hiking Tenerife

TENERIFE 2nd FEB

The ferry timetable to Gran Canaria didn’t work out for me as I had some shopping to do to keep this blog up and running ( plug adapter and data credit etc) and the later crossings wouldn’t have given me time to complete the first stage. So I had another city day here in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
A big seemingly prosperous city it is too. I had found a cheap room between the bus station and the ferry port in an area near the cultural hotspots.
The first thing that I saw, and heard, was a gleaming red Ferrari throttling past as I stepped out to explore.
Just across the road from the hotel was T.E.A. Tenerife Exposition de Artes a huge modern building housing galleries theatre cinema cafe and the finest 24ht library I’ve ever come across with 1000’s of books, periodicals, movies and music and acres of desked study space.

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On my way to the port to get my ticket for tomorrow I admired the amount of space given over to undisturbed street art and graffiti. Just a small selection here.

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Even the municipal hoarding around building work at the port was covered in colourful artistic expression.

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A very enlightened approach that other cities should adopt. In the book shop at the TEA there had been lots of books on street art, the bulk of it Spanish.
On my return I visited the Museo de La Naturaleza y El Hombre set in 3 stories of a fine old building with a contemporary remodelling. The geographical displays really helped me put my experiences of the different islands into perspective and to understand why they are so varied. A lot of it is to do with their vastly different ages as they erupted into existence from the Canaries hot spot beneath the sea floor. From Fuerteventura in the east 20 million yrs ago to El Hierro in the west only 1.2 million yrs ago they have been weathering and there age accounts for the widening of the ravines.
I learnt how the trade winds bring the low lying humid clouds between 500 and 1500 mt and deposit about 700 litres a square mt. I’m not sure how that compared with western Ireland but I can attest to its wetness. I was able to identify more of the trees I’d been hiking through in that damp cloud forest. Hollies, arbutus,viburnum,prunus Lusitanica, wild olive, tamarix, willows and others.
There was also a vast collection of animal exhibits and although not a huge variety of mammals have made it out here, butterflies and moths have.

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One of the things that struck me in the Hombre sections was the connections between the Guanche , the Berber related original inhabitants, and the ancient Irish.
They lived in ,and built for spiritual purposes , similar circular stone constructions and along with Galicia, Portugal and the Moroccan high atlas used similar decorative symbols.

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There were some fairly macabre displays of Guanche skulls that looked a bit like a Damien Hirst piece

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And some mummies

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After all of that it was time for some refreshment at the cafe in the Tenerife Auditorium, another presumably very expensive project designed by … Oops what’s his name… Calatrava ? He has a trademark arch thing going on and I think he did a bridge over the Liffey in Dublin.

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So hopefully I’m all set for my final island tomorrow at 8.30.
And in the meantime I have about half a GB of data credit that runs out at midnight so I might try watching a bit of TV.

TENERIFE 28th JAN

Whoever said “no pain no gain”?
I gained a lot of pleasure today from a 20km hike with just 400 mt ascent with no pack to weigh me down.
I left Vilaflor, the highest village on Tenerife, and initially climbed for awhile into the pine woods I would spend the morning traversing.
The blue of the sky merged with the blue of the sea and I looked down on a bank of cloud somewhere between.

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All of these woods had been burnt at some stage recently but were now sprouting new growth from the dormant buds buried deep beneath the thick bark.

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There was no wind and it was still and silent apart from the sound of my boots crunching on the red pumice path which had been badly eroded in places by, I guessed, mountain bikers. That may have been a false accusation though because later on the peace was shattered by the raucous sputtering of trails bikes.
The heady aroma of resinous pine kept washing over me on the rising heat waves.
Prosperous haciendas appeared now and again amongst the high terraces with fields of grey pumice in which they grow the potato the area is renowned for.

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It also supplies a lot of water both for irrigation and bottling and there are complex webs of pipes running everywhere.

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But there were also numerous abandoned terraces and fincas and some era’s, the round flat areas for threshing grain, seemingly miles from any ground capable of growing any.

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At one point deep in the forest I came upon a chain of prayer flags fluttering in the breeze.

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I came out of the forest and onto a road at Ifonche where there was a bar and crossroads of trails. There were a lot of hikers coming and going and the tap tap of walking poles was like some kind of morse code I wasn’t in on.
The landscape changed and became more open, treeless and dramatic.

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It’s been a recurring or ongoing fantasy of mine over my years rambling in the outer regions and coming across many remote but beautiful abandoned old houses in fantastic settings to put together a portfolio of Eco renovated off grid properties to rent cheaply to people seeking the tranquillity such places provide.
This place is one of them.

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When I got down to it I discovered it had a lot of little cave rooms dotted around the place( for guest accommodation) and a well crafted stone cap over a large and deep cistern.

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A whole mountainside of old terraces, now growing wild flowers and cactus reminded me of Machu Pitchu.

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And the , just before I finished in Arona one last old era with a view.

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