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Posts Tagged ‘crater’

El Medano; where the breeze is constant and the views hold some surprisesYesterday I was in the kite-boarders’ and wind-surfers’ paradise resort of El Médano and I’ve never seen so many naked men in one place.

That’s not to say they were wandering around the streets, nor even stretched out on the town’s main beach. No. I had to walk quite some distance to find them.

‘Walking’ and ‘hiking’ would probably not be at the top of most people’s list if you were to ask them what Tenerife means to them. But the island is in fact a kaleidoscopic matrix of trails that take you from tropical coastline, through arid badlands and heavenly scented pinewoods, to a 17 kilometre wide volcanic crater and climbing the World’s third largest volcano – Mount Teide.
There’s enough variety of terrain and spectacular scenery to keep even the most hardened of hikers whistling “Happy Feet”.

I’m currently making a concerted effort to hike as many of Tenerife’s trails as I can, and yesterday I opted for the bohemian, laid back resort of El Médano for a spot of coastal walking.
Leaving the town and heading out towards the red mountain which landmarks El Médano and is imaginatively named “La Montaña Roja”, it wasn’t long before my first naked buttocks came into view, beside the lagoon at the end of the dunes.

Continuing along the beach and following the path up Bocinegro, I diverted onto a lesser trodden path that took me to some amazing wind-sculptured sand and salt rock formations amongst which, I slowly became aware of a large number and variety of more flesh toned scenery. Naked men were wandering along the white pumice giant’s causeway; sunbathing and swimming in the small coves below the rocks, and generally standing around with their hands on their hips and their willies looking out to sea.

I’d clearly breached a favoured naturist, and presumably gay, location. Either that or it was the local ‘tackle-out fiesta’ and I hadn’t spotted it on the calendar.

Feeling oddly out of place and keeping my eyes more or less straight ahead, I continued on my way, skirting the base of Montaña Roja and then scaling its 173 metres just for a change of scenery.

It’s amazing how much variety you can see in one short hike on Tenerife!

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“I’ll mix us a small aperitif” shouts Sarah above the din of the steady disco beat emanating from the speakers and the constant whirr of my hairdryer.
It’s Thursday night, Sarah’s last with us before she returns to Doncaster and makes final preparations before leaving for Sri Lanka and 2 years as a project worker with VSO.

It’s been a busy day; up with the lark at 9am (larks sleep late in Tenerife), fruit for breakfast, make up the bocadillos for lunch, pack the rucksacks, grab the hiking boots and head off into the hills for some crater walking.
Parking the car at the visitor centre in El Portillo, we set off to do the circular Arenas Negras walk.
The north coast of Tenerife is laid out like a jewelled carpet 2000 metres below us as we traverse the crater, climbing steadily until we reach the flat retama scrublands with their myriad of earth tones where the debris of millions of years of volcanic activity has created a landscape where lakes of white pumice sit beside rivers of russet, brown, orange and crimson.Hiking the Arenas Negras trail Into the lunar surface, a vast canyon yawns, its sheer slopes layered in a cross section of volcanic evidence.
We sit on a bed of white pumice and, beneath Teide’s icy stare, tuck into our bocadillos.

The landscape turns black as we skitter and ski our way down the loose descent of the eponymous Arenas Negras before joining the wide pista of Siete Cañadas which will take us back to our starting point.
On the way, Jack teaches us how to ‘get in step’ Marine-style by way of a short stamp with the right foot to the back of the left heel which, almost imperceptibly, changes the lead foot. I’m extremely impressed by this revelation and we practice changing step in perfectly synchronised route-march style for several hundred yards, causing general hilarity and Sarah to drop her sunglasses, undetected, somewhere along the 2½ kilometre stretch.
We begin to re-trace our steps but luckily, I ask a couple of German hikers who are heading towards us if they happen to have seen the escapee ‘fendis’ and they produce them from a top pocket, thus saving us a great deal of wasted time and effort.
Unluckily, they then ask us if we can give them a lift back to their car which they’ve left at the Parador; a 40 minute round trip completely out of our way, thus causing us a great deal of wasted time and effort.
With the compulsory customary beer at the end of a Tenerife walk and the long drive home, there’s little time to relax before we have to head off for the bus and Sarah’s vodka aperitif gives us a much needed boost.

A second aperitif in Plaza Charco and then it’s off to Mil Sabores for a meal that does exactly what it says on the menu; a ‘thousand flavours’ racing around our palettes, the final lap being performed by the best profiteroles and tiramisu ever to grace Canarian crockery.
A couple of mojitos in ‘Elements’ bar round off a perfect evening and it’s near 2am when we arrive home, to find that Sarah left the freezer door open when she mixed the vodkas. The ice bag is now floating and our nightcaps are tepid.
On Friday night, at 10.30pm, a text arrives from Sarah:
“Hi, just got home to find I accidentally switched the freezer off before I left…whoops!”

Is Sri Lanka ready for Sarah, I wonder?

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It may come as a bit of a surprise to the citizens of San Francisco, but for a few days last week, San Francisco moved its geographical location from America’s west coast to an island a couple of hundred kilometres off the coast of Africa.

I can’t understand why Tenerife isn’t considered a prime location by movie makers. There are ancient forests, mountain ranges, arid badlands, tropical beaches, quaint villages and a towering volcano surrounded by an enormous crater, all within the confines of one relatively small island.
The crater itself would be perfect for any number of sci-fi movies and is just crying out as a backdrop for velociraptors and T-Rex’s. Mind you ‘One Million Years B.C’ was made there, but that was nearly as long ago as the title of the movie.
I did literally almost stumble across a robot in the crater once. I’m still kicking myself for not taking a photo of it as later that day I read a report about it on the BBC news website and discovered it was destined for Mars (it just didn’t look that interesting – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it).

So, when I parked my car beside the harbour at Puerto de la Cruz and noticed the four-mast schooner in the bay, maybe I should have paid a bit more attention. Instead I thought, ‘Hmmm, that’s not normally there,’ and carried on my way, my mind barely registering, first a 19th century horse and carriage and then a group of people kitted out in what looked like outfits favoured by early American pioneers as I hurried to reach the bank before it shut.

As it turned out, a Russian film crew were in town filming scenes for a new movie called ‘The Passenger’, part of which was set in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century, with Puerto de la Cruz, playing the part of San Francisco.

It might seem strange that these sights didn’t stop me in my tracks. What can I say? This is a town where I’ve seen men dressed as weeping widows following a 20ft sardine, herds of goats being dragged kicking and screaming into the harbour water, drag queens in fancy dress and 6-inch high heels running a marathon and gorillas on motorbikes. A few people in Wild West costumes just didn’t seem that out of the ordinary.

 

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