Monday, June 11, 2012

HOME sweet update!

Sunday, June 10th, 2012 - Happy Birthday to my niece, Katie, who is 29 today--I hope it was the best day for you, dear Katie "Sue"!

By the time I post this it will be Monday, because it is near midnight right now.  I just wanted to put a new post on here so any one reading this will know that we left Los Cristianos, as planned on April 10, flew to Manchester, England and spent the night.   Then the next day Geoff got me situated with checking in on Icelandair, we had breakfast and then parted--me to catch my flight and he to catch a train to Preston and head home.   So...loyal followers, we are back in our respective home countries!

I might add that the weather has not been the best since we parted--for either of us--so many times we both wished we were back in Tenerife where the sun shines just about every single day!!!!   :)

Geoff and I have started talking about the coming winter and our far it sounds like we will most likely spend it in the southern USA with a foreign break of some kind at the 90 day visa maximum date for Geoff!   All will be revealed as time marches on.   Enjoy your summer time and see you when I next update this!
Love, Geoff & Sue xo  (this was taken in Manchester but the effects added in USA!)

Sunday, April 8, 2012


SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2012 - Happy Easter everybody!  I've already made my last visit to the Los Cristianos Sunday Market now, I swear, I am going to get my blog up to date with pictures and postings about our two days of rental car travels around this beautiful island!   I want to be done so I can leave here on Tuesday evening with a clean conscience of nothing left undone!

I thought it was beautiful here near Los Cristianos, then was blown away by La Gomera island and now I don't know how to find the words for the different and amazing beauty we have seen recently.
Let's get started!

Mt. Tiede - Volcano- 12,198 feet

Last Thursday we headed up out of sunny, sea level towards Arona then started the winding drive up and up through some small villages, changing flora (from dry succulent to an actual pine tree line) and up into clouds thinking that we might NOT get a good view of Mt. Tiede with this cloud cover hovering!   We burst through the clouds and into the "Parque Nacional de las Canadas del Tiede" where the sun shines (although there is a chilly breeze at this altitude) and see a huge lava filled crater with, at last!:

Mt. Tiede! with a small amount of snow!

Last eruption was El Chinyero on Mt. Tiede in 1909!  It is believed that Christopher reported seeing it erupt in 1492 when he was at La Gomera island!

 Some of the miles of old lava flow that we saw!

There are lots of rock formations...

Including these right at Mt. Tiede's base.

Surrounding mountians and lots more lava.  This area is reported to be used by scientists since it resembles the Mars landscape.   It is very "moon like" and films have been made in this area, too!

I saw these feathery looking tall (2-3 feet) throughout the park and wondered what they are--we actually stopped when I took this picture and the sign said they are "Tajinaste Rojo" and these are the "skeletons" of the spring blooms--they are a bright read when they bloom in  early Spring--bet that would be pretty!   They almost became extinct but they no longer allow grazing animals in the park and they have come back!   Very pretty with the sun shining on these skeletons!

Starting down the other side and here comes the clouds again!

Puerto de la Cruz

We wind down the mountain to La Orotava and it is actually raining!  We see small vineyards and a pretty town as we head down again to sea level to the town of Puerto de la Cruz:

Cool tunnel into the city!  Sea is to the right!

The harbor next to the town.

It's a pretty town and the sun starts shining and drying up the rainwater--we decide to have some lunch in a very cool cafe in the pretty square!

Geoff waiting for his lunch.

Happy Sue!

Yum, our lunch of pizza and Canarian potatoes!

San Franciso Chapel former chapel of St. John the Baptist built between 1599 and 1608 and given to the Franciscans. 

One of the statues inside the San Francisco Chapel that has been declared a historical artistic monument!   It was not a huge chapel but beautiful with several huge religious statues.

A street performer suspended with NOTHING (it appears) to hold her up--
HOW DOES SHE DO THAT?  Good stunt!
Beautiful Puerto de la Cruz!

The absolutely fabulous Spanish violinits who played "high brow" music next to the sea.  They were so good I taped them on my iPhone and posted it on Facebook!  We really enjoyed this "concert"!

That's once giant terra cotta pot with pretty flowers spilling out!

We leave the gorgeous town of Puerto de la Cruz and had for Icod de las Vinos to see the thousand year old Drago tree!   Geoff takes us on circuitous (accidental) ride through Los Realejos, La Vera and back to Puerta de la Cruz where we start again!   (hahahahaha--one tiny, wrong decision!).  We finally get there and get through the little hilly city to the place where we can see it (they have some very, very narrow cobblestoned streets that we drove on!)

To the front of this car we were following is a tight right turn!

El Drago is the mushroom shaped tree seen through this fence and hedge!

We head on down the road towards our goal of Masca and drive along the coast.   We see some beautiful coastline and some quaint villages.   As we get to Garachio the views are just too spectacular to not stop--so we do!

Garachico view!

Monumento al Emigrante Canario

We continue and pass through Buenavista del Norte and take a trip out to the tip of Tenerife here (we meant to turn off and head to Masca but didn't see the sign!)   The road was narrow and was winding up a steep hillside so the views were awesome even if my pictures aren't!

Looking back---those are covered banana trees below.

At Punta del Teno--not a great shop and I totally missed the lighthouse shot!   It was crowded there!
We headed back the same narrow road and watched for the sign to Masca!


We wanted to see Masca because we had heard a lot about it.  The road was HORRIBLY narrow and
though we have been on several rather narrow roads that were winding up or down mountains, this one takes the cake!   My hat's off to Geoff for managing to keep us safe while zigzagging up then down this road and through some quite tight areas--not everyone is as considerate as he is...nor as patient.    I almost feel guilty that he had to concentrate while I got to enjoy the views!

Peaks and valleys...

An unusual peak...

The village of Masca down some winding roads below!

Closer look at Masca.

YAY!   Computer settled down and seems to be working again--have no idea what happened so will continue with our journey here where I "lost" my computer screen completely.    Totally wierd!

Just a few of the switchbacks Geoff maneuverd up the mountains!

The interesting thing about Masca is that until 1991 there was NO road to the village at all!   That's why they call it "the forgotten village".  And it would be a very long hike to the nearest town and primarily uphill to get out of that valley.   The rugged volcanic mountain ridges make the views truly worth the effort to drive up there.   I am so glad we did even though I wanted to stop more than Geoff allowed (due to the treacherous roads!).   Today, with the road, the local bus (Titsa) makes several trips daily but only in a mini-bus--there is no way a regular sized bus could make those turns!

We drove back through Guia del Isora (a pretty town) and on to Los Cristaianos to end our day trip.  Friday (Good Friday) we are off to the other end of the island--Tenerife Norte!

As we leave Los Cristianos behind we see some threatening clouds over the direction we are headed but that does NOT dissuade us.

Again, start winding our way up from La Laguna to Los Mercedes and into a very lush and forested area.

Looming clouds but lush vegetation!

Can see some of the road we travelled down below...and a beach in distance!

That's steam rising from the road ahead--it has rained and now the warm sun is taking care of it!

In and out of the brush we would get some great views!

Yup, just a fairly thin rock wall to the left of us!

Did I mention the road is narrow (again) here?    Not as zigzagging as the one to/from Masca but curvy enough to make Geoff have to concentrate on the drive while I, once again, enjoy the views and snap a few shots!  I almost feel guilty but it was incredibly beautiful to see.  We break out of the cloudy area and now see:


Yes, the town is down there by the beautiful sea!

Beautiful hillside homes on overlooking the sea.

I'm intrqued by all the terracing that is done!

Taganana in distance...

The rockes near Playa del Benijo

Roque de las Bodegas

It was sunny, warm and beautiful along the Taganana to Playa del Benijo route (which is the end of the road at that end of the island) and there were lots and lots of people enjoying the holiday weekend already (well, the Spanish Easter holiday did start on Thursday!).   We found a place to pull off and take some pictures but no place to park near the restaurant we wanted to try!  And by the looks of the crowd in the restaurant it would have been a long wait so we headed back on the winding trail!

We are going to drive down there towards San Andres!

A sweet little burg--San Andres!

We head back to Los Cristianos which is about 69 kms (40 miles or so) and call it a day!   It was a gorgeous trip and now we have just about covered the island so we are very satisfied with our explorations!

Geoff's Half Marathon Run

After our trip to La Gomer and before this little adventure, Geoff ran a half marathon "XVI Medio Maraton Las Galletas 2012".  He did a great job in the run and finished  officially in 2:09:22!

Geoff's big finish!!!!

That;s all folks!   Adios....

Love, Geoff & Sue xo

Friday, April 6, 2012


1492 Columbus Map

This reaally was written on Wednesday, April 4, 2012   (just getting around to posting it since we have been traveling last 2 days!) – Los Cristianos – As our time here winds down, we are trying to see whatever sights we have not yet seen.  Before I share the La Gomera island pictures from last Friday, here are a few local pictures that I want to share:
Our morning view!

The night sets in over Los Cristianos--so lovely.

Keeping an eye on Venus and a fainter Jupiter in the night sky!
La Gomera
 Last Friday, Geoff and I booked a bus excursion for a day trip to the little Canary Island off the side of Tenerife—we have occasionally seen the island but it has been shrouded in clouds most of our stay down here on the oceanfront.   Geoff and I saw it often  from up at Castle Harbor for that month we stayed there but it has become rather ghostly of late.
The bus picks us up at 8 AM sharp outside and takes us on a long ride around the city to get to the street to take us to the ferry dock—we can see it well from our balcony and walk there faster than this morning ride.   We get off the bus and hike up several flights of stairs to get on the Armas ferry passenger deck along with lots of other passengers.   We went up a couple of decks to sit outside and look at Los Cristianos disappear and, San Sebastian (the capital city of La Gomera), appear!
Heading from the ferry dock with mist over Los Cristians.

we are on our way now....

That's the shadow of La Gomera ahead--now I'm excited!
It's just a little, tiny bit windy on the outside deck!

Ahhh...that is Mt. Tiede (12,188 ft.) on Tenerife---wow!
Who are these two hooded goofs? :)

We arrive in San Sebastian and board a double decker tour bus and start on our journey which will take us over a very winding road (several swithbacks) that climbed up the side of volcanic mountains—the views were incredible!
1st historical site--The Count Tower left from the 1540 fortress!

Volcanic peaks along the windy road.
More of the interesting views...

Lots of terracing up the steep mountainsides...

Some of the roads we traveled...

A view of San Sebastian from up the mountainside...

San Sebastian--from way up the mountains...
More views of terraces...

Can't believe the roads we travelled....

The views are so beautiful...

and rock formations!
The landscape was arid down at sea level—lots of cacti plants, banana trees and palm trees—as we went up higher and higher the terrain changed dramatically as we entered theParque Nacional de Garajonayy—which is a biodiversity treasure and referred to as a Humanity Patrimony by UNESCO since 1986.   The different types of trees are unreal and in places it has a rainforest look.   The tour guide (who tells us 4 times the same things—in Spanish, English, French and German) says that they made this a protected area because this type of forest does not exist anywhere else “on the continent” and is where dinosaurs roamed!    There is not much wildlife—lizards that came over from Africa on floating debris and rabbits that were introduced from the mainland.  There is, of course, birds that migrate here.
The path to the La Laguna Grande opening....
Rainforest-type woods...

Lots as ond lots of wild daisies...

Geoff reading the sign...
The wide opening that floods at times...

and more of the trees on our walk back to the bus.

El Silbo – The Whistled Language

After leaving La Laguna Grande we headed down a one lane road toward the town of Agulo to have lunch (bread and a lovely green yam soup followed by braised beef tips, rice and mixed vegetable with homemade red wine or water and ice cream)—during lunch we had the most interesting demonstration of the La Gomera language that is taught now to all youngsters—they whistle using their fingers to talk to each other!   I was quite impressed with the two young people who “talked” to each other in Gomerian!   A whistled message can circle the island in one hour.  A person on one side of a mountain can talk to someone deep down in one of the ravines or valleys.   It truly is an amazing language!  You can go online to see some beautiful shots of La Gomera and listen the the language (starts about 2 ½ minutes into the YouTube video at : 

It truly is incredible!

Headed to Agulo
More views as we head down...
the view across the valley...

seeing houses built on the hillside & vineyards...

into a deep valley...

We arrive at Aguio for lunch...

They grow lots of beautiful bananas here!
We boarded our bus after lunch and headed back to San Sebastian via the town of Hermigua where we stopped to look at the area and shops.

The amazing terracing down to the sea...
Again we are blessed with Mt. Tiede across the water...

A beautiful beach view...

Can you see the "bag" of bananas hanging from tree?

Terraces of banana trees...

Homes and crops along the way...

The beautiful area...

Any idea what this fruit is?   Not apples!
A bridge by where we stopped in Hermigua...

Our bus driver kept the windows on the bus clean!

More interesting landscape!

Back to San Sebastian

Once we got back to San Sebastian, we had almost an hour to see whatever we could before we had to catch our ferry back to Los Cristianos so we went to see the local sights including the museum that has a courtyard that houses the well where Christopher Columbus got the water for his voyage to America.   San Sebastian is a pretty Spanish town with some beautiful views of the beach and surrounding  mountains!
Arriving back in town!

San Sebastian beach near harbor!

Well where Christopher Columbus drew water for his 1492 voyage!

 Church that Columbus prayed in before voyage.
Sign for the ferries...

On the walk back we saw a huge school of fish below!

A view of the water from the ferry dock.

The Armas backing into the dock--that's the car bridge coming down.
Here is a map of La Gomera and our trip is highlighted in orange:

We had a great trip back on the ferry and were very happy with our day trip to La Gomera island!

That’s enough for now—next we head to Mt. Tiede and Puerta de la Cruz and points between !    Hasta luego!
Love, Geoff & Sue  xo


We just spent the last 2 days touring the island and seeing many spectacular views which I'll share in the next few days before we leave!