May 2009

My first visit to a volcano

Actually, I already considered myself very lucky this year for visiting the jungle in the Amazons. I would have not thought I could repeat such an experience that soon again, but was proven wrong shortly after. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend spent some weeks in Spain and we used the last long weekend we had together to go to Tenerife, Canary islands. There I had the pleasure to visit yet another really strange and amazing place in our world: a volcano! My girlfriend, who grew up in Mexico, thought it was quite funny I had not seen a volcano before... Well, she has not been on a glacier so far :-P. I can only recommend this place - if you do not know where to go for a short trip for a few days, you just have found it. We rented a very romantic small house on the north-eastern tip of the island, far away from all the tourist places. The owner renting it to us (Juan Ramón) is a very kind and friendly guy, and he even went into the trouble to send me my keys and a whole load of money I forgot in the house - without even taking a cent for the troubles, although I kept insisting! (Anybody knowing me don't laugh! Okay, I know, typically Flo...) The house itself is built into the cliffs, with a marvelous view over the sea and the beach below, and a great terrace. Mayte, my girlfriend, found it and I can only say this was a great choice. If you feel like renting it, follow this link.

We spent five days there, which is just enough time to visit the island in a hurry - time flew by like nothing. You have to ask permission to access the volcano in the capital city, Santa Cruz, which will then be granted to you for a following day at a certain hour. Naturally, we managed to be there too late the next day, but arrived again the day after and the friendly guys guarding the entrance let us up anyways. Oh, and pleeease dress appropriately: you can't imagine the scores of stupid (Russian) girls trying to walk a volcano in high heels and with almost nothing on - freezing to death at 3.700 m ASL and not able to walk in the rocky area... Well, at least this allowed us to be completely alone at the top of the crater! Another great feat of the park is, as it's at 2000+ m ASL, that even if it's cloudy down on the beach, it might be a gorgeous day in the park!

Finally, one last word of warning: do not take residence on the south side of the island except if you like artificial touristic sprawls: the whole area is one urban block of concrete and completely hideous. As far as I can tell, the north-east tip is best, maybe the (north-)western areas may have some nice hideaways from the touristic towns, too. As for the climate: just expect 20-25 ˚C in winter, 20-30 ˚C in summer - great! One final recommendation if you like driving on narrow, curvy mountain roads: rent a powerful car - I haven't had so much fun riding a car in a long time!