Our first retired winter. For as long as I have been married, the man in my life has wanted to escape Canadian winters. A generous house sitter and retirement has finally afforded the chance to leave town. We now find ourselves on the edge of an ocean, huge waves in front of us, and a “dormant” volcano behind us.
Rugged like Hawaii, yet Spanish.
Warm like northern Florida , yet, without the Donald.
Beautiful pristine blue flag beaches every where with black sand, and waves so frightening, one can only swim in hand crafted cement pools that thankfully dot the island everywhere. The waves crash in and often small schools of North Atlantic species are trapped in the pool, delightful with a mask and snorkel.
The Island of Tenerife, a part of Spain is where we ended up. We left Wakefield in early February, flew to Madrid Spain, and then a week later connected with our Air B and B in a deserted part of the north Island. It is winter here, our condo houses only a small handful of tourists – German folks, and apparently Brits, although we have not run into any English speakers to date.
It is a windy 19-22 daily and the ocean is about 19- 20-degree Celcius.
We are a bit isolated. The way to town and groceries is a half hour bus ride up a very steep terrifying hill. There are six hairpin corners without guard rails and not for the faint of heart. Eyes closed, we faithfully cling to the seats in front of us, when we must venture up for supplies. Walking is an option up a gravel path, about 6 kilometers.
Not much to do down in our gully. We are very perched on a second-floor balcony with the ocean immediately out our window. So far from home, overlooking the vast nothingness; Africa to the east and Barbados south west. Two restaurants here are closed, one wiped out by a tidal wave 7 months ago, the other has no business, a local Mercado ( Depanneur) recently closed as well for the same reason.
Six weeks, without the doc fest and our loving community, no cat, dog and rabbit. No friends nearby, just a ukulele, computer, acrylic paint and greeting card canvases. What were we thinking? An adventure, and a winter escape. We got that in spades, so it is now time to count all our blessings here.
Our hosts. Our first blessing, a sweet couple who greeted us with such warmth. Picked us up at the airport and started us off with a tour of our area. So generous and kind , provide us with Kombucha starter as well as Kefir, and a balcony full of spices.
Fabulous fresh fish. A wee fishing village is a mere 25-minute cliff walk away. It is pricey but oh so good. The fishing boats cannot come to shore due to the treacherous waves so they are hooked onto a crane that pulls them up and out of the water and onto a large parking lot. All the weather-beaten fellas gather with morning catches. However, only on days when the fishing is good. So far we have seen boats out once, as the ocean has been so rough it is too dangerous to fish! Today we saw boats going by to the village, so gathered our shopping bags and walked the cliff. Most of the fish was already spoken for when we arrived, but one lone fisherman came in late with one fish, which he promptly sold us. We had no idea what it was but a call to our Facebook friends and it did not take long to know what we were consuming. It was not on any of the charts we were provided. There is Eel in the mercados. Sorry not that brave.
Next blessing : Spanish wine… ahh the glorious wine. The most expensive bottle that I enjoy here is 7 Euros. A map from all the wine growing regions clearly designates my favourite areas. Found a bold dark vino tinto from the Valencia region that is fabulous for 3.45 Euros. In wine heaven here.
Mojo. This is what is used instead of butter. Ground spices in sea salt and olive oil. Simply divine. In our flat, our hosts left us parsley, cumin & thyme Mojo. Today I made coriander Mojo. Not sure I’ll ever use butter again.
The cheeses are plentiful, rich, and mostly goat. All creamy and yummy. Red peppers the size of basketballs, fresh olives, a real Mediterranean diet, which can be walked off daily.
The sunsets are grand. Nightly at 6:25 we head out to the beach to watch the sun sink over the Atlantic . Splendorous, especially after a cloudy day, each one remarkable and unique.
We decided to see some of the main city and made plans for Santa Cruz for the closing parade of the Carnival. No isolation there! Tons of people from around the world come to experience this 2-week festival. It ends with the burial of the sardines and all the men dress in drag. So weird, no real theme except human floats the size of barns, sequences, colors and copious amounts of alcohol. It is a once in a lifetime experience. The children get involved and this year’s infant queen; a Singer sewing machine float.
Every little shop has carnival costumes for sale, wigs, belly dance outfits, and colourful boa’s. We are told we must wear at the very least a mask.
Alas, the day before we were to leave for Santa Cruz, a huge windstorm ( Calima ) swept the entire island. Our view went from pristine blue to an odd apocalyptic red haze. We could barely breathe and spent the day inside.
The morning brought slight relief and a well-planned bus trip, to Santa Cruz. Magnificent town, no beaches but large ferries to all the other Canary Islands. The Carnival went on for 4 hours before we called it quits. It was utterly amazing. So difficult to choose the pictures here is one.
Currently, we are settled into a new spot for a week near the most magnificent cliffs I have ever seen. Unfortunately they had to be driven over, around and at one point above the clouds in order to get here.
It is hotter in the South, and there are more tourists, mostly Brits, and we have yet to meet a single Canadian. That is so unusual . It really makes us feel far from home.
A real adventure so far. Acclimatized now , not so homesick, loving it all but the heights. Brave hubby heading out on a Harley soon. I am content to practice my Spanish with the locals, poke in the local shops, swim in the pool or the ocean with the magnificent view of the Los Gigantes cliffs all over town, everywhere I look.
One sweet custom witnessed here several times are pregnancy photos on the beach. A very expectant mom with father and often other children in tow will show up before dusk with a suitcase full of assorted dresses and props and a professional photographer. Often the rest of the family is dressed in white and the pregnant mom will make dress changes, long flowing red chiffon or black, with the belly in prominent view as dresses open in the front. Papa and children will pose in front the the swollen belly , kissing it and holding it in various positions. One evening I had the distinct honor of watching the entire shoot. It was quite charming.
Such a lovely, calm, laid back, and charming Island. These Canadians have temporarily become Canarians, yet we firmly believe, there is no place like home.
See you in April, until then my feet remain buried in volcanic sand.