Sunday, January 1, 2017

December 31, 2016: Happy Anniversary Baby, I've Got You In Tenerife

Subtitle: Medano Meanderings

The seaside village of Medano is located near the airport, but not in a noisy place. We watched the airplanes take off from BELOW us. Mount Teide, highest mountain in Europe, seen in the background.

Today, we woke up in Chafoyo in the touristy area near Costa Adeje. We went to breakfast in our hotel and heard a violinist playing the Hallelujah Chorus live. You know right then it isn't going to be business as usual.  When your breakfast is beans, mortadella, goat cheese and papaya, if you think it will be an ordinary day, you know you've lost it. Somehow, being in the Canaries always seems a bit magical.

We progressed to the hotel that was reserved for us by the tour operator, Explore! This is a UK company and I cannot say enough good things about them. I started touring with them in 1988 when I lived on a shoestring budget as a resident in New Orleans, and I never stopped. What I love about them is that they specialize in experiences:  history, hiking, beaches---whatever you are into or a combination, they run an AFFORDABLE tour with great prices, knowledgeable guides and the accomodations are secondary. I'm all for nice accomodations sometimes, but I don't travel to stay in a nice hotel. I travel to learn and experience and hopefully, to be a more understanding person.

This company also specializes in NOT selecting the obvious tourist location. Last time we travelled with them to Gran Canaria, we stayed in a small hotel in a village famous for tomato farms. This time, we are in Medano, a seaside town known for surfing and any sport involving wind and waves.
Hotel Playa Sur Tenerife. A small but immaculate location run by Germans. Very tidy near Teide!
From our arrival, we saw lots of surfers, windsurfers, and kite surfers as well as paddle boards and just some folks flying kites. Although it is obvious that there are plenty of Northern Europeans here, there are also plenty of folks that are locals.
A kite runner
We originally considered going to Santa Cruz, the big town in Tenerife, but logistically, it was a minor nightmare, so we decided to just walk around our little town and see what gives. 
A look at Medano from the Northwest. There is a nice boardwalk that we followed.

Every dog has it's day....this one was sleeping between an planter and a window at a hotel with his feet hanging outside. We let it lie.

The seafood section of Hiper Dino supermarket. The fishmonger came out and made me stop taking photos.

How we say CHEESE in the Canaries

It wouldn't be a good walk in a beach town without a gelato. Paul had a double. If I haven't learned anything else in  5 years, I have learned chocolate mint is the man's fave.

In a lot of ways, it is a typical beach town, but not as crowded and commercial as the town of Costa Adeje which teams with restaurants and bars and tourists. This is quieter and more the style of two people who appreciate beaches to some extent, but aren't really "beach" people.

Which made the next find really great. It ends up we are right next to a national nature reserve, Montana Rojas. This area does have a big mountain right at the sea. It didn't look "red" per se, but there was obvious iron ore in the vicinity based on the color of the earth and rock.  It was great walking out through these paths and observing the airport BELOW us. Also, this is one of the only areas on the island that preserves the natural dune formations.
Montana Rojas about 4pm

We decided not to walk up to Rojas since we have Teide tomorrow, but we did scale this fair hill, Bocinegro. When we got to the top, we saw a naked guy running around on the beach. Reminiscent of Maspalomas.

I think you can appreciate the red iron content here near the deep blue sea.

Thorny desert island plants. There are also many cacti here but not in this area.

Paul on a dune.
While hiking along this area, we saw several bunkers that were placed in WWII. They were pretty well disguised.  While Franco and Hitler were supposedly pretty close pals, there was interest in the Canaries from both sides of the pond, since it was strategically located. The Brits in particular were considering invasion. Last time they tried, Horatio Nelson lost an arm....
WWII bunker. The Canaries were in demand.
We really enjoyed this scenic walk next to the hotel.
Paul conquers the Canaries.

Two people who have been married for 5 years today!
 We then  had to go back and get ready for Ano Nuevo 2017 with our brand new UK friends and our guide to Canaries hiking, Max. Max is from Barcelona. 

We started out with a meal at Restaurante El Timon, a place right on the ocean with great seafood.
From here, we moved to the town square to continue the festivities. THey had a band, decorations and we were told to eat 12 grapes as the bells rang out midnight. We followed instructions.  It was a nice family celebration.
Mom, dad, and kids and even tourists in the square ringing in NY 2017

It's not really that easy to eat twelve grapes while the bell tolls....
People brought their kids out to dance in the square, and although there was some alcohol involved, there was not a big drunkfest. It was very refreshing.

We then went back to the hotel and we felt like we celebrated New Year 2017 and our 5th anniversary pretty well. They put us in Room 113 which adds up to 5.

Thanks to my sweet guy for putting up with me for 5 years. Lots of love to you always. Adventuring with my husband is the best! Looking forward to all that is ahead.

"A happy marriage is about three things: memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and the promise to never give up on each other."
                                                                    Surabhi Surendra

Paul's Ponderings:   We had a slow day out wandering up and down the beach boardwalk here in Medano.   It's a beach town, but not overcrowded.   Then we did a great hike in a nature adjacent to the hotel, Reserva Natural Montana Rojas.   It was stunning!   And included some WWII bunkers as a bonus!   Apparently it is among the last remaining nature areas of this type in Tenerife.  We could see Teide, the largest mountain, the mist behind us as well.

The weather here was pretty warm, around 70, and breezy.  The surf is pretty brisk and lots of folks were out on boards and wet suits.   It has been a nice slice of Tenerife, but our time here is limited -- most of the trip will be to La Gomera.   We thought we might go up to Santa Cruz, but it was an hour or more by taxi or bus, so we just stayed around Medano.   Next trip, when we visit Las Palmas and El Heirro, we'll fly into the "north" airport, instead of the south one that we used this time -- Santa Cruz is close to the north airport, so it will be an easy trip then and it's also a jump off point to the other two very small islands.

We also met our guide for the next few days, Max, along with the other folks we'll be hiking with.   Looks like this will be a great trip, mostly on La Gomera as noted.   Tomorrow we start hiking, with a short hike around Teide, the highest mountain on the island....then it's off by ferry to La Gomera.

We had a great New Year's Eve event on the public square....dancing, a drink or two, and lots of festivity with a live band.   There's nothing like celebrating New Year in a foreign location to open your eyes to the world.

Last, but not least, I have to point out that this is my fifth anniversary with my incredible spouse, Lou.  We've had so many adventures over the past five years (and prior) that I can't count them all.  What a great traveling and life companion she is!   This round of adventure is but the latest.   As we say at home, "the good lord willin' and the creek don't rise" there will be many more to come!   I could not have imagine five years plus ago that I'd be having these experiences with such an incredible person as my companion!

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