A Full Circle

January 16, 2010

All good things must come to an end.

And that, I am afraid, applies to my little trip too. My last three days on Tenerife were great, but blogging… well I just did not find the time and energy. Now it feels a bit strange to write this closing post from home. Anyway…

The island of Tenerife, has slightly less than one million inhabitants. You can drive a full circle around the island in less than four hours. Yet – as I see it – this little island contains two entirely different planets.

The south has places like Las Americas and Los Gigantes, which I blogged about recently. It is quite warm, and the beaches are fantastic. It is dominated by mass tourism, and a lot of people really like it. But the first time I crossed the mountains, to the north was: true joy.

The north is considerably cooler. The beaches are less spectacular. Of course there are loads of tourists, but the vulgarity of mass tourism does not exist here. The coastal landscape is also IMHO a lot more interesting, and there is not a house on every coastal square metre.

The main town of Puerto de la Cruz is quite pleasant for walking, driving in it is quite a b*tch but worth the effort. It is a nice day to spend a lazy day.

Puerto de la Cruz

Through the eyes of Palestrina55, Creative Commons license

And the small village of Taganaga in the remote north east is really pretty, and the drive to it takes you through rain forests as well as fantastic serpentine roads. If I ever return to Tenerife, Taganaga will definitely be a must-see-again.

As seen by meteomara, Creative Commons License

And: “That’s all folks!” The time has come to close my last chapter on Tenerife. My next post is due soon. It will contain another major closing…

Looney Tunes © Warner Brothers

Photo Time

January 12, 2010

There is so much stuff I haven’t mentioned at all. And just to mention a few…

…my grand day out when I drove around the island in order to mount the peak of Teide, the famous volcano rising some 3718 metres above sea level.

Teide, from below

But unfortunately, the Teleferico (skytrain) was closed that day due to strong winds. So this is as far as I got:

The end of the line

But that was not so bad, as my road trip gave me some fantastic views of Tenerife’s volcanic landscapes:

The long way home

La Orotava is a nice little town on the north coast, with pretty houses…

…and a meticulously kept garden…

…with exotic flowers:

or is it yet another proof of alien life forms?

And in the charming mountain village of Masca,

I bought some fresh oranges from this farmer:

The major town of La Laguna, offered many nice walks:

The Old town of La Laguna

But I would like to finish of with a few pictures of Garachico. I arrived here, some 9 days ago, and the place was so pleasant and relaxing, that all my half-plans to keep island-hopping simply evaporated:
Arriving into town along the coast

Small town life

Church bells marking every half hour,
surprisingly nice

And the shady town square, peaceful without being dull

And maybe just maybe, if you turn that last photo upside-down, you will see where I shot that space-ship a few days ago…

Another Trip, Another Time

January 11, 2010

Still in Tenerife for a few more days but: I needed a little break from my holiday – great feeling by the way – and Tom Q is a great photographer and lost-and-found fellow blogger in more than one way. Some time ago he proposed this Flickr meme: “It works like this: if you use Flickr, go to the sixth page of your photostream and pick the sixth picture there, then post it to your blog.”

Olive oil, candied peanuts and a dustpan
What else can you need on the road in the Sahara?

I took this photo at a market during my trip to Libya in March/April 2006. Not sure exactly where but I think somewhere on the road east of Ubari: Garagara, (or maybe Murzuq) is my best guess…

View Larger Map
My Flickr posting is not nearly as prolific as Tom’s but I do have loads of pictures tucked away on old hard disks, half forgottern CF-cards, and who knows where else? Perhaps I should pull myself together and post my best photos to Flickr.

Strange Fellows

January 8, 2010

I haven’t told you about my fellow passengers, have I?

Most of you are familiar with the first one. I had him neatly chopped in 12 slices and shrink-wrapped into 4 DVDs.

Dexter is IMHO the best TV-series ever made, at least the only one which has maintained superb screen-writing (great characters, clever dialogue and and nail-biting plot-lines) for four consecutive seasons. I thought I might need some distraction on slow days so I decided to bring season 1 with me.

Now, if you have missed out completely: Dexter is a forensics expert with the Miami police department. His professional specialty is blood. His main hobby is: killing people. He is mass murderer with a twist: he only kills really bad guys who have managed to escape justice. He is clearly a deeply disturbed person (due to a childhood trauma), but he follows a very strict morale, or “code” as he calls it himself. So if you haven’t yet, I warmly recommend you to check Dexter out. Buy it, borrow it, download it, steal it, whatever.

And then…

The other guy in my bags is Böddi. Now, “who the hell is Böddi?” you might ask. Well, I had him evenly spread-out over 427 hilarious pages.

Stormland (Swedish details, and an English translation of another novel) is a highly entertaining book by Hallgrímur Helgason. Just like Dexter, Böddi has failed (or refused) to adapt to the norms of society. He lives in a tiny town, in the outbacks of northern Iceland. And I can tell you, he is one angry dude. He does things his own way, and loses every job he gets. On his blog he spews his sarcasms over everything he detests about Iceland and the people in his hometown. He then experiences an unbelievable string of unfortunate events, and slowly he starts to lose his grip on reality. But his anger remains unbroken. It then escalates to a Gargantuan confrontation with society. He decides to take them all on, single-handedly, from a horse-back. Epic stuff.

The book was written in 2005, well before the global economic crisis and the total collapse of Iceland’s financial system. So it can be seen as a quite strong and prophetic story on the dark side of the heedless greed that was prevailing in Iceland (actually, not only Iceland (and actually not only was)) before the crash. If you have a soft spot for dark humour, I recommend it warmly.

* * *

It has struck me that we have a few things in common, Dexter, Böddi and me; Dexter loves the Atlantic ocean and often goes out to sea. Böddi often stares at the ocean and contemplates. And the Atlantic is just what made me come here! Even though I do not particularly mind traveling on my own, here I am constantly surrounded by happy couples, which reminds me of my status, and makes me feel a tiny bit like Dex or Böddi. And then, all three of us are travelers of different kinds. Dexter along with what he calls “his dark passenger”, Böddi with his horse, and me with my little rented Fiat Punto!

El Bonbon

January 6, 2010

My favourite drink here (well, one of them) is bonbon:

El bonbon

Bonbon is an espresso with condensed milk. (If you have discovered the joys of Vietnamese Coffee, then you are familiar with condensed milk.) Here you see the milk at the bottom of the cup. As you see it is extremely thick, it does not mix at all until you start using the spoon. Also it is very sweet, so there is absolutely no reason to add any sugar. Maybe not your cup of tea, but I warmly recommend you to give it a try when you get a chance.

Punta de Teno

January 6, 2010

Today I received another warm welcome by the authorities:

“Do you really want to die?”

After passing that rather ominous sign, I drove through some of the most dramatic landscape I have ever seen. The narrow dwindling road just barely managed to cling on the nearly vertical mountain walls., Above me I had spectacular cliffs almost disappearing into the clouds, and below me over a hundred metre drop.

Tenerife’s Land’s End

Punta de Teno really made my day. It lies on the very northwestern tip of Tenerife. Very much like Land’s End in England. Far away in the mist you can discern the silhouette of Gomera Island.


January 4, 2010

So, it seems I have found myself a new harbour for the night…

Garachico, is an old town that lies on the north coast of Tenerife. (And behold: most signs are in Spanish.) I found a very pretty little hotel with yet a breathtaking view, this version of it is 20 minutes old:

The town has a native population of 5-6000 people. And with three (or so) hotels in town, tourism is no big thing here. People actually live here, which makes the atmosphere so much nicer.

Internet access in mega-touristy Los Gigantes was surprisingly hard to come by, and impossible after 6 p.m. But now I have it from the hotel terrace so maybe, just maybe, my posting will be less erratic. (Scary thought: could it be that my addiction brought me here?)

This post will end here, because I am hungry. I just got here after having spent a fun day with all the attractions at Siam Park, where the slightly morbid Wave was a lot of fun:

And in case you wonder, that is Siam as in Thailand, yes. Apparently the German business guy who built it has good relations with some Thai princess or so.