Three nights and four days on the island shaped like a tobacco pipe. My roommate in England and travel partner thought it resembled more of a duck. Each day she would point on the map which part of the duck’s anatomy we would be travelling too.
We booked our stay at Hostel Tenerifé, which looking back on it, was one of the best things we did. I highly recommend this little hostel to any backpacker looking to get a truly authentic feel for the life of a real Canario. The owner was also a gem.
He picked us up at the airport in his old beat up van, which some days would make a noise similar to a screeching cat before it decided to start moving. The first thing he said to us, “the hostel is fully booked tonight, so I hope you don’t mind, but you will be sleeping at my house tonight”. The smile across my face went from ear to ear as we were invited into this man’s home. We pulled up to a beautiful house overlooking the island with a roof top terrace. It was the first time in months where I pulled out my journal and listened to the sound of the wind, heard the birds, and felt the sand. Our first days there, we experienced a weather condition referred to as “clima”, where all the sand from the Sahara dessert blows over the islands creating a similar feeling to fog. The only difference is you could feel this weather condition when you grinded your teeth.
The first day we explored La Orotava a city in the North of the ‘duck’s anatomy’ right near Puerto de la Cruz. Our hostel organized a ‘family dinner’ that night. One of the hostel guests, who was a chef in a former life, cooked everyone an amazing five course meal. This amazing man has lived at the hostel for almost a year and was a valuable asset to our trip. Later that night, he gave us crucial advice and told us to walk across the street from our hostel and ring the door bell of the private residence. Without hesitation, we did. A few minutes later an old Canario man answered the door and mumbled something under his breath in Spanish. In my extremely broken Spanish I responded “Hola, dos botellas di vino tinto?”. He walked away back into his kitchen, and came back with two liters of home made red wine. To say the wine was good might be pushing it, but it was definitely worth the 2 euros, and worth every laugh after wards.
Up at 7 AM the next day we packed our bags and went on exploring. The owner of the hostel was a gem; did I mention that? He was truly a remarkable man, and a human being who I will never forget. He spent the day touring us around up to the Anaga Mountains located near the face of the ‘duck’. Or better yet, what he called the cloud forest. We hiked for a few hours and had lunch at the peak of a mountain top. Saw house’s carved into mountains with glass doors and sliding windows, and took a little nap on La Teresitas beach.
That night we went for a dinner at a recommended little restaurant, which ended in typical Canario food, free wine that came out of a recycled glass pepsi bottle and three free shots of some other home made brewed concoction from an old plastic bottle. We left giggling with burning stomachs and a new friend.
The Big Event. Today was my roommate’s birthday. We travelled 1 and half hours down to the butt of the ‘duck’. Yep, Los Gigantes. A beautiful town on the coast where the temperature was 15 degrees warmer, and a slight sun burn was achievable. We left La Orotava at 6:30 that morning with 3 sweaters, a scarf, coat and long pants on. By the time we arrived to Los Gigantes, I was holding every article of clothing in my hand, and rolled up my pants. We boarded a boat and went hunting for sightings of Dolphins and Whales. My roommate had never seen them in the wild and this was her birthday wish. To say we saw a few dolphins would not be addressing the tens upon tens of dolphins we saw and the whales as well. It truly is a magical island.
We travelled back to the hostel that night and were greeted by a home cooked meal and personalized birthday cake all made by our dear hostel friend, the retired chef. I mean, he made a Swedish Dutch Roll from scratch for my roommate. Not only did he include candles, we sang happy birthday to her along side his guitar. The hostel owner even brought her a Rose, and another new friend we made brought her a lemon from his new lemon trees. We bought more of the good home made wine from our wonderful neighbours and sat on the rooftop drinking wine and playing music until the wee hours of the morning.
The stars were unmatchable, the people were exceptional, and the banter in several languages was memorable. Trying to figure out the names of the seven dwarfs in English, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and French is surprisingly a fun game. It was amazing.
Departure day, but we had a late flight and a full day to visit the miracle of Tenerifé: El Teide. The highest peak of Spain, sitting at just over 3,700 meters, an active volcano and a landscape that resembles mars. At points, we were above the clouds. It is one of those destinations in the world that you will never truly understand the beauty of unless you visit it. If for any other reason at all, visit Tenerifé for the sight of this national park and volcano.
I can only conclude that there is no inch of this island that is even remotely similar, no climate the same, and every temperature was different, every plant changed, and every beach had different colour sand. Magical is all I can say and I only wish to be able to return again one day.