Posts Tagged ‘Masca’

Masca looking it's old self again

We don’t have that many stockists of Island Drives on Tenerife so you’d think that getting round them would be a fairly easy affair. But there are some stockists that we struggle to get to even once a year and there are a couple of reasons why that is.
Living in the north of Tenerife, we try to maximise effectiveness of our journeys south and so usually combine trips to stockists with other business. So our usual routine is to leave Puerto de la Cruz early to drive south where we have one or two meetings and then onto the west and back via Icod de los Vinos.

The trouble with this pattern is that we invariably arrive in the west of the island mid-afternoon and so Kiko’s in Alcalá is always closed for the siesta and we don’t want to wait until he re-opens at 4.30pm as it’s just ‘dead’ time and we still have more stops to make.
So spending a night in Pearly Grey last week gave us the perfect opportunity to pop into Kiko’s the next day.

Kiko’s is a great place; it reminds me of Arkwright’s store in ‘Open All Hours’. He sells absolutely everything and it’s all over the place. There appears to be no planning or order whatsoever yet Kiko can go straight to whatever you need without stuttering and he’ll be grinning and joking with you while he does. It’s a really nice store – a part of the Alcalá community.

The second stockist we rarely get to for fairly obvious reasons, is La Fuente in Masca. The first time we went to him with Island Drives he was amazed that we were there and told us distributors won’t deal with him ‘cos he’s just too remote to justify a trip. Again, he’s a really pleasant man and it’s great having our books with him; I love the fact that you can travel to one of the remotest villages on Tenerife and you’ll find Real Tenerife Island Drives on the shelf!

So when we left Kiko’s on Wednesday, we took a detour from Santiago del Teide into Masca. It’s a year since we were last there and we were amazed to see how much the undergrowth has come back in that year after the fires of 2007. The valley is once again looking lush and fertile; the Masca Barranco looked almost irresistibly inviting for a hike to the beach and life in the hamlet seems to be getting back to normal.

Sue's jewellery stall, Masca plaza

Our friend Sue was at her usual jewellery stand in the plaza, weaving leather straps into an intricate wrist band. Sue and Colin are two of only four (I think it’s only four now) Brits living in Masca and their home was destroyed in the fires in 2007. But their new home is now complete – well, there isn’t any electricity yet but hey, it’s only been 3 years – and they’re happily ensconced. Sue sits patiently in the plaza most days creating her beautiful jewellery and loves a chat with visitors.

So if you’re hiring a car and planning a trip to Masca – pop into La Fuente for some of their fabulous cake and their homemade cactus lemonade and then wander over to Sue’s stall, say “hi” from Andy & Jack from Puerto and buy some beautiful, handmade jewellery as souvenirs.

Tenerife – it’s full of gems.

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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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