Rediscovering Real Life in the Real Tenerife

It’s 4.30pm on a Saturday. I’ve just finished creating a graph chart for one of the projects we have on the go. There’s an A4 piece of paper beside me with five columns filled with things to do and articles/blogs to write. I wonder which task to start next when Andy’s voice interrupts my pondering.

“I’ve had enough of staring at a screen. That’s it I’m going for a walk.”

I look at the list, then out of the window. The sky is moody and cloudy. Ironic that Andy decides she wants to go for a walk on the first day for weeks when the sky isn’t an endless blue; it’s a wash out as far as photos are concerned.

I look at the list again and then at the sky. There isn’t a shred of creativity in my head.

“Okay, I’ll come with you,” I mutter grudgingly, tearing myself away from the laptop. “But it looks like it might rain.”

Old House in the Bananas, Tenerife

Ten minutes later we’re walking up through the banana plantations with swallows using us to re-enact the Death Star bombing scene from Star Wars whilst an auburn kestrel remains aloof on the telephone wires. It’s a decent incline and enough to remind that even though the thick walls make it feel cool in our house at this time of year, exertion out of doors brings perspiration to the forehead.

We pass the old traditional gateway to an abandoned finca, now the domain of a family of cats, and nod a hello to a grimy plantation worker hacking at a hand of green bananas with a machete.

Traditional Finca Gateway, North Tenerife

The track heads towards the grey Atlantic down an anonymous dirt road which acts as access to a couple of grand houses obscured by lush foliage. As we draw level with one the wall of bushes shakes violently, warning of the ‘regular as clockwork’ verbal attack by a bored German shepherd and a chunky Presa Canario.

Shortly afterwards we join the path from Puerto de la Cruz to Playa Bollullo and for the first time pass a handful of other people, all German. None say hello: unlike the Spanish and British they rarely do. We used to think of this as incredibly rude, but now we just view it as one of those cultural differences… even if it does still feel rude to our overly polite British sensibilities.

Walking at El Rincon, Tenerife

Instead of heading towards the beach, we turn inland along the single lane access road and rest awhile on a flat bollard overlooking a green sea of banana palms broken by the occasional darker hues of an avocado orchard. We can see all the along the dramatic coastline to Puntillo del Sol which is, as is so often the case, in sunshine.

Break over, we take to the palm-lined tarmac road that rises provocatively up the hill. On a summer day this climb can bring on torrents of sweat, on a January afternoon it can still create a trickle. Palm trees backed by the velvety La Orotava slopes create an inspiring frame that draws us upwards and onwards passing weeds with delicate blooms; floral outcasts because of their invasive nature but no less pretty because of their status.

We pause outside an out-of-the-way church; the harmonic melodies emanating from the shady interior sound like hymns, but hymns that are laced with a traditional Canarian folk song flavour.

Cat and Bananas, Tenerife

Just opposite the church, a gang of cats scavenge lazily at the pickings from the barbecues in the zona recreativa. Way up on the hillside behind them, Anoniman’s latest cryptic message baffles drivers on the TF5.

It suddenly registers that the sky is no longer grey, it’s blue, the dull sea of cloud has completely dissipated revealing the cumbre spreading all the way to El Teide which, by this time, is a dark silhouette whose bulk casts a shadow on the western side of the valley.

I’ve no idea where the cloud went, it seemed to disappear almost magically in the blink of an eye.

Tenerife’s weather still amazes, It’s no surprise that so many people struggle to grasp the weather patterns of this island.

La Orotava Valley, Tenerife

Our route takes us close to the motorway where modern crass – a ‘too big’ billboard advertising Loro Parque – is balanced by historic class in the form of an immaculately maintained and intriguing hacienda dating from 1851.

Immediately we turn away from our brief dalliance with the fast-paced motorway and into the slow-paced life of a single street lined by old cottages. Traffic moves through here slowly, slow enough for fathers to feel it’s safe enough to race their children on toy scooters whilst smiling abuelas laugh and cheer them on, pausing only to bid us ‘adios’ as we walk on by.

At the end of the road we stop at a bar that is a favourite with locals on their way to and from work in El Puerto. We drop into chairs on a covered terrace and the waiter brings us cervezas in glasses so chilled that mini icebergs form in the beer. I feel completely refreshed and wonderfully relaxed amongst the families of Canarios around me whose endless chatter is somehow comforting.

This simple walk has been a tonic for the soul and a reminder that real life doesn’t lie in the virtual word in the machine lying on my table.

Sometimes it can be easy to forget this.

 

Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites plus lots of other things. Follow Jack on Google+

6 Comments

  1. Stumbled across your blog by accident looking for a book with instructions on how to facilitate a move to Tenerife..trying to work out if it’s possible. But reading your blog has reminded me that I just need to get on with it! Unless I want to continue sitting in Edinburgh freezing to death for the foreseeabe future!

    • LOL- I got lucky last time I was in Scotland last year. I got the only sunny week of summer according to my sister 🙂

      I’m not sure I could handle a January there these days – I can still remember the chill feeling like daggers being thrust into my lungs (I grew up on the other coast).

  2. Know exactly what you mean about the weather! My only grouse is that it makes my pack heavier! A friend laughed at my umbrella not so long ago…..until it rained – yes, here in the south! You just never know.

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