

And that is the closest we could get to Mt. Teide. But it was close enough. It was time to go explore a true bonus treasure: a small town called Masca, which is nestled deep in the Teno mountains in North Tenerife. This town was a secret pirate hideout, and it would be one of the most beautiful things I would see in my life, thus far. An entire town balanced on a sharp mountain peak, and circled by a crown of even higher mountains. Masca was only recently made accessible by road, so we took the opportunity. We stopped off at a small coastal town at the foot of the mountains before embarking on the ascend.

And off into the mountains...

Masca was bright with greenery and heaving fruit gardens. It seemed to be booming with tourism, and to no surprise. After spending some time admiring the cliffs, and the teasing view of the sea through the mountains, we headed back to South Tenerife, passing the famous Los Gigantes cliffs on the way...

We spent the rest of the holiday relaxing and melting under the sun, drinks in hand. We got through an awful lot of vodka, and a bottle of Tenerife's special banana liqueur!

We ate out, tried some specialities, and had the odd shisha session!

We tried rabbit paella, which was deeeeeelish!

And even tried Banana pizza, which I have to say, is even better than ham & pineapple! I am determined to make it happen here in the UK!

And in the midst of the fun and experimentation, the holiday came to an end. Our week was up, and it was time to go home. We ate so much over the course of the holiday: mexican banquets, baguettes cemented with chocolate spread and condensed milk paste, chorizo, hams and spiced mayonnaise, tapas, with even more bread. It was all fun and games, until I returned home, stood on the scales and found I had put on 6lbs. Oopsie! That sparked a spell of Atkins dieting, which trimmed off that blissful week of pounds, and more.


Hope you enjoyed the adventure!!!




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