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Posts Tagged ‘Island Drives’

Friday was our seventh anniversary of moving to Tenerife and it’s ironic that having spent so many years trying to make enough money just to continue living here, we didn’t have time to celebrate it until Saturday night because we’ve been so busy.

But celebrate it we did and several glasses after the cork left the cava, thoughts and conversation turned to reflecting on how the working environment here is so different from the one we knew in the UK.

Here, life has a way of simply getting under foot and you constantly have to try to find a way around it. Partly that’s due to the working from home factor; without a shiny, fully equipped office in which to sit, you’re vulnerable to all sorts of interruptions but also, it’s about rural living on a small island in the Atlantic.

Take Friday for example. Having been working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the past three weeks to achieve a deadline, I was trying to upload the last couple of hours of work when a friend arrived with two dogs that we’ve agreed to look after for a mutual friend who’s currently recuperating from illness. We’re totally unprepared for dogs here at Casa Montgomery, but having a network of people on whom you can rely is an essential part of living in a rural community. So I abandoned the keyboard, popped the kettle on and greeted our canine house guests and their chauffeur.

 

The latest (temporary!) additions to the household

 

We sat on the tatty garden chairs around the old pine table on the terrace and as we chatted we watched the fat, shiny leaves of the banana plants on the next door plantation wafting in the gentle breeze as if operated by invisible punkah wallahs. Conversation ebbed and flowed between corruption in local politics and the likelihood of acquiring a 30 foot ladder on which to tackle the avocado tree in the garden which has grown to such proportions that it’s now a landmark feature on Google Earth.

Earlier in the day we’d had to visit the Correos (post office) to despatch the last of the week’s orders for Island Drives. We can’t just put a stamp on the guides and pop them into the post box because the Correos operate a weigh and frank system, and two of us have to go because road works have annihilated all the parking in the area and double or triple parking is the only option; so someone has to stay with the car to move it when necessary. On Friday there were 43 people ahead of Jack and a whole hour was donated to the Spanish postal system.

Sitting on the terrace and mentally fretting about my rapidly approaching deadline, I couldn’t help wondering if the folks who would read my Tenerife Expert and Tenerife Insider opinions would have any idea what life out here is really like. I guessed probably not.

 

The megalomaniacal avocado tree

 

It’s been an amazing seven years and a journey that has at times lifted us to new heights and at other times dropped us on our heads. Just 18 months ago we faced the harsh reality that we had just three solvent months left after which we’d have to put the house on the market and leave the island. Today we’re so busy with financially and creatively rewarding projects that we’re struggling to keep the plates spinning… and we’re loving every minute of it.
Last night we realised that it’s almost one year to the day since we sat on this terrace with our friends and colleagues on a red hot day and floated the idea of setting up an online lifestyle magazine. One year later Tenerife Magazine gets 11,500 visits a month, has almost 2,000 fans on Facebook and we’re making expansion plans.

Seven years on Tenerife and the only thing that has remained constant is the inconsistency of living here…and our love of its lifestyle.
We can never relax or become complacent and boredom is a foreign land for which we don’t own passports.
I wonder what the next 12 months hold.

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A very good friend of mine sent me this from the ‘Things to be Miserable About’ site:

Miserable Fact of the Day
A study found that most people report no increase in happiness after taking a vacation, and even those who do, return to their normal levels of unhappiness after only two weeks. [New York Times]

If you’ve just flown back from Tenerife’s palm-filled paradise, of course you’re going to be miserable when you get back to the cold weather, daily grindstone and concrete of home. But as the excellent Pamela pointed out, there are ways to prolong the benefits and defer the misery.

If all you do while you’re on vacation is lie around a pool or on the beach developing a nice, even tan, then let’s be honest, the holiday’s over the moment you set off for the airport.
After all, what are you going to tell people when you get back?
“Hi – how was the holiday?” they’ll ask.
“Great!” you’ll respond.
“Nice tan!” they’ll remark.
Conversation…and holiday over.

If, on the other hand, you get out and about exploring, discovering tucked away gems of places, charismatic restaurants that turned up the best tapas you’ve ever tasted and scenery that’s even had the kids going “WOW!” you’ll have a whole store of adventures and tales to tell. You can relish, embellish and re-tell experiences endlessly, re-igniting memories and bringing that holiday smile right back!

Leaving your comfort zone and experiencing something different can open the door to a whole new world of adventure. Why not try your hand at diving around the beautiful waters off Las Galletas, or try a tandem paraglide in Adeje or bike rafting down from Teide National Park? You never know, it might spark a latent talent or a passion that’ll have you embarking on a whole new way of life after you get back home!

If the office sends your stress-ometer off the chart, walk it right out of your system by taking to some of Tenerife’s amazing hiking trails. Walking is a great way to relax your mind and tone your muscles while experiencing parts of the island that most visitors never get to see. Your body will feel more refreshed, your mind will be more alert and you’ll be better equipped to keep the stress bar down when the in-tray rises.

Island Walks and Island Drives – for holidays that last longer than the tan!

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We woke up yesterday to cold, cloud and drizzle, cursing our luck that we’d chosen the week’s worst weather day to show a friend something he’d never seen, despite 30 years of visiting Tenerife.
As we were about to pull the front door, the electricity went off.
“I think a day out will do us good”, I sighed.

Bob’s not like a lot of the Brits who spend their winters on Tenerife, moving from their apartment to the beach and the beach to their favourite bar, the longest journey they undertake being the one from the airport to their resort and then back again when it’s time to return in the spring.
Bob likes to explore Tenerife.

Not being a driver though, his exploration has to confine itself to those places he can easily access by public transport in a day and so, in 30 years of coming to Puerto de la Cruz, Bob had never been to Masca; Tenerife’s Shangri-La and the second most visited place on the island after Mount Teide.
Yesterday, Jack and I decided to rectify that omission and to take Bob on our ‘Hidden Depths’ discovery drive.

Masca never fails to impress even the most hardened of travellers.
From the moment you begin to climb the narrow road that snakes its way up the mountainside out of Santiago del Teide, then crest to reveal the tiny settlement perched at the mouth of its ravine, surrounded by palm groves and towering monoliths, until you reach the end of the path at the bottom of the village, the ‘WOW’ factor never diminishes.

“They have quite a history of witches here, you know.”
“Really?” Bob looked suitably sceptical.
“Yup, shape-changers; women who become crows, or pigs or cats and play tricks on you.”
We were walking back along the narrow road towards the car.
“That’s odd”, said Jack, “the mobile phone won’t switch on.”
“My camera’s just gone blank”, said Bob, “it won’t do anything.”
We stopped in the road and tried pressing buttons and changing batteries but nothing would resurrect the camera or the phone.
Eventually we gave up and continued walking. After a few yards the phone came back on and Bob’s camera miraculously came back to life.
“Told you.” I grinned.

By the time we arrived at the valley, the sun had burned the clouds off and it had turned into a beautiful afternoon. We found a perfect table at the picnic zone, in the dappled shade of the fruit trees and ate our bocadillos while Bob filled the memory stick on his camera, completely seduced by the beauty of his surroundings.

After lunch we continued our trip to the Westerly town of Buenavista where Bob informed us he’d once gone, not known where to go and, disillusioned with the surroundings, had got straight back on the bus to Puerto.
Yesterday we took him to the old quarter with its pretty plaza and church, to the best cake shop on Tenerife and the old little store that sells local produce and handicrafts .

Later, as we sat in the sun by the Art Nouveau bandstand of another picturesque plaza enjoying a coffee, Bob asked if there were toilets in the café, there weren’t, but we knew where there were some and directed him to the courtyard of the old convent.
When he came back Bob said; “I can’t believe how many beautiful places I’ve seen today and all the things I’ve learned about them. You even know where the toilets are everywhere we’ve been!”

It was a great day; relaxing, enjoyable and fun and it was rewarding to share in Bob’s enthusiasm.
Sometimes we forget how few people really know this beautiful island and its hidden depths; it’s a joy to share that knowledge with those who want more from Tenerife than just a suntan.

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