Tuesday, July 14, 2015

3 Continent Adventure - Tenerife, Canary Islands 2015

 May 22, 2015

The ancient Romans noted the large number of wild dogs on one of the islands and called itInsula Canum” or “Dog Island”. Later, when little yellow finches were discovered there, they were calleddog island birds” or canaries.  All the islands are volcanic in origin and each quite distinctive. These islands were also called the Fortunate Islesas the climate is so mild it is perpetually springtime year round. The Guanches, a mysterious stone age people were the first inhabitants of these islands. Christopher Columbus stopped in the Canaries in 1492 and seized control of the islands.

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Port of Tenerife



The Canaries consists of 7 large islands and a few smaller ones. Tenerife, the largest island forms a triangle, with the Port of Santa Cruz near the eastern point. Tenerife is a Guanche word meaning "snow capped mountains", since the island is dominated by the impressive Mt. Tiede, the highest peak in all of Spain; and which stands over 12,000 ft from the floor of the volanic crater that is over 29 miles in circumference.

Our guide, Jorge started us off with a quick tour of downtown Santa Cruz. A short distance outside the city is the town of La Laguna. This was the original capital, today it is a university town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a cultural & religious center; as well as the gateway to the beautiful Orotava Valley and countryside.







Then it was on to Puerta de La Cruz. This is Tenerife’s premier seaside resort town with its famous black beach. This is also where Agatha Christie, well known author once resided. Her stately home is located here. We strolled along the promenade, stopped for some wonderful European pastries and coffee at the Cafe de Paris located along the promenade.

A great place to enjoy the tropical splendor around you and watch people of all ways of life stroll by.



Esplanada & Tenerife Playa Hotel

Agatha Christie's Residence

Cafes along the esplanade

 Mirador Humboldt gave us sweeping views of the beautiful Orotava Valley & Mt. Tiede.  

  



Our next stop is the town of Orotava, this lush, fertile valley is considered the “Garden of Tenerife”.  Orotava is one of the islands oldest Spanish settlements. Along the cobblestone Calle San Francisco one sees some graceful Spanish colonial houses with attractive wooden balconies and upper galleries.


























 We were very lucky to experience the art of sand tapestries made with natural sands from Teide National Park, in front of the Town Hall in preparation for the Corpus Christi festival. The neoclassic style town hall located in Ayuntamiento Square was built in the late nineteenth century on the site of the sixteenth century Convent of San José of the Poor Clare nuns.



Orotava Town Hall
Sand Painting

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción dates back to 1516.  The celebration of the proclamation of Carlos V was held in it on 22 June, 1516.  It was declared a National Historic Artistic Monument in 1948. Beside this beautiful cathedral children were having a wonderful time creating floral carpets with fresh flower petals for the upcoming festival.


 



















Children creating flower petal carpets

We then wound our way up the mountain, cloaked with pine forests, to the famous La Canadas National Park, a World Heritage UNESCO site. The park lies around 2000 above sea level. This park is dominated by the dormant volcanic crater called Mt. Teide at 3718 m, the third tallest volcanic structure in the world. The volcanic rocks found here are colorful black lava, red magna and white pumice stone. The atmospheric conditions here create constantly changing textures and tones in the landscape. The Parador Canadas del Tiede is a luxury hotel in the middle of the Park. Nearby is the Roques de Garcia rock formations, with a spectacular view of Mt. Teide in the background. The Llano de Ucanca is one of the largest plains found on the island. The Azulejos (Tiles) which is colored formations from volcanic sulfur acids are visible on the road running from the Llano Ucanca to the Parador.

Mt. Tiede Las Canadas Nat'l Park
 
Parador Hotel Canadas del Teide

Los Roques de Garcia

The Ucanca

 After our descent we passed through La Esperanza, a little village situated at an altitude of 1000 m. The town is a popular ecotourism destination . We passed by a lovely church called the Church of Nuestra Señora de La Esperanza built on the foundation of an old chapel from the 16th Century.




Back in Santa Cruz de Tenerife we stopped for a quick bite before heading back to the ship.

 
Auditorio de Tenerife "Adán Martín"

downtown Tenerife

leaving Tenerife




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