27th May 2012
Hello from Tenerife, Canary Islands!
Hi everybody! We have now left Africa and have entered back into Europe. Yesterday, we spent the day on the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, which is officially part of Spain. The switch from Africa to Europe was quite a culture shock – the roads were paved, there were sky scrapers, we didn’t see any shanty towns etc. Having said that, we still hold a special place in our hearts for the many countries and people we’ve seen in Africa – there is just something about that continent that keeps us coming back.
The Canary Islands appear to be the getaway playground for Europeans to escape winter. The weather is consistently in the 20’s all year round, so it is very popular for Europeans to visit or even buy winter homes here. We were docked in the city of Santa Cruz, which was a beautiful, colourful city – brightly painted stucco buildings, exquisite flower arrangements everywhere and not a speck of dirt or dust anywhere.
We took an all day excursion and spent the morning in Las Canadas National Park. (It is pronounced “Can-yadas”, but we Canucks still felt some personal attachment to the park!) The park is an enormous volcanic crater, so it looked much like what you would expect the surface of the moon to look like. There is a lot of lava and interesting rock pillars. The height of the volcano is 12,000 feet, which is the highest point in all of Spain, but we were only able to get up to about 7000 feet. Our bus had to climb up a steep mountain road for about an hour and we passed many cyclists who were using the mountain road as a training run. Needless to say, Randy was really wanting to be out there with them instead of on the bus. We passed through a thick layer of cloud, but then broke out above the clouds for some amazing views. It was a fantastic morning and we were glad we saw this National Park. It looks like a place that you could spend every day checking out different hiking trails.
In the afternoon, we spent the time down at sea level. In contrast to the moonscapes at higher levels, the island of Tenerife is like one big Butchart Gardens, with flowers, banana plantations and gorgeous oceanviews everywhere. Once again, the contrast with Western Africa was quite startling, so we are still getting accustomed to being back in what looks like civilization (philosophically – still not sure that our lives are more civilized than Africa in some ways, but that is the subject of a much longer blog!) In any event, it was a great day with nice weather. We have not had a drop of rain on the entire trip so far (hope I haven’t just jinxed us for the rest of the trip!)
I was sitting outside on the ship the other day and a woman came up and asked me if I was from Parksville! Turns out she used to be in my clogging group, although she hasn’t clogged for a couple of years. It’s a small world, to be sure!
That’s it from here – hope all is well at home!
Luv to all,
J & R