Tenerife – Teide

On the way to La Palma once again, I decided to make a detour and stopped in Tenerife – finally making true on my plans to visit another Canarian island besides La Palma. Of course, when that plan had first formed we had been talking about Lanzarote and La Gomera.. But it’s not a good plan if you’re not ready to completely throw it over board and go with something else. Looking at the possible sights in Teneriffe you quickly become aware that you can’t possibly do it all… Of course there are a few that you can’t and won’t want to escape. Such as the Teide.
The Teide is Europe’s highest volcano and Spain’s highest mountain. Since this was to be the first holiday in which I was actually driving by myself, we decided to start with a bang and take the long and very pretty panoramic route taking us over the mountains, rather than driving up directly to the Teide. We first set out towards the North of the island, before turning into the mountains and driving up. The sky was covered in clouds and I was less than optimistic about the view we would be having. But I was wrong (and my sister right all along, although it pains me to admit such things ;)), less than half on hour later we broke through the clouds and only a little later we caught our first glimpse of the Teide itself, completely free of clouds! Even though the Teide was our designated goal that day, we had to stop frequently to take a closer look at the countryside which changed dramatically from densely populated forests to something looking a lot like wastelands over the turn of the day. This led to the fact that we reached the bottom station of the cable car up the Teide at about 3pm. We didn’t have the necessary permit to walk the final few meters all the way to the mountain top. The access is restricted and only a certain number of those permits are handed out for each time slot each day (but they’re free, it’s just the question of reserving them in time), there are several other routes one can take without the need of this permit, so we decided to go up anyway. We waited almost an hour in line, because people with pre-booked tickets had priority over anyone currently queuing. We were a bit annoyed that the idea to buy the tickets online ahead of time hadn’t crossed our mind but in the end we made it up. By that time I had started regretting the good weather. The sun was shining relentlessly and at these heights it is quickly noticed, especially by fair-skinned people like us. The views turned out to be well worth the wait and the suffering. There was quite a bit of suffering since one step up there tends to feel like a Marathon at normal heights.
From the top of the Teide one can clearly see the lava flows from the last few eruptions, layered over each other and on such a clear day you could easily make out the sea and the neighbouring islands. These neighbouring islands kept confusing us. We knew that there were three islands that are visible from Tenerife but somehow the shapes and numbers of islands we saw in a day never added up. We ended up calling almost any island we saw “La Gomera”.. I’m sure we got it right occasionally!

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