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Mount Teide from the road to Puerto de la Cruz

Today we’ve been Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The weather has been hot and sunny, and we did a morning excursion: ‘Puerto de la Cruz and Orotava Valley’. In fact we found this a bit disappointing. We had hoped we would be exploring the Orotava valley, but in fact the excursion consisted of a drive up to the north coast, a couple of photographic stops on the way, a visit to the (old) resort town of Puerto de la Cruz, an hour along the seafront in the town, and finally a visit to the orchid garden, an attraction in the town that consisted of – well, you guessed it, an orchid garden. We weren’t enthused. There were some good things about it – the weather was good, and we had excellent views of Mount Teide (all 12,100 feet of it). In fact our excursion guide said that she had rarely seen the mountain that clear in over thirty years on the island. But mostly it was a bit disappointing – the visit to the town consisted of a walk one way along the man drag, then back to a cafe for coffee, then another walk along the main drag but in the opposite direction, then back to the coach.


Beach at Puerto de la Cruz


Private pool area at Puerto de la Cruz

One thing that was interesting was that there was a set of pools right next to the beach, probably because the sea was actually pretty rough with pounding surf – I’ve added pictures of both the beach and the pool area. These pools were a chargeable extra, of course.

The orchid garden was pretty enough but actually quite small and was deep in the town. It might well have been in clear countryside in decades gone by (it has a history going back to the 19th century), but following the development of tourism in Puerto de la Cruz in the 60s and 70s, the town has expanded around it.

By far the best part of the excursion was our guide. Originally from Glasgow, she moved to Tenerife in the late 1970s as a teacher of english, and has lived on the island ever since, marrying a local man and raising a family. She told us a number of stories about the culture clash that could occur between Canarian families and foreign brides, i.e. herself. I especially liked the story about her first visit to her fiancé’s family: her future mother-in-law was on a different floor cooking while she, her fiancé and her future father-in-law were in the lounge. At some point the future f-i-l called for his wife to move an ash tray for him,and the wife came down from the different floor, moved an ash tray that was already in the lounge a few feet to a position nearer her husband, then went back to the cooking. All the time the future f-i-l remained sprawled out on a settee. She dug her fiancé in the ribs and told him “there’ll be none of that when we’re married!”.

It’s just gone 4:45 and our lines have just been taken on board – in fact as I write I can feel the thrusters starting to work, so we’ll be away in a moment or two. Leaving here means that will now be heading for home – the next port is Lisbon, the day after tomorrow. Before that we have a meal in the Orchid Restaurant this evening and then a day at sea tomorrow.

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