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Phespirit goes to Tenerife
El Médano     March 2008

AROUND TENERIFE

Map of Tenerife

1 Santa Cruz

Tenerife's capital is a proper city by any standard. It mixes culture and commerce, shipping and shopping, business and leisure, and is understandably regarded as the unofficial Canarian capital.

Highlights for Phespirit included the Canarian landscape paintings in the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes; the cannon that claimed the right arm of Admiral Nelson; parks and fountains north of Calle de Castillo's western end; and the old Castillo and new Auditorio.

It is metropolitan Europe set adrift in the Atlantic.

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2 El Médano

Two of the best things about El Médano are that:

  • it is situated on the coast, surrounded by the only naturally sandy beaches anywhere on Tenerife;

  • it is the getaway destination of choice for Tenerifans and is thus peopled by laidback locals rather than lairy foreigners.

On the downside, it is notorious for fierce winds; the very thing for windsurfers and their ilk, but not ideal for sunbathers and strollers. Phespirit always managed to find shelter though, so it didn't prove too much of a problem.

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3 Los Abrigos

It took Phespirit about half an hour to walk from El Médano along pathways behind Montaña Roja to Playa de la Tejita. It then took him a further hour to walk along coastal paths to Los Abrigos.

Once there, it took him just five minutes to decide that this wasn't the charming fishing village he'd been given to believe. Instead it is merely another soulless collection of boxy new buildings to further bloat the property market.

He retreated the way he came.

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4 Los Cristianos

It is difficult to tell where Los Cristianos ends and the much larger Playa de las Américas, to the north, starts. Phespirit didn't spend any time looking for the join. He only came here to board the first available ferry out of town, heading for La Gomera.

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5 Los Gigantes

After Mount Teide, the cliffs of Los Gigantes, towering up to 800m high, were the natural wonder Phespirit particularly wanted to see on Tenerife. So he made his way to the region, found an excellent vantage point, admired the view, took photos, and then ..... left.

They're a must-see sight, but only for so long.

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6 Masca

At the point where a conical peak curls up from the side of a lush gorge in a remote northwest region, stands the village of Masca.

The magic of Masca is in its stunning setting and the exhilarating sense of being somewhere rather special. Phespirit was fortunate that few other tourists were around to clutter up the moment.

In a thousand years, Masca could be Tenerife's Machu Picchu.

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7 Garachico

Phespirit passed about an hour and a half in Garachico. The town once had a large, busy port, but in 1706 this was nigh-on filled up by two creeping lava flows. Now all that remains is a small pebble beach - where Phespirit stopped to eat his lunch - and a mess of lava rockpools, around which the locals have constructed a clever network of undulating pathways.

Garachico also has a small 16th century stone fort, a church with an exquisite wooden interior, and a convent that was probably just as exquisite, but which charged 60 cents entry so Phespirit didn't bother finding out (he'd used his loose change to enter the fort).

Altogether an interesting and worthwhile place to visit.

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8 Icod de los Vinos

There is a famous old Dragon Tree here. Phespirit stood before it: tall, twisted, spiky-topped and highly peculiar to look at .....

..... just like the tree.

It's the only reason to visit Icod.

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9 Parque Nacional de Teide

There is more to the parque than the peak.

Teide is the highest peak 'in Spain', but setting aside that statistic it is mainly the multi-coloured, multi-textured, dramatically craggy volcanic landscape that makes this a fascinating area.

Phespirit would love to be able to think himself a credible amateur geologist, but he's never retained enough knowledge to do so with a straight face. So he just looks at the pretty colours and shapes, and enjoys what he sees.

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  1. Santa Cruz
  2. El Médano
  3. Los Abrigos
  4. Los Cristianos
  5. Los Gigantes
  6. Masca
  7. Garachico
  8. Icod de los Vinos
  9. Parque Nacional de Teide
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Santa Cruz El Médano Los Abrigos Los Cristianos Los Gigantes Masca Garachico Icod de los Vinos Parque Nacional de Teide