Like many people I suppose, when we first moved to Tenerife we found a good chunk of the year was taken up by visiting friends and relatives.
It was a joy to spend quality time with people who were important to us, especially as for years we’d only managed to snatch a few precious moments every so often back in the UK.
But we made mistakes in our first few years. One was that we were so happy to see everyone we never said no. For three months of the year not only weren’t we earning, we were spending money enjoying everyone else’s holiday. When we realised we couldn’t continue this way forever, limitations were imposed.
The second was that we wanted to show everyone who visited all our favourite parts of the island. We exhausted them with long trips out.
Then we went the other way – cutting down on visitors and ensuring work didn’t suffer when the ‘honoured’ few were given the thumbs up for a visit.
Subsequently, the last time my mum visited she was more or less consigned to the garden whilst we continued to bang away at the keyboards. This time we were determined to get it right despite her insisting she would be happy to sit in the garden reading her Kindle every day.
Day 1: The Airport Run
Normally we pick friends and family up from Tenerife Sur Airport and drive home as quickly as possible. This time we decided to break the journey up with lunch and a wander around the old centre of Candelaria. As the market was on we picked up some strong local cheese as a bonus. Lunch was a simple affair, outside a café in a back street buzzing with locals. Even papas locas can seem exotic in the sunshine. Actually, papas locas are quite exotic I suppose. It was a relaxing way for her to arrive.
Day 2: Multinational Lunch
Our Danish neighbours had invited us for lunch. Although their house is only 100 yards away from ours we rarely see them, so most of my mum’s first full day was spent picking at a lunch which lasted from 2 till 5pm. She was faced with slabs of roast beef from a special butcher they knew, thick smoked salmon from a fish specialist in Santa Ursula and chopitos (small, fried squid). Throughout the afternoon our jovial hosts switched from English to Danish to Spanish at various points. My mum loved it all. I think it was the highlight of her visit.
Day 3: Shopping and Dining
Friday morning is the big shop (we avoid the Saturday crowds). It gave my mum a chance to have a look around La Villa shopping centre where she picked up a top at a bargain price. She was so chuffed with her purchase she went back for another before she left.
After an afternoon reading in the garden, we took her to El Calderito de la Abuela for dinner. El Calderita has a great atmosphere on a Friday night and a menu which suits adventurous and conservative diners.
Day 4: The Tapas Route
Tegueste is only a short drive away. They holding a tapas route in April and we thought it would be something different for my mum to experience. As it turned out most places weren’t serving tapas till evening. Tegueste isn’t a place many visitors go, so their tapas route was geared more to people living there. Still, the town looked great, decorated for the San Marcos fiestas and a visit to the Tegueste market is always worthwhile. This time we ended up with a couple of unique pressies from a bohemian jewellery stall. With the tapas route a bust, we headed down the hill to Punta de Hidalgo for a sunny lunch on the promenade.
When we returned to Puerto de la Cruz early evening there was a little gourmet food fair around the harbour. A browse around it was a nice way to end a relaxing day out that hadn’t involved too much travelling.
Day 5: Easy like Sunday Morning
Whilst my mum sat in the sun in the garden with her Kindle again, we worked on a couple of writing jobs that had come in unexpectedly, taking turns to pop out and chat throughout the day. It was simply a nice easy way to spend a Sunday… apart from the work interludes.
Day 6: Lunch and the Little People
One of the closest restaurants to us is Tito’s Bodeguita, a lovely looking place to take visiting friends and family. My mum enjoyed a wander around the restaurant’s courtyard snapping pics whilst we waited for our lunch of crispy croquettes, stuffed red peppers, and crunchy almond chicken to arrive. Afterwards it was a short hop across the road to visit the little people at PuebloChico. My mum enjoyed PuebloChico even though we felt it had gone downhill since our last visit.
Day 7: The Traditional Cava Breakfast
It’s a tradition to treat visitors to a last day cava breakfast at El Monasterio in Los Realejos. In truth, it’s no hardship to find an excuse to visit. We can lose hours wandering around the grounds… and working our way through the breakfast. Entertainment was provided by a dog that slipped its leash and chased the resident hens through the restaurant causing absolute havoc.
El Monasterio’s generous breakfast meant we weren’t ready to eat again till evening. We popped into Da Arianna’s in La Paz a few minutes drive away. The pizzas there are a silly size (huge) but I find myself drawn to them every time.
And that was it. My mum’s flight was mid morning the following day, so it was straight to the airport after breakfast.
We did nothing particularly special, didn’t travel far or visit any of Tenerife’s highlights. But we all had a great time and felt we’d managed to pack in quite a bit without too much effort at all.
It’s one of the other things we learned years ago. When the sun is shining and the world around you is different from the one you’re used to, everything is interesting.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+