Tenerife 22-29 June 2012

Well, here goes my first proper blog!

TENERIFE 22-29 JUNE 2012

FRIDAY

Set off on the 7.40am flight from Gatwick to Tenerife with my friend Annie. Having got up at 2.30am to wash my hair and to get to the airport for 5.30am we were both extremely tired but very excited. The flight was uneventful except for a group of very loud middle aged men who had already been drinking before getting on the plane! They were loud but didn’t cause any trouble except keep the rest of the passengers from catching up on some sleep!

On landing we found our way to the taxi rank and got a taxi to our resort – Club La Costa, Sunningdale Village at Golf del Sur. We checked into our apartment and were so pleased to see that it was beautiful and although it didn’t have a good view it was immaculate. The bedroom had a king sized bed and a TV in it and good cupboard space.

The kitchen was small but well equipped with a washing machine (including some washing tablets!) and we found a great welcome pack in the fridge. The view from the kitchen and bedroom was onto the rear of the bar and so wasn’t great but to look up slightly, above the safety fence and you could see Mount Teide in the distance. The living room had a great TV and a DVD player and a pull out bed and opened onto the patio area which had some beautiful garden furniture on it, which we put to good use.

Somewhere to relax

The gardens around the apartment were beautiful and there was a gorgeous tree with red and orange flowers on it which lit up the view. We were on the flight path to the airport but it didn’t bother us, in fact we did a spot of plane watching!

The tree that made me smile everytime I saw it.

The restaurant, Zacary’s, on the resort was excellent. The food wasn’t the cheapest but it was some of the best food we had on the island and well worth it.

Zacary’s bar and restaurant – good place to chill

The entertainment was basic pub type singers and a Bollywood night (not very authentic) and a Flamenco night which was better but I think that the true Spanish Flamenco wouldn’t have appealed to most people there.

At the resort was a small shop (Sam’s Pantry) which sold all the essentials at good prices, a crazy golf course, table tennis, foosball table and an air hockey table for the kids. The swimming pool was great with good areas for children and adults and it was a constant 28°C so really good to swim in. The whole resort was beautifully maintained with great staff.

Lovely pool area

The weather when we arrived was clear blue sky but very windy, although it was a warm wind and we decided to make the most of it and spent Friday afternoon getting our bearings and finding bus stops etc. We ate at Zacary’s on Friday night and had their version of Chicken Cordon Bleu with Canarian potatoes – so yummy! We had the soup of the day which was a vegetable one and delicious, dessert was an almond tart for Annie and a Chocolate fondant for me – again so yummy.

SATURDAY

Today we went for another walk near the Marina (more of that later!) and found some shops and a supermarket where we bought some fruit and supplies to keep us going after the welcome pack ran out. We started to walk back to the apartment a different way to the way we’d got to the shops and realised we’d walked a long way out of our way, in fact my toe post Birkenstock sandals ended up rubbing a blister between my toes! Ouch! Didn’t mind though, we saw more of the area and got very, very hot! We also attended the Welcome Meeting and had our free Sangria and found out about excursions and entertainment etc.  Luckily there was no hard sell and they didn’t send the resort salesman round to get us to try and buy a week.

We ate at Zacary’s on Saturday night again, more Canarian potatoes and I had seabass but can’t remember what Annie had! I do remember we had strawberry cheesecake and another chocolate dessert!  The entertainment was laid back and Rat Pack style but the guy had a good voice and so it was a pleasant way to spend an evening and drinking sangria.

Golf Del Sur itself is a bit out of the way and although there were bars and restaurants nearby there didn’t appear to be any atmosphere to the area. The sea front was pure volcanic sand and rocks and the restaurants and bars along the paseo looked tired and in need of some customers but unless you were in an apartment overlooking the sea there was no real signage to show how to get it so it’s easy to miss.

Beach and Marina area at Golf Del Sur

The buses were only 5 mins from the apartment and we could get the fast 483 for €1.50 each to Los Cristianos or the slow and longer 470 which went around the La Gallettas area so we got to see more of the island and cost €2.45 each. We could’ve got a Bono ticket but couldn’t find anywhere to buy one near the resort and even in Los Cristianos we didn’t see any signs where to buy them and when we were at the bus terminus the info desk was closed when we were there!

SUNDAY

We went to Los Cristianos market this morning, getting up early to make the most of the day and got the 483 bus. The market was good fun with lots of things to buy; we both bought handbags, mine white and Annie’s turquoise in the same style. Annie and I both love to shop but were careful not to get too carried away, especially as there were a lot of things that we could also get in the UK . However, we did get some pretty glass necklaces and earrings too! I’m just a magpie and love shiny, sparkly things!

Paseo at Los Cristianos – near the market

We then went on a walk around Los Cristianos, we stopped for coffee at a small bar and enjoyed a bit of people watching before going along the paseo. I have to say it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and initially I was a bit disappointed but it did grow on me and when we went back 2 more times I did come to like it.

We had lunch at a restaurant called Fados, only omelette and chips but the service and the flavour was exceptional. So much so we decided to go there again another day.

So good we went back twice!

We continued to walk along the paseo to the end and saw some amazing sand sculptures and then walked back to the bus station through the town and past the church.

Now that’s what I call a sand castle!

Looked in a small shop and ended up buying 2 cheesecloth dresses in red and black, managed to knock the guy down from €40 to €36 for the two, not sure I did get a bargain but they are lovely dresses. He tried to sell me an HD card for my camera but I refused, tried to tell me my £250 camera needed another card!

The weather was extremely hot and the sun was shining all day so when we got back to our apartment we went for a swim to cool off before getting ready for a relaxing evening watching the entertainment. As we’d eaten earlier in the day we just had a snack in the apartment before going to the bar and listening to another male singer, again laid back style and basically almost the same set as the guy the night before!

MONDAY

We decided to stay close to home and have a swim in the pool, it was so good, we then relaxed and another walk around the area and decided that we would book a tour to Mount Teide on the Wednesday and go on a whale watching trip on Thursday, before we went home. We ended up finding our way down to the Marina at Golf del Sur and as I said before it was a bit disappointing. The volcanic rock was so black it looked like the beaches of Northumberland where the coal mines dumped their slag into heaps. There were some people sun bathing but by this time the Kalima had arrived and the sky was very grey all day and it was impossible to see the horizon!

Kalima haze spoils the view out to sea

However, it was still very, very hot. Didn’t stop us having a walk around though, the bars weren’t busy at all and it was quite depressing to see. We stopped for a drink in a bar and had Sangria and a coffee just to give them something to do!! Then we had a look in some of the shops and Annie bought another bag!! She’s such a shopaholic! LOL! There were a couple of other shops with lots of goodies in but some of the owners were a bit pushy and I can’t stand that, mind you the stuff was nice!

Camel display outside restaurant

As we walked back to the apartment we saw a pub called the Old Mill up a side road. There were no signs to it and it was quite new. We went in and had fish and chips – they did 3 sizes and we went for the small which was enough for us as we both had dessert – me sticky toffee pudding and custard and Annie had bread and butter pudding and cream. As we were having trouble at the resort with Wi-Fi I logged on to their and managed to get hold of John on Skype! It was so clear and although I couldn’t see him, he could see from the camera on my phone where we were eating and we were able to have a good conversation with him. The owner of the bar has been in Tenerife for 14 years and owned the bar for 2 years. I’m amazed he gets any trade as its not signposted or advertised at all but he is really a good host and the food was great.

We then went back to Zacary’s to see the Bollywood show. We were a bit disappointed as it wasn’t very authentic – one of the other diners was Asian and she said it wasn’t authentic at all! After the dancing there was a guy singing who fancied himself as Neil Diamond but he did include the audience and one of the holidaymakers got up on the stage and do a sad dad dance!

TUESDAY

Got up and had breakfast and decided to go for another swim, could get used to this! The pool is just the right temperature and we swam and did water aerobic (well our version) until we’d had enough and went back to get dressed and go off to Playa de Las Americas on the bus. Well that’s what we thought we were doing! We ended up at the bus station which is a long way from the beach! We asked a couple of English people and they said we should’ve got off at least 3 stops back! So back on the same bus and the driver told us where to get off!

Playa de Las Americas – Part of a resort with a music venue

We were going to look for the Safari Centre which we’d been recommended to see as in the evenings there are dancing fountains and lots of shops. We found the area and had a quick drink in a bar called Harry’s which was undergoing  renovations  but we were desperate for the loo so it was worth putting up with the noise and the dust! Then we had a great walk around the shopping area and decided that we wouldn’t stay for the evening as we weren’t sure about the last buses back to Golf del Sur so we walked down to Playa La Vistas and walked along the paseo and into Los Cristianos for another walk along the paseo. The beach along this stretch is imported sand and a lot more like what we’re used to and we saw some more sand sculpture along the way.

When we got into Los Cristianos we had another great meal at Fados. We had the Menu del Dia for €8.25. We started with Salad and Annie had the tuna and I had the calamari followed by fruit salad for Annie and Crema Caramel for me. It was a really lovely meal and I’ve recommended it on Trip Advisor. Back at the resort we decided to stay in for the night as we were exhausted from all our walking!

WEDNESDAY

Off to see Mount Teide on an excursion which took us around the Island looking at some amazing sights. It certainly made me think more about coming back to Tenerife to see what more it can offer. We started off being picked up at Golf Del Sur and going off to Los Cristianos and La Americas to pick up our fellow travellers. We had a mix of English speakers and Russian so our guide Artis had to do his talks in both languages.

Our first stop was a small bar in Guia de Isora, which sold Canarian coffee made with an espresso with milk and condensed milk. We didn’t try it and stuck to water! There was a Russian girl who decided she wanted to have her picture taken sitting in the middle of the road on a blind bend! She and her friend seemed to like to take odd shots of each other!

First stop – Guia de Isora

There was also another tour bus following us with a girl who was dressed in high heels, pretty summer frock and carrying a big camera and tripod and it seems she was taking photos of herself in various poses – assume for her portfolio, although she wasn’t beautiful I suppose she had a good figure but it did look odd the way she preened herself and then posed for the photo!

We then went onward to the pine forest and on to the Mount Teide plateau – it was amazing and awe inspiring! Unfortunately the pictures show the sky as grey as the Kalima was still hanging around and again it was hot, hot, hot! Apparently it was hitting 38°C at least!

Annie and Chris conquer Mount Teide!

Must go back just to go up the Volcano and see the views on a clear day. Artis was very good at telling us all about the area.

We went onto see the Oratava Valley, Icod Los Vinos where we saw the biggest Drago tree in Europe and had a wine tasting.

Largest Drago tree

Then on for lunch at the Oasis de Valle restaurant. It was a little gem of a place with a funny little garden area, and a small zoo which we didn’t have time to look round because we were too busy enjoying the amazing food. For  €13 each we got unlimited wine and soft drinks, a fantastic thick vegetable and meaty soup, followed by the best chicken in a sort of BBQ sauce with Canarian potatoes, followed by fruit and a gorgeous coconut ice-cream!

Stopped here for a great lunch.
Annie & Chris in national dress!

Back on the bus Annie couldn’t find her purse so she and the guide went back to the restaurant and the staff were mortified but there was no sign of the purse. Then Annie realised she’d only taken her money and card out and left the purse at the apartment! She felt really silly but didn’t say anything!

Next stop was Masca, a small village on a very windy road that was only built 50 years ago. The little bar there charged 50c to use the loo if you didn’t buy a drink but it was a nice little place with lovely views and we saw buzzards flying high above us.

I can see you! Lizard at Masca

We also saw a lizard hiding in the wall and managed to get a good photo. Then off we go up and down the windy roads and the bus driver was fantastic, a car nearly went into us as we were going along but again the bus driver coped brilliantly. I know he does the trip regularly but it’s still a very difficult road.

View down to the bar at Masca

Next stop was a place call Garruchio where the last eruption in 1706 had caused rock pools to form and now the residents use them to swim in, although as there’s no beach at all there they’ve also built a swimming pool for those who don’t what to dive in off the side of the lava flow.

More lava at Garruchio
Lava Swimming pools – really weird

Finally we made our way back via Los Gigantes, which again because of the Kalima wasn’t very clear to see.  All in all we had an amazing day and feel the €30 was well worth it and would recommend it.

Back to the apartment to freshen up and get ready to go to the Flamenco show which was better than the Bollywood one. Discovered Brandy Alexanders! Oooh so yummy. After the flamenco show there was a good Spanish guitarist and it was a great way to end the day.

THURSDAY

Well, our last day has arrived and we’re off to Los Cristianos to go on a Whale watching trip. We got up early and had a wander around Los Cristianos again and then at 11am onto the boat The Travelling Lady. It was a motor boat and the crew were excellent and took us off out to sea to find whales. The swell was a bit higher than I would’ve liked but I didn’t get sea sick unlike Annie who felt unwell but stayed staring at the horizon. However a lot of the people on the boat were ill and the crew were busy handing out and retrieving blue sick bags to dispose of them.

The crew of the Travelling Lady

We saw a pod of pilot whales including a baby, having a wonderful time in the water, although we didn’t get really close we did get a good view (despite what my pictures show!) On the way back to the harbour we detoured to the cliffs and the water was so blue and turquoise it was beautiful. We passed a fish farm where they breed sea bass (I think) and there was a dolphin in the area but we only caught a glimpse.

One of the pod of pilot whales off Los Cristianos

Back to Los Cristianos for lunch at a restaurant on the front and a nice walk back to the bus to go to home.  Stopped off in the shop at the resort to get some cake and went back to the apartment to get ready for a nice swim to cool off.

Back to Zacary’s for our last meal, We both had the carrot and potato soup which was delicious and Annie had the Chicken again and I had the most amazing seafood – prawns, mussels, sea bass, salmon, tuna in a wine sauce with Canarian potatoes and the shredded sautéed veg which they serve with everything. Dessert for me – strawberry cheesecake again.  The entertainment was a Scottish singer/comedian. He was so sexist, racist and just plain rude that we didn’t stay to the end. Still we had a lovely day and had to finish packing for our flight the next day.

FRIDAY

Up early, breakfast, checked packing and off to reception to get the coach to the airport. Arrived at airport and checked in and went off to find shops and duty free. I have to say I don’t like Tenerife airport – its expensive, the duty free prices were more than in the shops in Los Cristianos so all I bought was some rock with Tenerife written through it for my grandson in there but spend a lot on Canarian biscuits and a some wind chimes for my baby grand kids.

Wasn’t impressed with having to queue in a dark, hot corridor with no info on which queue was what. Annie and I got accused of jumping the queue but it was only because we went on the queue that was moving fastest!  Had to walk down a fire escape to get to the tarmac and walk to the plane – not my idea of fun but at least we had a tail wind and we got home early and Easyjet sold a litre of Bells for £10 which is cheaper than in duty free.

Landed early and John met us in arrivals and we got home, tired but happy. I had a wonderful week with my best friend Annie and hopefully next time we can persuade our other best friend Jayne to come with us!

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