Walks Blog – Jul 2016

A Stroll Around Granadilla
We headed inland and uphill earlier for a very first quick look around the town of Granadilla de Abona. It seems a functional kind of place, but pretty in parts …
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/6kHG1e , 31st July, 2016










Nitrato de Chile
Today we had an interesting lunch-time stroll around the old hill-town of Granadilla de Abona. On the old North-South highway, it has been an important centre of agricultural production for centuries. This advert caught my eye. It was certainly made to last, being painted onto glazed tiles. In fact, it has lasted long after the demise of the product it portrays! The Chilean nitrates (mining) industry was dominant in the world for over 100 years, until a rapid decline in the 1930’s as artificial fertilisers took over the market. Now, less than 0.1% of nitrates come from Chile … 
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/e6I5up , 31st July, 2016


Malpais de Rasca
A walk westwards from Silencio and Las Galletas, today took us to the malpais (badlands – volcanic rock and scrub) of the southern-most point of the island and, in the midst of it, a huge banana plantation … 
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/UxQ1y7 , 29th July, 2016









South to Punta Salema
Today we took a long hike from Las Galletas through the arid Malpais de Rasca (“Badlands”), past the most southerly point on the island at Punta Salema, to the Rasca Lighthouse. It’s a beautiful but desolate spot, with intense blue seas and racing “white horses” on one side, desert scrub in the foreground, backed by the spectacular jagged volcanic peaks of the Southern Highlands. There was no shade along the way, but a strong, cooling ocean breeze made all the difference! All the same, on our return to civilisation, we headed straight for the little beach near the harbour to soak our dusty feet!  …  
More info about some of Tenerife’s interesting and unusual lighthouses here … http://blog.tenerife.co.uk/lighthouses-tenerife/
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/tUyGKS , 29th July, 2016






In the Eye of the Beholder
Unfairly castigated by some, Costa del Silencio may indeed have it’s share of ugly carbunkles, but the streets and gardens here are full of beautiful cultivated flowers …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/A86JAL , 28th July, 2016











The Two Faces of South Tenerife
Very different views caught our eyes in the south tonight … 
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/a0LHUU , 28th July, 2016








Chillin’ in the Summer Heat
It’s summer-time hot here now, so big walking “expeditions” are on hold. Instead, we’re taking it easy and enjoying the views from our place in the Orotava Valley tonight …   
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/rWTjoM , 27th July, 2016








Good Food – Guachinche Style
On Thursday evening we were delighted to join our Canarian friend, Gema, her family and some friends for a meal in a Guachinche – La Huerta de Ana y Eva in La Matanza, North Tenerife. Thank you, Gema!     A Guachinche is difficult to describe, but it is usually a fairly rough and ready, rustic restaurant that may be in someone’s garage, out-houses, and/or garden. They serve a limited menu of traditional “typico Canario” food and country wine, and usually have large bench-like tables that can accommodate big family gatherings. You might think the name has its origins in the original, native Guanche language, but apparently not. It’s a bastardisation of English and dates from a time when British merchants used to buy wine and produce direct from country folk (magos) in the hills above the north coast. As the magos prepared the order, the merchants would say ‘I’m watching you’. Whether that was out of interest or to make sure they weren’t being short-changed is unclear, but over time, ‘wat-ching-you’ became ‘wah-cheen-chay’. In guachinches, carafes of wine tend to be replenished on tables without asking, and it certainly looks, in this photo, like I have enjoyed a liberal sufficiency of both food and vino … which I can’t deny … !  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/59nppZ , 23rd July, 2016


Yellow Peril
The seven islands are “enjoying” their first real calima since we arrived…. Sand blows across from the Western Sahara and Morocco bringing high winds and extremely high temperatures. Also, everything and everyone turns a sandy brown colour for a few days! On Tenerife, the south is particularly affected …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/6Jn8iN , 20th July, 2016




Stunning Street Art in Puerto de la Cruz
I’m biased, of course, but I love the way that the subdued colours and the striking art work seem to balance each other perfectly in Alison’s photo …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/Bneqb4 , 19th July,2016





Fire Alerts
Forest fires on Tenerife have had devastating effects in recent years. Due to the hot, dry conditions at present there have been fire alerts for the last few days. Yesterday, two fires in high forest areas were contained by actions such as these, pictured …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/8aeKbB , 17th July, 2016




High Summer Heat
Puerto de la Cruz shining bright this afternoon. Temperatures just touching 30 degrees C …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/LSUJJf , 16th July, 2016









Yellow Rock – Go Dive!
The southern coast of Tenerife offers loads of opportunities for scuba diving enthusiasts. Earlier this week, we walked up, over, and around the small but perfectly formed Montaña Amarilla near Costa de Silencio/ Las Galletas. This amazing slab of sloping, layered yellow rock has been granted Natural Monument status by the Spanish Government, and the bay beneath it is a Marine Nature Reserve much visited by the various Dive Centres nearby. There are some fantastic underwater rock structures that form part of the original geological formation process that uplifted Montaña Amarilla. You can just make out some of these looking down from the top of the hill but, obviously, underwater is the place to be to see them properly …  
You can see some photos of the underwater environment here:
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/fgq6lJ , 16th July, 2016





Sunny Homecoming
Returning back to our current home in Las Cuevas, the Orotava Valley …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/5NJaua , 15th July, 2016









Green Tenerife – Part 1
Today we walked from the agricultural village of Aguamansa, high up at over 1,000 m (that’s Ben Lomond height … 😳) back down to our place in Las Cuevas (335 m). These pics are from the start point to the village of Pinolere. So as you can see … the urban myth that Tenerife is a dry, arid, desert island can be laid to rest …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/Z0HhcU , 15th July, 2016








Green Tenerife – Part 2
And … From Pinolere to home … 
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/lYntCt , 15th July, 2016








Up and Away with Guagua 345
Today we walked into La Orotava and took Guagua 345 (Titsa bus #345, to El Teide), which weaved its way high on the twist-back road up to the village of Aguamansa where the agricultural terraces of the La Orotava Valley start to give way to pine forests and precipitous mountain peaks. This area, above where we live, has often seemed to be in cloud over the past couple of months, so it’s wise to pick a gloriously sunny day like today to visit! From there, we walked home down the mountain-side, taking a lazy 3 hours with lots of stops to admire the natural world around us. Dragonflies and butterflies of all colours danced around us at every step, drawn by the bright flowers and lush greenery. Crops like potatoes and onions have been picked for weeks now, heaps of hay drying in the sun are everywhere, and little fields of long-stalked wheat look ready for cutting any day (are you old enough to remember when the corn grew high in the UK?!). The green grapes are swelling nicely, and some bunches are beginning to turn to dark red and black. This picture, looking up a typical alley in the village of La Florida, indicates that home-grown onions are available at 1 Euro per Kg …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/1YanWf , 15th July, 2016

Punta de Teno Access Road Collapses!
This is the cliff-side road we took about 10 days ago … thankfully no-one hurt in yesterday’s collapse … !  


Facebook post: https://goo.gl/BFV3jm , 13th July, 2016



Après-Golf …
So after the golf (Alison was caddy (?) and pics snapper) we made it up Montaña Amarillo this afternoon. A nice easy one, it’s not too steep … !  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/xSuDPP , 12th July, 2016








Putting it About at Los Palos
Enjoyed 9 holes at the pretty little Par 3 golf course at Los Palos this morning … today’s excuse was that I neglected to take anything longer than an 8 iron with me, so struggled on some of the “longer” holes, in the breeze … of course, as a seasoned golfer (once upon a time, at least!) I have a whole library of excuses I can reel out at will … 😉
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/qXyWiD ,  12th July, 2016








Date Night Duo
Enjoyed a dinner date with this young lady tonight … she seemed to like me … could have been that complementary glass of Ouzo though …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/Hojkp1 , 9th July, 2016








The Hot South
We’re in El Sur again, in the very south of the island in Costa del Silencio. The temperature is touching 30 degrees C with a nice wee sea breeze. Think we’ll leave the hike up Montaña Amarilla, below, for another day … !  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/HXvObd , 9th July, 2016










Tapas Time
John awaiting his tapas … in La Laguna (can’t have been that chilly?) …
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/5vNSzU , 8th July, 2016





Lagoon Long Gone
We took Guagua 101 to La Laguna today for some shopping and sight-seeing. It’s a beautiful, vibrant and cosmopolitan university city close to Santa Cruz. Much higher altitude, though, so a little chilly …!  Facebook post: https://goo.gl/gEJUBx , 7th July, 2016










Tram Time
Today, our shopping trip to La Laguna by bus also took in a ride on the tram system that connects the harbour area in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Santa Cruz to the centre of the old, historic capital of the island, (San Cristobal de) La Laguna, 12 km away and over 600m higher in altitude, with a much cooler and cloudier microclimate. La Laguna is renowned for its old quarter (it is a World Heritage Site) where fine buildings, some dating back to the 16thC present themselves at every turn, demonstrating the town’s prosperity as a focus for trade and agriculture through the centuries. There are some parallels between the Tenerife trams and the new Edinburgh tram system – construction started on both in the mid-2000s (although the trams here were running within 3 years!) and both projects suffered heavy criticism during the construction phase. I understand that city-dwellers here are now very pleased with, and proud of their trams. They certainly provide a calm and stress-free journey within a dual-city conurbation that is often blighted by heavy traffic jams …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/uMnA90 , 7th July, 2016



Tenerife Micro-climate Learning Experience!
Today we headed along the north coast to visit the craft fair at Garachico. Some very interesting stalls with authentic artisan skills on display – no “tat” in evidence! Never mind its pretty coastal setting, Garachico is graced with beautiful old buildings that resonate with the history of the place at every turn along the cobbled streets. Today however, exceptionally for July, low cloud tumbled off the mountain sides above the town and a light drizzle sprinkled the air.So, with low cloud and rain at our tails, we headed a little further west to explore the Punta de Teno, having heard that, within a few kilometres of the last settlement on the north-west coast we might enter a totally different micro-climate. The tortuous road there clings to the near-vertical cliff-faces of the Teno Mountains, with dizzying drops to the ocean below, followed by entering two forbidding, rough-hewn and unlit tunnels. Emerging at the other side, sure enough, to our amazement, we were met by blue skies, and the car thermometer immediately kicked up a few degrees! The isolated lighthouse at the end of the Teno peninsula is the west-most point in Tenerife and, although windy, shares the same warm and sunny micro-climate as the holiday resorts, just visible, much further down the western coast beyond the Teno Mountains and the Los Gigantes cliffs …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/BoZ91n , 2nd July, 2016




Teno Out of Ten
It was a visit to the most westerly point of Tenerife today, Punta de Teno. The island never ceases to surprise us … just when we think we’ve seen all its beauty, up pops another stunning landscape …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/y60hPz , 2nd July, 2016









Plan A at Last!
The weather was just right today for Tuesday’s much delayed “Plan A” walk, so we headed to the Pools of Erjos close to the north/south ridge in the north-west of the island. It was worth waiting for … !  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/D5qmbC , 1st July, 2016













Daft as a Coot …?
Ducks, coots, fennel and John … 
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/irvRT6 , July 1st, 2016









Pools of Erjos Delight
Today we explored a green valley on the edge of the Teno National Park. The Erjos Pools were formed in the 1970s and 1980s when soil was extracted from the area to create new banana plantations in the south and south west of the island. The excavated areas have since filled with winter rainwater and were quickly colonised by wildlife. Over the decades, willows and reeds have flourished on the banks of the ponds, creating a natural beauty spot and an ideal environment for the many coots, ducks and other waterfowl that have made the ponds their permanent home, as well as the occasional herons, wagtails and sea-eagles that are drawn here. Today, we also saw dragonflies providing lightning dashes of bright colour as they darted across the surface of the pools …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/zrSW0R , 1st July, 2016

Rivers of Black Lava – 1909!
During today’s walk, surrounded by wild flowers and bramble bushes at every step, and with the constant buzzing of black bees in our ears, we climbed up and out of the Erjos Valley to a height of 1,300m onto the mountain ridge that separates the sunny and dry south of the island from the verdant, more cloudy, north. From here, we had a stunning view of the island’s volcanic peak, Pico del Teide, highest mountain in Spain at 3,718m, and it’s sister mountain, Pico Viejo (3,135m). Teide is still regarded as an active volcano but its most recent eruption occurred in 1909 from the El Chinyero vent on the north-western Santiago ridge. You can just see the black lava flow from that eruption in this photo, over the tops of the pines. Thankfully for the villagers, the flow stopped just above the farming settlements of Valle de Arriba and Santiago del Teide. Had the flow continued on down to the sea (as it did at Garachico in 1707) it would have consumed the area that is now occupied by the busy Los Gigantes holiday resort …  
Facebook post: https://goo.gl/0eLN63 , 1st July, 2016

Brexit Blues
Excuse the politics, but being ardent, now downcast, Remainers, this has been the only thing to make us smile so far, coming out of the unfolding #Brexit shambles …!  


Facebook post: https://goo.gl/LdzXty , 1st July, 2016



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