Food and Vistas with a Friend – pt 1

We’ve been living in Tenerife for almost two months now so it’s great that we have the joy of welcoming another house guest! A really good friend of mine from high school promised to come and visit us in Tenerife when we told her the news, and like the trooper she is, she’s followed through. This is a whistle-stop weekend visit with her flight arriving at 20 past midnight, early Saturday, and the outbound flight leaving Sunday at 7pm.

Straight from the airport, we went into Las Americas for some drinks. This was our first night going “out out” in Tenerife. All I was after was a good location and good cocktails. The first stop was Restaurante La Terrazza del Mare where we had a couple of drinks each. I expected Las Americas to be more expensive than the other places we’ve been to as we were out in tourist central. I was not disappointed!

We moved on to Papagayo Beach Club which was recommended as a good nightclub for music and dancing. That’s not quite what we wanted, but we wanted to be around people who were also out out. We had a great time there – plenty to drink, lots of seating and the dancefloor looked amazing. The music was really good and we made an obligatory drunken friend and headed back home.

We wondered into the village and decided to try one of the local cafes for breakfast (and

The Lethal Caprioska
The Lethal Caprioska

holiday cocktails). We were not disappointed – the big breakfast and omelettes were just what we needed. The cocktails – !!! The cocktails were potent. We ordered a Caprioska and a Tequila sunrise. We had to ask for a can of lemonade to make the drinks weaker! AND they are the cheapest cocktails I’ve had here. I don’t understand how alcoholism isn’t a bigger problem.

Tequila Sunset
Tequila sunset – because it will put you to sleep

After our very boozey breakfast, we went to the beach to soak up some sun and swim in the sea. It was another perfect day for it. We had highs of 27°C and the water was beautiful and clear. We had a lovely day out, chatting and drinking at the beach, and catching up, and making new memories!

 

 

 

The Beach
The Beach

 

Be good or be good at it!

Rumbie xo

Trabajando (Working) en Tenerife

Work is probably the biggest factor in determining where we will be living in 12 months time. My family and Nick’s subscribed to the “go to school then get a ‘good’ job” method of life, so that is what both of us have generally aspired to – it is a fact of life. I am hoping that being in Tenerife means we work to live, rather than the other way round.

I was worried about what jobs would be available in Tenerife for ME. This worry was fuelled by the “truth-speakers” of Facebook groups that have made it their duty to strike fear in anyone who has a question about anything. (This will have to be covered a separate post. It makes me so angry sometimes!!)

The competition is intense and the language barrier is real. I’m learning, and it’s going well…. un poco, un poco. Trying to find a good job in a foreign country can be difficult. You never know what local practices are, but also, with many other nationalities settling here, only speaking English WILL be a disadvantage.

I had my first interview for a ‘real’ job the second week I was here. It was for a well known company here as part of their sales team. I don’t know how committed I was to that cause as I was just so pleased to be facing a genuine prospect. They hired internally and  I’m pleased for it. I needed the time off  to enjoy this move and perhaps wasn’t sure what I was signing up for.

I’ve since had a few others and they have been interesting. I have read a few posts online warning me to be weary of employment prospects in Tenerife. There are allegedly some unscrupulous sorts here (like most places?…) so you need to be aware of things like what your hours will be, and make sure that the same number is reflected on your contract, for  example.

Using a combination of Spanish and English job sites, I’ve found myself a temporary part-time job and have a couple more interviews coming up. The part time role will do nicely for now which will do nicely to keep me busy for a few hours on most days. Fortunately, even with the very little planning I did, I have a bit of time to find my feet and here before I have to find a work.

As much as I would love to spend all my time exploring Tenerife, real life has expenses.

Be good or be good at it folks

Rumbie xo

Our First Meals Out in Tenerife

The plan was to get up early on Saturday to get to the Adeje Market, but the fun and excitement from Siam Park was too much. We managed to catch a few stalls still out, but I didn’t get to see as much I would have liked so I hope to write a post in the near future about a real visit. All it meant was the rest of the weekend would be dedicated to food and drink and the challenge was heartily accepted.

We tried out a restaurant called ‘San Marco’ that is just across the road from the market (location, location, location) for lunch. Most of the group got freshly made pizzas, one of the guys had a tasty steak (fish) and I had a salad.

Everyone was happy enough with their meal, despite a slight misunderstanding with one of the orders. The guys ordered cervezas (to practice ALL the Spanish they know, of course) but we also got a range of cocktails which were all very tasty and very potent!

We went to the beach for our dinner at a sea side restaurant called” Sanibar Ajabo”. The service was great, the paella was delicious and the company like no other.

The beach at Sunset
Sunset at the beach

We had a beautiful view of the sea as we ate, and we even had the priviledge of watching a proposal. (They both looked pleased when they came back!) Sanibar Ajabo even had a flamenco show going on upstairs, but as we ad a little person with us, we decided to sit in a different section. Having been introduced to flamenco quite recently, I’m looking forward to going back to see that! It provided the perfect Spanish background music to our evening.

To top this weekend’s great dining experiences, we went to my favourite restaurant on the island so far – La Finca Chafoya. This was our second visit but the atmosphere, the layout and service we received last time made it an instant winner. ‘La Finca’ is a farm which has been changed into a restaurant, however, they use the surrounding land to grow fruit and vegetables for the restaurant.

Finca Chafoya
Sunday Lunch

They also have a fenced in coop with a range of birds we like to eat there. The usual players were there (chickens, ducks, pheasants and peacocks) but they were sharing their space with a couple of rabbits too so our youngest crew member got some unexpected entertainment there too! The mix of food this time was surf and turf with one of the group ordering octopus and the rest mainly getting involved wit the mixed grill.

We ate so well this weekend. And had such a lovely time doing it. I’m desperate for recommendations of places to go and eat in Tenerife. Any place you know that’s ‘local’, or just a guaranteed good meal? Suggestions welcome in the comments below!

Be good, or be good at it!

Rumbie xo

Siam Park with Guests

After a month of Tenerife sun and a WhatsApp Group chat littered with holiday activity ideas and innuendo, we have our first house guests! Some serious intent and world-class planning resulted in this first month celebratory delight. NaI have the pleasure of sharing our home for a long weekend with five friends – a couple whose wedding we attended last year, their beautiful baby boy, and the best man and his girlfriend. I’ve been looking forward to this – this will be our holiday as much as it is theirs. Five days of fun trying a couple of new things and sharing our favourite discoveries! It’s exciting having friends come to visit us so soon. It definitely helps to reiterate that ‘home’ is not that far away.

They arrived in two batches on Thursday last week and despite our first scare on the island, we braved a journey to the airport for a collection. Our first day together, and out, was a Friday at Siam Park.

Siam Park is an amazing water park, currently rated the best in the world on Trip Advisor and the number one thing to do in Adeje, Tenerife. Everyone in the group was excited to go on as many of the rides and slides as possible. We were concerned about how busy it would be, on a Friday, at the end of the month, and how long we would be comfortable out in the sun with a baby in tow, and there was a little bit of anxiety about how tall or fast the rides would actually be, and if we would even get on anything.

Location and Parking – It’s quite difficult to miss Siam Park. It is very clearly sign posted from the motorway, and if you plan a little bit, you can use the free bus service to and from the park from various locations on the island. The huge entrance is also a great indicator of what’s to come. There was a lot o parking available when we arrived which was being advertised at €3 for the day.

Tickets and General Cost – if you get a voucher offering money off, it’s worth holding on to it. You can buy your tickets in advance online, or at the gate.  A day ticket is roughly €35 per adult, but an annual pass for residents is €65. We anticipated our inevitable return to the park so NaI got them (and upset everyone slightly in the process). If you like to have a locker, have a look at the Siam Park website as they sell combo tickets which are good value. Otherwise, you will have to budget an extra €10 for a locker (that includes a €5 deposit that you get back).

Food and drink – reasonably priced for this type of attraction. There are several areas in the park where you can stop for a bite to eat, picking anything up from rice with a vegetable stew, to a hot-dog and fries. As you are a captive market, the prices are higher than outside the boundaries, so if you like to keep hydrated, you may consider taking your own bottle of water with you. We took a 5 litre container that was well used.

The rides – (of the 6 I tried this time around) INSANE. I did not get to go on every ride I wanted to this time. It was our own doing really. We tended to leave our area in groups of threes, but the group rides are for two or four people and it is quite rare for a solitary person to bother with the stairs of a 4 man ride. I enjoyed every ride I went on and want to do all of them again! My favourites were The Dragon, which made my heart race and made me feel weightless a couple of times, even though I was sharing a dingy with 3 other people, and The Wave Palace at Siam Beach – an artificial wave pool in which the water gets as high as 3 metres. The ‘beach’ around it is where we spent most of the second half of the day, including having lunch in the restaurant’s near by. I’m definitely going back just for the Lazy River which is supposed to take 45 minutes, and I hope that one day when I grow up, I will be brave enough to go on the Tower of Power. Watch this Space.

Time to rides and Queues – I was pleasantly surprised with both. The walk between the different attractions was fair. It’s a water park! I think it would be foolish not to expect to earn the thrill.  remember thinking several times that I wish my smart watch was water proof because my step count for the day would have been impressive. There are lots of stairs, but that’s only because the rides start so high! Throughout the morning, we did not have to queue for any rides, but as the afternoon got on it got a little busier – to the extent that we had to wait for a group or two to go ahead of us…

Clouds clearing at Siam Beach
The sun started to come out, and the birds began to sing…

The park is beautiful. The vegetation is vibrant and the sun makes everything radiant. It was quite a cloudy day in Tenerife when we went to Siam Park and I think that helped the experience. It cleared up quite nicely in the afternoon so everyone got a healthy dose of Vitamin D. NaI are already planning our next visits. We plan to take some waterproof cameras with us next time so I’ll take photos and upload them here. It was such a great day for everyone – I even got some Aunty duties in and no one got sun burnt!

After such a thrilling start to the weekend, we trundled back home to curry and wine on the terrace.

‘Til next time –

Be good or be good at it!

Rumbie xo

El Teide – First Visit

Having good weather is the ultimate excuse to get out of the house and find something to do. Even people like me, who probably have a tortoise for a spirit animal (I like to go at my own pace, and I’m usually very happy at home) can appreciate the outdoors. Granted, just going out on the terrace would be enough for me, but part of why I wanted to move to Tenerife is to become a bit more active. Go on more ‘adventures’. So Easter Friday, we bundled the dog into the car and went to ‘find’ El Teide, Tenerife’s volcano.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve given a thought to living on an active volcano before sitting down to write this. I’m aware of it – you can’t go too far without seeing the volcano’s mountain range, nor can you drive too far before you see more of the notorious black soil.  I loved Geography at school. and I’ve found myself trying to remember what I learnt, or looking it up. Just the drive up the mountain was memorable, and it only took us 45 minutes to get to the tourist centre (with SEVERAL stops for photos).

The landscape changes so much from temperate vegetation, to pinetree forests, to cactus to what looks like driving on a new planet.

As we hadn’t planned to go all the way to the very top, we came home using the same route, filled with wonder at just what a lovely drive it was. There are a few routes to the top so we know we will get different views of the volcano. I’ve got a gallery of this visit to the Parque nacional del Teide here which I hope you’ll look at!

Do you have any recommendations for our next trip to El Teide? Have you ever been? Let me know in the comments below!

Be good or be good at it!

Rumbie xo

Groceries – ir de compras

Most things are new to me here in Tenerife. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to a few places, but I haven’t seen much of Europe, and I haven’t shopped in many countries either. All this with the added ‘allure’ of a different language means recognising food brands has been something of an adventure.

As far as supermarket chains in the UK go, I had no real loyalty to any of them. I was a member of pretty much every loyalty scheme going, but convenience, need and the occasional deal (probably in that order) were the main drives in where we shopped. Tenerife can be different for us.

I have to say that the cost of living has been difficult to gauge so far and I think that there are several contributing factors to this. The fluctuation of the value of the British Pound has meant that on some days, the exchange rate to the Euro has been  down to £1: €1.05. On days like that, any card transactions looked comparable to the UK. The euphoria of just having arrived, and still feeling a little bit like we’re on holiday has also meant some unnecessary spending. It’s also difficult and seems unfair to compare a week’s worth of shopping from UK- mid-winter (including ingredients for stews and bakes – good, warming, comfort food), to a week’s supply of lollies, aftersun lotion and vests.

Our first shopping trip in the south was about familiarity. We went to a Lidl. They are the same everywhere. Pleasant enough, plenty of products, many that look like brands you know, but that’s not what Lidl’s about! They also have the “Once it’s gone, it’s gone” clothes and items. I thought it was a bit expensive for what we went in there for. Nothing that will break the bank, but it felt like I was shopping in a UK shop. I don’t think I’ll be going back there often,

We have a mini – Hyper Dino in our town (village? I don’t know… I’ll find out what where I live is.) which we have been into several times. It’s a holiday maker’s trap as all the smaller shops tend to be. The shops are in the most convenient of places (it’s our local milk run if necessary). The bigger hyper-dinos are pleasant enough to walk around. We have been in several now, all along the south, including the one at Siam Mall and the large one just before the exit for Adeje (from the TF-1). I would happily shop there.

Orange juice maker at a local super market
Most of the larger supermarkets have fresh orange juice machines. This makes too much sense to me.

Mercadona supermarkets appear to be the most popular as it seems to be a little busy every time we have been. The range of goods on offer is good, including some that I recognise, and enough that look familiar enough to try. We have one fairly close to us and I currently consider it my favourite super market. The fish counter in our branch has so many different types of fresh sea food that I could lose a few hours just looking and watching.

Tu Trebol was our last discovery. We have a large one near us and, as it looks like a warehouse, we just drove past it without giving it too much thought. Curiosity got the better of us, however, and we ended up going in to explore and see what the place was about. Our local branch is fairly large so they have furniture there, as well as the usual stock. It seems comparable to the Dino prices.

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks when I feel less restless and so more willing to think of interesting food to make. Hopefully, I can make things that are worth adding to the I Enjoy Trying pages and get that going! I’m off to gather tools to grow ingredients!

Do you have any tips for grocery shopping in Tenerife for me? Anywhere you avoid? Let me know in the comments!

Be good or be good at it!

Rumbie

One Month in Tenerife!

When we were preparing to move over, Nick and I told ourselves that we would take at least two weeks out to have a holiday and enjoy ourselves. We told ourselves that we would soak up the sun, see all the things that needed seeing and do all the things that are here to be done before we buckle down and get on with real life. That’s not quite how it’s worked out.

I previously shared how we successfully collected our pets from the airport with the little Spanish we know, so all the Adventurers are here.  We have endured the necessary two weeks of cat house arrest,not that he gave us much trouble. Boris The Cat spent most of his first few days here hiding under a duvet, occasionally coming out to check for escape routes, having some food, and trying to find a new duvet to sneak under. The Dog has been having a wonderful time exploring our local area with us on walks. She is desperate to understand what (read: catch) a lizard, and is really enjoying the sunshine.

Boris and Widget playing
Boris and Widget are right at home!

As we’re both spending all day at home, I’m sure that all the extra time and attention is making Widget The Dog very happy indeed.

I couldn’t relax because I kept think that there are three key official documents I wanted together as soon as possible. These were our tenancy agreement, our N.I.Es and our bank accounts.  We were fortunate enough to find our home through a fairly close family connection. This certainly made the prospect of living in a house I hadn’t seen easier [classy family😉] but also meant that we had no real concerns about being “allowed” into the house, and there as no need to deal with estate agents. The tenancy agreement is a formality, but as our property comes with bills paid, it is the only real proof of address we would have for the foreseeable future.

With our tenancy agreement in hand, we set about registering with the police (which you have to do as a non-Spanish citizen). We read a lot about the número de identidad de extranjero (N.I.E.), the foreigner’s identification number. All the posts were telling us to get to the police station early – like 7 a.m, to make sure that we took a Spanish Speaker with us, and to be prepared to wait all day long. Online research and a few real experiences make it very clear that you need an N.I.E number to do anything. It is even a requirement for opening a bank account.

There were several useful sites about getting your N.I.E number in Tenerife, including this post from Tenerife forum and Practical Spain, however, most of the pages i found, including other sites were quite old, with the most recent post I found having been updated in 2014. The infomation is generally correct. The process and the translations that folk have posted on sites about relocation to Spain or blogs like mine are many. None of the posts I read were true to my experience, however.

As part of the N.I.E. process, you have to leave the police station to go to a bank to pay the admin fee. We asked about the process of opening a bank account, fully aware that we would have to return once our N.I.Es had been issued. We were pleasantly surprised that Banco Sabadell have a product for non-Spanish citizens where you can open your account using your passport only. As we happened to have those, we went through the process an appointment to collect account numbers and debit card pin codes!

In hopes of making the most of our momentum, we also managed to arrange for a Wi-Fi connection to our home. This was initially quite difficult as our command of Spanish is nowhere near what it needs to be, and all the websites for the major providers are Spanish. We filled in a few on-line forms with the help of Translate, but ended up going to a branch. We figured we would have better luck (and confidence in the products we were signing up for) if we spoke to someone, face to face. As the south of Tenerife is full of tourists, we have found that most service providers will have a member of staff who will be able to speak basic English. This has resulted in many opportunities to practice what we are learning.

 

So we have all the tools we need in order to get our lives going, and to settle into Life in El Teide Outing 14.4Tenerife. With all the adult things sorted, we have more driving and vistas to enjoy, a visit to the volcano of El Teide to look forward to, and our first house guests from the UK! The job hunt is now in progress, and now ‘real life’ begins!

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to go grocery shopping.

Until the next one,

Be good, or be good at it.

Rumbie xo