Category Archives: Canary Islands

Falling in love with Santa Cruz

I’ve been having a great time with the job in Santa Cruz! I’ve met a fantastic mix of people including a few I hope will become friends away from work, I’ve learnt the best things to do in Madrid from locals visiting Tenerife, my music playlist for Spanish artists has grown which comes with it’s own problems, and but a pleasant unexpected benefit was seeing more of Santa Cruz and learning about Tenerife.

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Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital city of the island. It’s in the North-East of the island and takes about 45 minutes to get to from ‘The South’ (Los Cristianos and Las Americas), this while covering 76km of gorgeous views along the TF-1. This was by no means my first time as I’ve been to Santa Cruz before, but it has been such a delight to spend time in the same places and getting to know little pockets of the city.

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Las Terasitas on a calm evening

One of my favourite places to go, though it has gotten quite windy on some occasions, is Playa de Las Terasitas. It is a long beach with golden sands. I’ve mentioned before that Tenerife has rich dark soil and the beach is generally no different, however, sand was imported from the Sahara desert in the 1970s to make the beaches look as they do.

15 minutes away from this beautiful beach will have you back in the tall buildings of Santa Cruz, but there is still so much to see!

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I marvelled on my first visit at the vegetation in Santa Cruz. The fact that it rains quite regularly there helps but in the last two weeks, I haven’t caught any rain. It feels completely different to the south because of the tall trees and lush vegetation that you encounter just walking through town centre. There are several parks dotted around the place as well so you’re never far from a green space. I have been told repeatedly that the rain mean that Santa Cruz is typically a couple of degrees cooler than The South as a general rule of thumb. I say be ready for anything.

IMG_20170605_170935I happen to know exactly where the football stadium is as well. I’ve heard that Tenerife have a good team that could feature in La Liga.. I’m not much of a football fan but I know enough to know that would be quite exciting for everyone.

 

Speaking English at work has somewhat stifled the attempts to learn Spanish but the app lives on! Aprendo un poco. It may be a little while now before I come back to Santa Cruz. As life continues, a part-time job is not practical for my needs here so I’m off to do a full time job. Santa Cruz is only an hour away at most so there will certainly be trips in. I’ll be sure to plan the day so we can go past all the places I know and point out Guanches influence in the city.

For now, our next house guest has arrived. Our first family member is coming to stay and I’m excited!

 

Be good or be good at it

Rumbie xo

 

Food and Vistas with a Friend – Pt 2

When we first arrived in Tenerife, Nick and I quickly started making a note of places that we would like to try out. The list includes restaurants, specific food items, activities and places or things of interest. We are trying something new everyday but also want to save some experiences to share with our gifts. I mentioned in a previous post that my dear friend Fungi came to visit and we took advantage of her visit to try a few new things.

Having done the staple activities of going ‘out out’, and the beach, a good meal was in order and for this, we went to a restaurant that we had seen a few times and thought we would like to try.

We had driven past the Churrasqueria Rodeo a few times in the time that we’ve been here and wondered what the place was like so we went there for dinner.

Nick and His Wives....
Nick and His Wives….

 

We sat outside in the patio, on a warm Saturday evening and marvelled as different meats were paraded out and offered out to us. There were different cuts of beef, cooked in different ways… chicken, sea food, pork – all prepared in various ways and brought to you for consideration. An all you can eat where they bring the food to you. It was brilliant. The company was fantastic too. At some point, we got talking to the couple sitting behind us and it transpired that they thought that Nick was out dining with his TWO wives. We cleared this up with a very brief summary of who was who. Despite this, a couple at another table piped up saying they would happily join the family as wives number 3 and 4…

Everyone was lovely but I’m still waiting for a Facebook friend request to come through from one of them. We were joking, but, I just got a feeling…

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Fungi’s last day here was off to a cloudy start unfortunately. The first for a while. So we took the chance to drive up the volcano to go seek out some sun. There’s an update to the El Teide Page with a new Gallery.

It was a genuinely grim to start but we drove up the mountain and found ourselves driving up through the clouds. It was amazing. We literally found ourselves above the

View From Above
View from above

clouds. The weather above the clouds was perfect, as usual. We used a different route into the national park this time so we saw some red mountains which we hadn’t seen before.

The weekend was finished off with a stop at La Finca! Because apparently, it’s a thing for us! I’m so happ Fungi came to visit us. When we told her we were moving, she took a moment to process, then said, “Great – I’ll be there by the end of May.” And she was! I just love her confidence in herself and her determination to do whatever she sets herself to do. I even get to take part every so often! I had the best time with Fungi here and am looking forward to seeing her again soon.

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Fungi at Mt Teide

Rumbie xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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