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 AND ANNIE DO TENERIFE 24-31/3/2014 PART 2

Wednesday 26 March

Today we meet up with Meryl! Meryl or Redqueenmusings, as she is known on her blog, is someone who has helped get me started blogging and given me lots of hints and tips on Tenerife so its going to be good to meet her. We arranged to meet at Olaf’s Bar, next to the Apartments at 1pm so Annie and I decided to have a walk along the paseo into Los Cristianos again in the morning and also had a quick look in the Arona Gran hotel to see what it was like. It was really beautiful inside and somewhere that we might try one year, lots of things to do and a great pool area.

Reception Area in Arona Gran Hotel
Reception Area in Arona Gran Hotel
Balconies at Arona Gran Hotel
Balconies at Arona Gran Hotel

Annie and I were sat having a bottle of water at Olaf’s when promptly at 1pm Meryl and her husband Jim pulled up outside in a  parking space right opposite where we were sitting, and whisked us off to Locanda Italian restaurant at El Mirador. We sat outside and had a long chat and nearly forgot to order our food. Meryl had a tagliatelle with mushrooms, Annie had tagliatelle with salmon and I had my favourite – spaghetti fruiti de mer! Oh my, the food was beautiful and the portion was so big I couldn’t eat all mine! I rounded it off with a cheesecake, lovely but not as good as at Cresetlla! We were there chatting away, drinking coffee and sharing stories about our lives for around 3 hours and it was as if we were all really old friends and not people who had only just met! I think we would all agree that we have made life long friends and will definitely keep in touch.

 

3 Ladies Wot Lunch - Meryl, Chris & Annie
3 Ladies Wot Lunch – Meryl, Chris & Annie

After lunch, Meryl & Jim dropped us back at our apartment and we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the balcony and had an early night as we were going to be picked up at 8.45am for our trip to Santa Cruz.

Thursday 27 March

Today we are going on an adventure, we’re getting a coach to visit the capital of Tenerife – Santa Cruz and on to Taganana (sounds Japanese LOL!). We were a mixed bunch on the coach, 3 English couples (inc us), some Germans, Italians and Spanish so our guide had to speak in each language. It was a bit difficult to understand even the English sometimes because he spoke to quickly. We saw some of the beautiful coastline of Tenerife and as it was quite windy we saw lots of crashing waves onto the volcanic rocks. Part of the area we went through was quite industrial and had lots of petrol storage tanks – petrol and diesel is even cheaper on Tenerife than mainland Spain! Some garages were selling diesel for 99c a litre!

When we reached Santa Cruz we had 2 hours to have a look round the town and the woman in the information office gave us a map to see the main sights! She told us that Primark had just opened a store in the town but it was already a mess LOL! Guess they aren’t used to the sort of rummage sale effect that Primark has on people who shop there! Got to say that it would take 2 hours if you didn’t stop off anywhere but we did, a couple of times. First stop was the local church, even for a non believer like me I found it very serene and beautiful.

P1010890
The Church
The Altar
The Altar

Then on to find the market! By this time it was getting hot and we wanted a toilet break and a coffee! We finally found the market and stopped in a bar for a coffee (not the best one we’ve had!) and the loo. There is a whole parade of stalls down the middle of the road and a beautiful market called the African market. It’s in a pink building with a couple of lovely statues outside and inside its full of beautiful flowers, butchers, delicatessen and craft stalls. It’s a real pity we didn’t have time to go round it properly as time was running away with us and we had to head back towards where the coach was picking us up. Santa Cruz really needs a whole day to have a good wander around and see more of the architecture and museums and enjoy the culture of this capital city.

The African Market
The African Market
Annie by the market lady sculpture
Annie by the market lady sculpture
War memorial
War memorial

Next stop was Las Teresitas, its a beautiful almost white sand beach (imported of course!) and it was right next to a small cemetery. There were palm trees and blue seas but the public loos left a lot to be desired but we had to use them as we weren’t sure when the next stop would be!

Cemetery next to the beach!
Cemetery next to the beach!
The beach!
The beach!
View of the town above the beach
View of the town above the beach
Local toilet facilities!
Local toilet facilities!

Then it was onward around twisty mountain roads to Taganana, with glimpses of the sea and the mountains towering above us and the valleys below. The bus driver may have been grumpy but he could drive these windy roads with ease!

View from the coach!
View from the coach!

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of Taganana and drove on to the bottom of the mountain where we reached a dead-end and went into the local restaurant for lunch. For €11 we had a salad with goats cheese and mango, I had a deep-fried fish (no idea what it was but it was tasty), together with the obligatory Canarian potatoes (which we love). There was no dessert but wine and water was included, although the wine was very rough and for me not drinkable even diluted with water! After the meal we wandered along the street and watched the sea crashing on the rocks. The next landfall from where we were standing would be the east coast of America – that’s a very sobering thought when you think that if Mount Teide was to erupt and part of Tenerife break away, the resulting tsunami would reach the USA and cause devastation all along the eastern seaboard! Then we began the trip back up the mountain and back along the windy roads to the South but on the way we stopped at a couple of places for some amazing views of Teide and the valleys below us.

Restaurant - almost at the end of the world!
Restaurant – almost at the end of the world!
Beach at Taganana
Beach at Taganana
P1010944
View from restaurant
P1010939
Going for lunch
Mount Teide in the clouds
Mount Teide in the clouds

Back at the apartment, we were shattered and so we got some water from the machine near the pool, at 10c a litre its cheaper than the shops, although we did notice that you actually get around 750ml in the bottle! We then rustled up a salad in the apartment, caught up on our emails and ended up going to bed by 10pm! I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Part 3 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……

 

Weightloss, Crafting and Life as a Senior Citizen

So where do I start this time? Lots of things I want to say and yet I don’t want to ramble on (like I’m prone to!) and I don’t want to bore people (been known to do that too LOL!). Right, I’ll do it in the order of the title of this blog!

WEIGHTLOSS

I’ve been fighting my weight for many years, basically, I’m a piglet – I eat too much and exercise too little. Make no bones about it, I’ve used lots of excuses in my time for not losing weight and none of them are good ones. “Oh, I’m big-boned”, “I’m not meant to be slim”, “I do eat properly” and many more.

Even though my mum was diabetic and my sister is diabetic, I had always been very complacent about the fact that I was glucose intolerant and yo-yo dieted for years, so that I could go to see my GP at various times and be lighter, only to put it all back on again. So when he told me in December 2011 that I was now diabetic, I wasn’t shocked or depressed, just disappointed with myself that I’d not lost the weight and tried to avoid it.

Following my diagnosis I lost nearly 2 stone, my diabetic nurse and my sleep clinic (I have sleep apnoea – that’s another story!) were so pleased with me. I felt amazing and promised myself I would keep it off and would get fit. Apart from being scared of flabby, loose skin (still am!) I was determined to keep on a healthy way of life.

I should never promise to be good! June 2012 went to Tenerife with my friend Annie (also diabetic). We ate healthily and walked and swam a lot and I still came home 7lb heavier! No idea how (well might have been the odd cocktail we had in the evening) but there it was, the scales don’t lie! Instead of knuckling under I became complacent again. My blood glucose, blood pressure and my cholesterol were all under control with my medication and I just let things slip.

So here we are October 2013 and I’m back trying to shift the weight. I now have 4 beautiful grandchildren who I want to be able to see grow up and so I’m trying again. No promises, no deadlines just adjusting what I eat and trying to move about a lot more.

My holiday on the Costa Del Sol was a success as I actually lost 1lb! So now aiming to get fit for mine and Annie’s Tenerife trip in March 2014.

Lots of people are trying the 5:2 diet – starve 2 days eat “normally” 5 days. Not something that I like to do as I need to eat regular meals. Some people are doing the very low carb or low carb diets which people keep saying that this is a diet that diabetics should follow as carbs turn into glucose in the body and that’s what we need to control. I’ve looked at that way of eating and although I can see for some people it will work, for me I know it won’t! How do I know that? Well, diabetics are more likely to suffer from heart conditions and kidney problems and I know that if I eat too much protein I get very bad tummy cramps, if I eat too much fat (another thing low carbers say you should increase) it goes straight through me (sorry TMI!). Also, I worry about kidney function and having had one result that said I had protein in my urine, I really don’t want to increase my intake.

So, what am I doing? Well, I’ve started to log everything I eat on www.weightlossresources.co.uk. It’s a great dieting website and for a lot less than you pay for Weight Watchers and Slimming World, you can have lots of online support and information. Logging what I eat is really helpful for me, as it makes me concentrate on what I’m putting into my body. I also log any exercise, and that can be as little at gardening, walking to the shops or a long walk in the country, swimming or whatever. It also shows me how many calories I’m eating, how many carbs, fat and protein etc.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to lower my carb intake to 160g per day and 1600 cals a day and so since Monday 13 October, this is just what I’ve done and so far so good, weigh in next Monday. Won’t post my weight, just my losses and hopefully it will help me to keep going by blogging about it.

So my first loss (14-21 October) is 4lbs! So pleased, except when I told John this morning he said “Don’t know how, you’ve not done any exercise!” I was very hurt but he later apologised, lucky for him LOL! I’m usually very placid but a tiger when pushed and I certainly bared my teeth today LOL!

CRAFTING

My hobby is cardmaking and papercraft. I’m not the best at it and I’m a very messy crafter but I’ve been doing it for over 10 years and I love it. I’ve got two really good friends (Annie and Jayne) who I craft with and my sister Julie also likes to craft (when she gets the time). It’s so relaxing and although I’m not artistic in any way, I find that I can make some very pretty and interesting cards.

I’m going to start posting some of my pictures of the cards I’ve done so that you can see, I’ll also post some of the wonderful cards that my friends have sent me over the years. It’s not a cheap hobby! There’s always new stuff that you need (not just want). I’m a magpie and love to hoard anything pretty, sparkly and so sometimes I buy things that I end up never using but I just love them and don’t want to get rid of. However, my craft room is now so cluttered that I’m crafting on the dining room table so I know that I have to get down to clearing it soon!

LIFE AS A SENIOR CITIZEN!

Life at the moment is great, I am now a fully-fledged Senior Citizen! Although I retired from work in 2011 (6 months before my 60th and after my mum left me enough money to get by on for a year), I actually only officially retired on 6 September. I had been counting the months down to retiring for years. I was told by the Government that my official retirement date would be when I was 61 years 8 months and 27 days old! It was imprinted on my brain LOL! I was actually on holiday on the day and celebrated with a glass of sangria!

Now I just look forward to getting my pension every 4 weeks (plus my company pension, which is very small, every 3 months) and being able to see a healthier balance in my bank. My savings are now not being raided on a regular basis and luckily I don’t earn enough to pay tax, so all my savings (including ISAs) have tax-free interest! Yay! Have told the kids that they will only have the house when their dad and I are gone as we’re going to live as well as we can (obviously not going mad) on what we’ve got coming in. John can’t retire till he’s 65 so that’s 3 years away and work is very slow at the moment but we economise where we can and we can survive!

We make use of moneysavingexpert.com, WHICH?, and comparison websites and get the best deals we can on everything. We’ve just done our electricity/gas and as luck would have it, our current supplier turned out to be our best bet for a 2 year fix (and they’ve not put up their charges yet so that’s a result). If we buy things on-line we use QUIDCO.com and I’ve got a Nectar card so it all helps.

Our wills have been updated to include our new baby grandson and we are now all set to make sure everyone is included.

The only problems we have though are health ones! We both have mild arthritis in our necks, we both have tinnitus – although John’s is really bad and he has an appointment at the hospital about it, I’m diabetic and have other odd things wrong but in spite of it all, we know that we are lucky to be where we are, own home, a car, holidays and most of all, we have an amazing family and brilliant friends so we don’t fear getting older, don’t like the idea of it, but it comes to us all eventually.

So, here endeth my blog for this month! Will put some pictures up in the next one, promise! LOL! Now on the countdown to Halloween and Christmas (oh and my birthday in December!).

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!