Beach break in Tenerife

Trip Start Nov 25, 2009
Trip End Dec 13, 2009

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Flag of Spain  , Canary Islands,
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sailing into Tenerife was quite different than Madeira the previous day. Where Madeira was very green and lush, Tenerife appeared very brown and desolate. Don't get me wrong though, it was still a beautiful island. We docked in Santa Cruz de Tenerife while we were finishing our breakfast and then we left the ship and followed the yellow brick road (literally, it was a yellow brick road) out of the port and into the heart of Santa Cruz. We spent some time admiring the fountains at Plaza de Espanya and the view of the mountains beyond. Tenerife is home to tallest mountain in Spain, Mount Teide which is 12,198 feet, but we were never able to see it from Santa Cruz. On the plaza there was a protest going on with a bunch of men waving Canary Islands flags. We never found out what was going on, but they sure were a noisy bunch.

From the plaza, we walked down the main thoroughfare from Plaza de la Candelaria and on down the main pedestrian street. The street was lined with bright, colorful buildings and some very vibrant murals. There were a lot of people out and the shops were all open. There were even a few street performers along the way. We didn't have much of a plan here, so we just wandered through the city. Poinsettias seemed to be very popular as we saw them everywhere! They were in all of the vases and planters on the street and there were hundreds in the many flower beds and gardens. It was very beautiful. Along with the poinsettias were many other flowers of all colors, not to mention all of the palm trees and the unique Canary Islands Dragon Tree. As we walked through the city, we were looking for the Military Museum to see the cannon that shot off Nelson's arm. We couldn't find it so we walked along the seaside promenade looking for a bus stop instead.

As we wandered alongside the water, we found a bank which showed the temperature to be 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit). We found a bus stop to take the 910 bus out to Playa de las Teresitas, the main beach near Santa Cruz. We had brought our swimwear and towels just in case, but at 75 degrees we just weren't sure it would be warm enough. We got on the bus or guagua (pronounced wah wah) and rode out past San Andres to the beach. It was magnificent. It was a huge sandy beach covered with palm trees at the base of the barren mountains. The sand on the beach had been brought in from the Sahara Desert. The view out to the water was perfect if you looked a bit to the left (there were some oil tankers, etc. off to the right). We went down to the water and laid out our towels. Kyle had a beer and then he was ready to go in. I was unsure because the water was pretty cold, but there were others in the water too so I went for it. When else was I going to swim on a beach with Sahara sand? We got changed in the changing stalls on the beach and went for a swim. It was cold, but very nice. We didn't have long to swim since we had to get out and dry before taking the bus back into the city.

We found the Military Museum not long after we got back into Santa Cruz, just as it closed and we were not allowed in. Oh well. We walked along the streets until we found a grocery store to grab a drink and a snack. We also found the Cathedral and some more beautiful squares. As we made our way back to the ship, we crossed Plaza de Espanya and saw a man sweeping up after the protesters had left (his broom, a palm branch). We walked down a little ways to see the Auditorio de Tenerife (the Wave) which is the pretty spectacular opera house and then crossed back over into the port area. We got back to the ship in time to see a chef from a Celebrity ship fishing right behind the ship. Not sure I would order the catch of the day if I was onboard the Celebrity Century.

We got back to our room and watched as we sailed away from Tenerife. We sailed by a few small islands that we could just see in the distance after we left behind the mountains of Tenerife. This was our last port of call so we had six days of nothing but relaxing until we arrived in the Bahamas!
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