Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tenerife: Island Full of Surprises

One thing I've noticed since living in England is that Brits love Tenerife. I'm not sure if it's the cheap flights, the sunny climate or the fantastic night-life, but they are crazy for this Spanish Canary island. I was a little weary of going to such a tourist hot-spot, but I couldn't resist the cheap flights I found. Plus, a little sunshine in the middle of winter sounded fabulous. Turns out, Tenerife is nothing like I imagined. It far exceeded my expectations.

We stayed in the north of the island in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Dan found a gorgeous resort that was far from all the stag parties and hen dos (bachelor/bachelorette parties) down south. The city was adorable, with tons of great local food and a beautiful park. It rained off-and-on most of the time we were there, but it was fun and relaxing just walking around.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

We also spent some time in La Laguna, a neighboring town. We went in the afternoon and most of the city was shut for siesta. I loved just walking down the streets though and seeing all the gorgeous pastry shops. As we were leaving we noticed the town really starting to pick up. It seems that this island follows the routine of mainland Spain.

One of the main attractions on the island is the Teide volcano. It's an active volcano that last erupted in 1903, and it is the highest point in Spain. You can take a cable car up to the top, but Zoey was sleeping, so we just took a nice scenic drive instead. It was incredibly foggy on the way up--to the point that we weren't sure we'd be able to see anything at all. All of the sudden, we went above the cloud line and it was absolutely gorgeous.

We drove down the mountain toward a town called Santa Ursula. We heard from a couple of people that that's the place to go for good, local food. I got a recommendation for a place called Guachinche El Primero that was supposed to be just past the highway underpass near a gas station. At least that's what I think they said. All of these conversations were happening in Spanish. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how little English there was up north. It didn't feel touristy at all. Fortunately, my high school Spanish carried us through and we made it to the "restaurant." It was definitely a local place--just a few tables and a grill. Maybe not the best spot for vegetarians, but the grilled local cheese and potatoes and eggs were amazing!

More to come from this beautiful, surprising island tomorrow!

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