MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I’m not doing a round robin letter in my Christmas cards this year, I’m pointing everyone to my blog! LOL! Hopefully everyone will find it interesting.

So, things since our holiday in September have moved on a pace! New adventures, grandkids growing so fast and apart from a couple of health scares we have had a great time getting back into the swing of things after such a great holiday!

First of all our middle grandson started school, our oldest grandaughter went into year 1 and our youngest is becoming a completely amazing little character. Both Charlie and Katie are doing so well at school and she is showing her little brother Joshua how to read and do the things she learns at school.  Everyone says that being a parent is the best thing in life that you can do, and that’s true up to a point. When you become a grandparent, everything else changes, your love expands to grab hold of these tiny human beings who are part of you and your life history. I just love my three to the moon and back and can’t imagine my life without them, they are just so precious.

Rob, our son had a health scare but all was well in the end and I’m grateful that he wasn’t scared of going to the doctors to get it checked out. Our daughter has been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and is now on meds but it explains a lot of things that have happened to her over the last few months so its good we’re not looking at something far worse. John’s Prostate Cancer is still under active surveillance and Guy’s hospital are happy with him.

My own health is ok, diabetes is well under control although I’ve had a lot of trapped nerves in my wrists and it seems like each bit of me aches in turn each week! Still I’m standing up and breathing and that’s a bonus in a world full of so many poorly people who will never get better, so I count my blessings every day.

I exercise with my Body Blade and walk every day (apart from the last month when I had a virus that hung on for 4 weeks!). I am trying to stick to Freedom Eating principles and re-reading Debbie Flint’s book Till The Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – The When Diet. (available on Amazon) and I belong to several supportive groups on Facebook to do with keeping healthy using the Body Blade (by Bruce Hyamanson) and Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVDs. Hopefully I will be doing a blog on them in the new year.

Life is moving on a pace, we’ve got plans for redecorating the downstairs of our house (kept putting it off but now it must be done!).  I’m getting back into crafting and trying to get my craft room straight (although at the moment its full of Christmas presents and craft stuff I want to get rid of.

CHRIS & ANNIE DO TENERIFE – PART 4

PART 4

Before I start, nobody noticed my deliberate mistake in Part 3! I got the days and the dates wrong! No idea how or why I managed to do it so just to get things back on course, here’s a list of the right days:

Part 1:
Monday 24 – Travel to Tenerife
Tuesday 25 – walking round Los Cristianos
Part 2:
Wednesday 26 – Meet up with Meryl
Thursday 27 – Trip to Santa Cruz
Part 3:
Friday 28 – Walk along to Playa La Vista
Saturday 29 – Monkey Park and Carnival in evening

and now our last two days begin:

Sunday 30 March

Didn’t put the clocks forward last night! Big confusion this morning, the clock in the apartment was saying 7.30am when phones and tablet were saying 8.30am and the TV stations were all saying the time in mainland Spain, which is another hour ahead so we were two very confused.com ladies!

I woke up with a very sore leg, it was so painful that I thought it wasn’t a good idea to do a lot of walking. So, we decided to stay in the apartment in the morning and take things easy and wait and see what happened.

Sitting on the balcony chilling and keeping my leg raised I suddenly realised that something was going on in the car park in front! Looking across I could see two large floats – one was in the shape of a galleon (although the front and the back were separate at the time!) and the other looked like it was a sea scene with floaty green seaweed and orange fish. Both were competing to see who could play the loudest and most danceable music – the sea scene was winning on that score! Wonderful latino beats made me want to dance about on the balcony! This was at around noon and the carnival wasn’t starting till at least 4pm so it was fascinating to watch all the participants getting together and into their costumes only about 50m away from where I was standing. Meanwhile, Annie was trying to finish her 2nd book of the week!

Our last sunrise!
Our last sunrise!
Carnival preparations
Carnival preparations

By 2pm my leg was feeling better so I wandered down to reception to see if Marco could do something with my suitcase handle, which despite all mine and Annie’s efforts stubbornly remained in the upright position. Unfortunately, after trying screw drivers, WD40 and pushing and shaking, the handle refused to be budged! So up it would have to stay and suffer the consequences of the baggage carousel.

We haven’t swum at all this week, which is unlike us! On our last holiday we swam for at least an hour every day but this time, the pool, although very nice, was surrounded by people who just sort of stared at you as you walked by so we never bothered but we more than made up for it with the walking we’d done over the course of the week.

At 3.45pm we made our way downstairs and found a spot to watch the carnival. It was hot and sunny and if we’d know it was going to be a long wait and a long parade, we would’ve taken our chairs down with us! The parade, as expected began late but this is Spain and so we didn’t mind so much. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere, there were holiday makers, ex pat locals and Spanish locals too. The parade was loud in colour and sounds and it was amazing to see the little ones who were taking part as well, and wondered how they would stand up to the long walk ahead!

Some of the outfits were made of foam and seemed really difficult for everyone to walk in and some of the children did end up taking some of it off and parents were rushing around with bottles of water to top them all up. The whole parade was wonderful and so glad it started so close to where we were staying so that we had such a marvellous view. Here are some photos from that day.

 

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CHRIS & ANNIE DO TENERIFE 2014 – PART 3

PART 3

Friday 28 March

Woke up to another beautiful sunny, if blowy day. After another relaxing breakfast on the balcony watching the early risers walking up the mountain , we decided to have another walk along the paseo and just see where we get to! My knees and ankles aren’t very good at the moment and the tennis elbow in my right arm has been problematic because of having pulled the cases up the slope but I’m determined not to let it get the better of me. Did notice what looked like a bit on my left foot but it didn’t itch, surrounded by little red marks (I take antihistamines every day I’m away) and my prickly heat seemed to be starting on my hands!

Its funny, walking along the same bit of paseo every day and seeing something different every time! Annie is looking for a particular top that we saw in a shop the other day and didn’t buy at the time. When we went back it had gone! So we went into every shop along the paseo and then on into Playa Vista trying to find another one. Lots of similar tops but not the one she wanted LOL! Annie loves to shop and was also on a mission to buy a new bag and saw so many she liked it was impossible to make a choice.

Although it was a beautiful day, the seas were very rough with high winds stirring up the waves so they were crashing onto the beach and the sand at Los Cristianos harbour beach was whipped up into dust clouds making people come off the beach (although there were some mad people who stayed on it!). The sand sculptors were constantly damping down their wonderful works of art as the wind dried them out. I’d love to see one of them starting from scratch one day.

We had walked up to the shops almost as far as Playa de las Americas and stopped off on the way at a couple of places for coffee and I had a lovely ice cream in the shopping centre it was banana and Malaga ice cream. The banana tasted like the old-fashioned banana lollies I had as a child and the Malaga one had raisins in it and I’m assuming some Malaga wine.

Walking is supposed to be good for you and I can’t even estimate how far we walked most days but my knees held out, even though my ankles disappeared into cankles LOL! Not very attractive!

We slowly walked back towards the apartment after about 5 hours of walking (not including stops!) and decided to eat at Crestella again. Annie had exactly the same as she had the first night we ate there – avocado and prawn starter, steak Diane and Canarian potatoes so I decided to have the same but with plain grilled steak instead, followed by the cheesecake again. Once again, the food was amazing, service brilliant and the after dinner shot from the management delicious, some kind of honey liqueur. Good job I’m doing a lot of walking as if I keep eating like this I will end up putting on lots of weight, in addition to all the fluid my legs and ankles are accumulating.

Didn’t take many pictures today but hopefully will have some from Annie that I can include in a separate update at some point.

Saturday 29 March

Today we were up early to an overcast sky but the temperature was still warm, so we decided to book a cab to visit the Monkey Park. It’s a bit out-of-the-way but it is worth the trip and there are cabs outside when you’ve finished your visit.

When we arrived we had our photo taken with a couple of parrots. At €8 its not as cheap as some we’ve bought in the past, but it was actually quite a nice photo. We noticed that the animals seemed to be a little sleepy and perhaps it was a bit too early for them and they hadn’t warmed up yet. We walked into the main part of the park and there were a couple of crocodiles lying in a pool and ignoring the people walking past. Next we went into the Lemur area, there were several of them all a bit sleepy too and a group of large iguanas, who were sun bathing and trying to raise their body temperatures. There was one rather large one who looked like his tail had been broken at some point and had started to grow again, isn’t nature wonderful. Pity we can’t do the same and grow another body part.

 

I'm just one handsome iguana!
I’m just one handsome iguana!
Cute marmoset
Cute marmoset

 

Do you think if we ignore the humans they'll go away?
Do you think if we ignore the humans they’ll go away?
Sleeping guinea pig
Sleeping guinea pig
Lemur surveying the scene
Lemur surveying the scene
Who knew they could climb trees?
Who knew they could climb trees?

In with the lemurs were some guinea pigs and their babies, they were so cute and it was funny to see them chasing around. Meanwhile, sitting in a corner was a giant tortoise, not the biggest one I’ve ever seen but it was quietly munching on a bit of lettuce and not taking any notice of anyone. We decided that we would try and get some pictures with the lemurs as we walked back through after a look round the rest of the place.

 

Giant tortoise
Giant tortoise

Through into the main part of the park and there were several cages, good sized ones with various types of monkeys and chimpanzees. The gibbons were the noisiest and you could hear them all over the park, one especially hanging from the roof and whooping to gain attention.

As we were looking at the different monkeys we saw one with only one arm! It was doing really well and was picking up food and tucking it away under its armpit and walking around the cage as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Next along were another species of ape where some young girls were reaching over the barrier and feeding them through the fencing. We thought they were really silly to be doing it but at least they were the right side of the barrier, not so the father at the next enclosure with 2 large chimpanzees! He had lifted his small daughter over the barrier and she was feeding the chimp through the wire! It was quite scary and we were quite worried about the child. The child was using food bought at the entrance and the chimp was reaching through the bars to get to it. It would’ve only taken the chimp deciding he wanted to pull the child closer for there to have been a dreadful incident. What would the father think then?

 

Stupid parent!
Reckless and stupid parent!

 

One armed monkey
One armed monkey

As we walked around the enclosures, birds, gibbons all seemed to be in good condition and it seemed like they were well looked after. Next we moved back into the lemur enclosure and the lemurs were being a bit more co-operative and seemed to be especially drawn to the children and a young lad who they really interacted with. Next there was a smaller walk through enclosures with little marmosets and there was one with no tail! Seems to be a pattern forming LOL! Iguana, growing a new tail, a one-armed monkey and a marmoset with no tail! It does make you wonder what happened to them all. One little green monkey decided that he would sit on my chest, luckily Annie had her camera out, unfortunately I’ve not got a copy of the picture yet but I will post it when I get it LOL!

As we walked out we asked the girl on the desk if she could get us a taxi, but there outside was one already waiting. Taxi cost €5.70 up there and only €4.60 back but would tell everyone the average price is €5 each way.

So back to the apartment for lunch and then back into Los Cristianos to look for somewhere to eat. As we were walking along we could hear the sound of latin music and drums and tried to find where they were coming from but got a bit lost in a back street so made our way back to the paseo. Then we were suddenly among a crowd of people in fancy dress and people on a stage entertaining the crowds. It turned out to be the judging of the fancy dress entries ready for the final parade on Sunday afternoon. There were so many amazing entries, some silly ones but the best were the children who were in recycled outfits made of bottles and cups and all sorts of bottle caps and streamers and they looked stunning. The whole thing was a lot of amazing music and fun. We took loads of photos and videos and then walked back along the paseo to find somewhere to eat.

 

Recycled kids!
Recycled kids!
The Simpsons
The Simpsons
Cannibals!
Cannibals!
Egyptian family
Egyptian family
Minecraft
Minecraft
Lion King?
Lion King?
More recycling
More recycling
Recycling at its best
Recycling at its best

OK, so we ordered our meal, we only had basic chicken and chips as a change from the rich food we’d had on previous nights and as we waited for our order I heard lots of drums and whistles. Then down the road came a procession of dancers and drummers and right past our table! Annie carried on eating and kindly cut my food up so that I could just grab a bit when there was a lull in the proceedings. It was such fun and when they’d all past, it all seemed a bit quiet.

 

Start of the procession!
Start of the procession!
The Simpsons posing on the Whale sculpture near where we were eating!
The Simpsons posing on the Whale sculpture near where we were eating!

Walking back along the paseo in the evening was a different experience to during the day, lots more PR people trying to get you into eat in their restaurants. The lights were so pretty and the place was coming alive again with a totally different atmosphere. Next time I think we might make more of an effort to spend an evening or two in town.

 

Harbour at Sunset
Harbour at Sunset
Paseo at sunset
Paseo at sunset
Sand sculpture at night LOL!
Sand sculpture at night LOL!

Part 4 to follow …………………

CHRIS AND ANNIE DO TENERIFE 24-31/3/2014 PART 1

Annie, one of my two best friends, and I have had a holiday together every couple of years for about 12 years now on and off.  My John hasn’t been well of late and so I was feeling a bit worried leaving him for a week, but he was feeling better and I left him with lots of food in the fridge and freezer and a shopping list for the following week. He will be fine, I’m sure as there is family and friends around and anyway, its one week where he has control of the TV remote LOL! This year Annie and I returned to Tenerife, we had been there before and stayed at Golf Del Sur, but this year we wanted to be nearer the coast so chose Los Cristianos.

To avoid boring everyone, I’m going to blog a couple of days at a time and hopefully once my photos are downloaded I will be able to add in some of the highlights of our trip.

PART 1 – WE’RE ALL GOING ON A SUMMER HOLIDAY!

Monday 24 March – 2.30am

So here we are, John and I, up and ready to go and pick up Annie and for John to drive us to Gatwick for an Easyjet flight to Tenerife South airport at 7.00am. Reached the airport in plenty of time and had a good breakfast at the Wetherspoon Red Lion pub. It wasn’t cheap and the coffee wasn’t the best but it filled a hole and we felt set up for the journey ahead. As usual, Easyjet were very efficient and we had a very good flight apart from their dreadful “Coffee in a bag” and Kenco Capochino coffees! Oh they were dreadful and should be removed from sale immediately. Still one good thing, there was 20% off some things in the Boutique brochure including YSL Touche éclat! Result, might get another one on the way back! LOL!

Arrived in Tenerife at around 11.15am expecting to be picked up by the apartment owners. Nobody was there! Rang the resort and was told to go to the El Mar desk and wait there but it was closed so rang again and were told to wait! Finally a man arrived with a placard with no names on but just El Mar. Turns out it’s the company who will be taking us to the apartments, along with another couple for another resort. Finally, we arrive at Paloma Beach Apartments. Its right at the end of Los Cristianos and near the Arona Gran Hotel (which is beautiful by the way!). There were a couple of long ramps up to the pool area and across to the reception and it aggravated my tennis elbow (OUCH!) pulling the cases up the ramp!

We were taken to our apartment on the first floor No. T1-166 by Marco. It was very clean and tidy but we were disappointed that it was a bit dark and very tired looking but it would do us nicely for a base and the view wasn’t bad. It overlooked a car park, but also a mountain and the sea! It was just so nice to sit on the balcony and watch the sea sparkle in the distance. The apartment was privately owned and had lots of touches like books and games and the wardrobe was full of their cases and golf clubs under the bed! Sort of felt like we were intruding but it was homely.

 

View from our balcony
View from our balcony
View on internal walkway
View on internal walkway

Popped out to the local supermarket for provisions and ended up buying a hat and we each bought a dress! As you do ! LOL! Had lunch in The Surrey Arms restaurant/bar, we both had the steak and chips and it was quite good for the price, but basic. Back at the apartment we decided to stay in and relax on the balcony and enjoy the view and in the evening watch TV as shattered from the early start. TV was Freeview with UK programmes and some were a bit pixelly, but we had free WiFi which we put to good use with emailing family to let them know we were OK. Got a call from Meryl (Redqueenmusings) who we have come to know through her brilliant blogs and we arranged to meet up with her on Wednesday to be Tenerife Ladies Wot Lunch!

Tuesday 25 March

Oh what a beautiful morning! Up at 9.30am after a good night’s sleep and breakfast on the balcony was absolutely wonderful. I could get used to this! Popped down to reception and got a safe deposit box organised. Set the new code and then tried to open the box. oops! Hadn’t done it quite right and had to get the guy from reception to reset it! We felt so daft!

Decided to book a trip to Santa Cruz on Thursday through reception – €56 for the two of us seemed like a good deal for a day out. The off we went to walk to Los Cristianos and see if we could find any sign of the Carnival. Los Cristianos is a lovely place and despite looking up the side streets, sadly, we couldn’t find any sign of Carnival at all but still enjoyed walking along the paseo, looking in all the shops, stopping for refreshments and watching the world go by and admiring the amazing sand sculptures. It’s amazing how they don’t seem to be vandalised – they would be in the UK! Life is wonderfully slow-paced and means that we find ourselves relaxing into the Tenerife way of life just enjoying the sights and sounds of this great place.

 

The Ultimate Sand Castle!
The Ultimate Sand Castle!
This depicts the Last Supper.
This depicts the Last Supper.

In the evening we took a walk along the road by Paloma Beach and had a look at all the bars and restaurants to find somewhere to eat. A couple of the bars were closed but then again we do eat earlier than most locals so we thought they may open later! We settled on Crestella Creperia, which was a funny little place but very smart inside and got to say, has the best loo we visited all week! Its owned by a Chinese family, the chef and assistant chef are Chinese but the maitre de/waiter was from Tenerife (we think). He was very charming and persuasive and so we went in as our tummies were rumbling and with both of us being diabetic we need to eat as soon as possible! The menu was a strange mix of Chinese, Spanish, Italian, British – you name it and it was on the menu!  However, after a short deliberation we ordered avocado with prawns to start, then Annie had the fillet steak Diane and I had the Seabass libaina (spicy) and Canarian potatoes to go with it. I’ve tried to do them at home but don’t seem to be able to get it right!

Got to say that the food was a revelation! Unfortunately I’d not got my camera with me and the battery was low on my phone so didn’t get any photos of the food! The starter was wonderful, Annie’s steak was amazing and my fish was delicious. I decided I would have a dessert and plumped for the cheesecake and OMG! It was absolutely gorgeous, creamy, with a wonderful almondy biscuity base, I don’t think I’ve ever had better! So we decided there and then we would be back another night and we would try to find out the recipe for the cheesecake! This is a place I would certainly recommend you try if you are down that way.

Part 2 to follow……