Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in the Sun

We are spending our winter holidays in Tenerife this year...thinking back, we've had some adventurous times at Christmas the last few years: La Gomera, a road trip to California from Michigan, Gran Canaria, and this year Tenerife.

A nice little town in the West is Alcalá, a former fishing village that hasn't yet succumbed to the jaws of mass tourism. It's still pretty normal there, though there are lots of Brits in town. Above is the coastline by Alcalá with a banana farm in the background.

There was a hole in the wall around the farm, so you could peer in and see the bananas growing.

This is just up the coast a bit from the banana farm by Alcalá, the resorts are creeping in there too. The banana farm will probably be the next to go to free up some prime real estate for another of these lovely bunkers....I guess not too surprising when you consider that 74% of the economy here is accounted for by the service industry and only about 4% agriculture.

On the road behind a banana truck...

We stayed the first few days in Puerto Santiago, where I spotted a whole bunch of these scaly friends sunning themselves.

The coastline of Puerto Santiago by the little harbor.

Also by Puerto Santiago. The Atlantic is rough, and the giant waves crashing in made mist, which created some nice rainbows.

We walked to the harbor in Los Gigantes to show the kids the boats, there were also lots of hungry fish and we even saw this fishing boat come in. Their hunger was the downfall of the fish in all those giant boxes on the boat. On the boat I spotted a 650 kilogram sack of fish food, all they have to do is put out the nets, sprinkle in some food, and there comes dinner!

Today we departed from Puerto Santiago on our way to our next hotel in Puerto de la Cruz, which is our starting point for day trips into the Anaga Mountains. On the way we drove through the national park, which included scenery such as the lava fields above. You almost feel like you're on another planet going through there!

Another neat effect of the eruptions that formed the island are these layers of different colored stone.

More of the landscape, with El Teide peeking above the clouds.

We made it to Puerto de La Cruz in the afternoon and after checking in at our new hotel (which is quieter due to a lack of loud British tourists), we stopped in at the botanical garden, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away. We got to see this Australian tree with its giant roots, lots of palm trees and some lovely flowers...

 this Brazilian one on a tree...

...and of course, the bird of paradise.

Here are some of my favorite food things here. Since we are not all-inclusive travellers, we shop for ourselves and cook for ourselves. So we come across funny things like this milk package. It cracks me up, I love the udder.

And then there are neat local specialties, like palm syrup from Gomera. It kind of tastes like molasses, but thin like maple syrup.

And queso tetilla! Mmmm. It's firm on the outside and kind of soft and yummy on the inside.

I've mentioned the British a couple of times in here. Not that I dislike them, but in the mountains we stopped at a very delicious and very friendly restaurant where we had lunch one day. I got to use my broken Spanish, and we had a really good lunch. A local man came to talk to us, and asked if we were British, probably because I spoke English with the kids. When we said no, he gave us a big thumbs down, "Oh no, I don't like the British," he said. I guess the poor old Brits have a bad reputation in certain parts of the world just like Americans... Another funny occurance at this restaurant was that they had rabbit on the menu, but it wasn't available. I asked when it would be available (not for myself!) and the boss said "Tonight!" as another man was sharpening a big knife at the bar. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. That place was the real deal!

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