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Posts Tagged ‘real tenerife island drives’

Just in case there was the slightest outside chance that we might find ourselves with spare time on our hands, we’re currently converting Real Tenerife Island Drives into Kindle format.

We’ve watched with interest over the past year as Kindle has taken off, and having just bought one as a present for someone and seen it in action, it’s clear why this little gizmo will soon replace paper-bound holiday reading. So, never one to miss an opportunity, I have embarked on making Real Tenerife Island Drives available on Kindle, which gives us an opportunity to ensure that all our directions and references are fully up to date.

As we’re constantly driving the length and breadth of Tenerife to get to meetings, the start of walking trails or to fiestas, it’s quite easy to check most of the routes in the book by simply slotting them into our itinerary. In this way, we’ve ensured that everything’s still hunky dory. But there’s one route that takes a little more effort – Here Be Dragos…[Read more]

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I’ve been conspicuous by my absence on here of late – that’s because I’ve moved. You can find my ramblings now self-contained within the all-singing, all-dancing The Real Tenerife website. Come on over, the kettle’s on 🙂

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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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A new survey conducted in May by Confused.com has come up with some rather surprising statistics for what Brits get up to in their cars. Apparently, of the 2000 motorists surveyed, 47% of Southwest drivers admitted to having sex in their car, hotly pursued by the South East (44%) and Scotland (43%).

It’s not entirely clear from the report in RealTravel.magazine whether the sex is happening at the same time as the driving but a quote from one of the Confused.com people which refers to “the distraction element some drivers are exposing themselves to when multi tasking”, would certainly suggest that this is the case (personally, I would have chosen a different phrase there if I’d been their spokesperson).

Other in-car entertainment options to come out of the survey are eating (75% of respondents) and sleeping (50%), though whether the sleeping comes after the sex is unclear and what exactly is being referred to by ‘eating’ is somewhere I’m not prepared to go.
Apparently 33% of the Welsh have been dumped by their partners whilst behind the wheel, presumably because they fell asleep while having sex and got crumbs all over the seat…the mind boggles!

All I can say is, British drivers must be very bored with the scenery on their doorsteps and really ought to get out more.
I can whole heartedly recommend picking up a copy of Island Drives, renting a car on Tenerife and taking to the Tinerfeño roads where you’ll be far too busy gawping at the scenery to indulge in auto-intimacy, or at least, not whilst the vehicle is actually in motion.

And if you can have sex whilst simultaneously driving down the mountain into Masca, you’re either having bad sex or else you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

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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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It seems that, despite the economic gloom and the pound’s freefall, 3 million Brits will still be escaping the cold and heading overseas for some sadly missed sunshine this Christmas. As always, according to ABTA, Tenerife will be one of the most popular destinations for them.
Unfortunately, as Secret Tenerife reports, Tenerife has just had its coldest autumn for 15 years and is about to have its coldest winter in years too.

A sun soaked Tenerife beach

A sun soaked Tenerife beach

Of course, it’s all a matter of what you’re used to. When the thermometer drops below 22°C here, all the locals and ex pats don their woolly sweaters, socks and boots and look askance at the visitors in their shorts and T shirts. The visitors in turn, think the locals are ‘loco’. But one thing that makes more of a difference than anything is the appearance, or not, of the sun and for the past month or so, Tenerife has been decidedly low on its usual quota of sunshine.

After the appalling summer in Britain this year, your heart has to go out to people who have recently come to Tenerife in search of R&R with a tan and are finding as many cloudy days as sunny ones.
It’s a perennial worry for holiday makers and one which pre-occupies them in the run up to their one or two hard earned weeks.

But for those of us who live here, short spells of bad weather are never a problem, we know the sun will be back and we’ll still be here to see it when it does, a fact that brought many of us to Tenerife in the first place.

2009 is just around the corner, time to resolve to do things differently or in some way improve your life in the coming year. Well, for all of you who, like us, decide that it’s time to leave the bad weather, the ailing pound and the stress of trying to keep your head above water in rip-off Britain and head to Tenerife’s (normally) sun kissed shores, here are a few pointers that will help you to get the best possible start to your new life:

Firstly, you’ll need a copy of ‘Tenerife Lifeline’. This book tells you all you need to know about creating a home, working, taxes, health, education, the law and government. I only wish it had been available when we were planning our move out here, it would have made life very much easier.
Secondly, you’ll need a reliable Estate Agent, one who can offer advice and information as well as a portfolio of properties. Horizon Property Group is the largest independent estate agent in the Canary Islands and will hand-hold you through the whole process.

Thirdly, you’ll need ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ to give you the full low down on all the main towns and villages on the island, the culture, the fiestas, the food, the shopping and tales from other ex-pats of their Tenerife experiences.
Finally, you’ll need to stay in touch with everyday life on ‘the reef’ by keeping up to date with the island’s best English language websites:
Secret Tenerife – wit and wisdom on everything Tinerfeño
Etenerife – holidays, business and life in the south of the island all wrapped up MyTenerifeinfo – location reports, golf, nightlife, hotel and restaurant reviews
Canary Green – how green is our island?
and of course Real Tenerife Island Drives which takes you away from the usual resorts and shows you the ‘real’ Tenerife.

Here’s to 2009 and your new life in the sun!

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The other day whilst I was in Santiago del Teide having a look at the trail of destruction left by the Tenerife forest fire, a deluxe silver convertible with a car rental sticker on its bumper pulled up beside me.
“You don’t happen to speak any Spanish, do you?” The driver asked. “The car’s making a funny noise and I haven’t a clue what this means.”
He pointed to the dashboard where, very cleverly, the on-board computer was telling him what the problem was. Unfortunately for him it was in Spanish. As it turned out it was telling him that his gear box was on the blink.

It was just one of those unexpected incidents that can happen when you hire a car in a foreign country, but it suddenly occurred to me that although we’ve written a guide to discovering the island by car; we aren’t, as yet, providing any advice relating to actually renting a car on Tenerife. With over 100 car rental firms on Tenerife to choose from, it can be a bit of a daunting task which I remember only too well from my first visits to the island.

To rectify this, and help visitors make a more informed choice in the future, we’ve included an independent on-line guide to hiring a car on Tenerife on our Real Tenerife Island Drives website. So, to help us I ‘d like to hear from people who’ve rented a car on the island.

What I’m especially interested in is:

  • If you collected your hire car from the airport, was the process quick and easy?
  • Were there any unexpected charges, or ‘add-ons’?
  • Was the car’s petrol tank full, or was finding a petrol station the first thing you had to do?
  • Did you feel that the car hire firm were friendly, service was good and there weren’t any communication problems?
  • Was the car in good condition?
  • If you had an accident, was the car hire company supportive in helping you deal with it?

Also feel free to leave any other comments that you feel would help visitors to Tenerife make the right choice when hiring a car.

Thanks very much for your help.

P.S. There’s at least one car hire company on Tenerife who have their customers’ overall holiday experience in mind and that’s Poul’s Autos. If you book on line with them you get a FREE copy of Island Drives, but only if you ask for it.

N.B. All or part of your comments may be published and credited on Real Tenerife Island Drives website

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