Monday, 29 August 2016

My Holidays In Tenerife. Part 1

Tenerife Holidays Palm Trees

How can I start this post? Uhm, maybe with an apology for not letting you know that I will be pretty much absent for most of the month? Or have you even noticed that I was gone for nearly three weeks? To be honest, it wasn't my intention to be gone for so long. 

I've only had one week planned for my summer holiday in Tenerife, but I left without any guest posts, or posts to publish during and after the holidays, so I just enjoyed the time off the usual online pressure and just did....nothing. I holiday-ed pretty hard (more in a bit), returned to work, worked on a project which I was very happy with when I presented it to my team and now that things are slowly returning back to normal (aka boring work routine), I have a moment to give StyleLingua some much-needed attention and love. 

Bye, Bye London And Hello Holidays In The Sunny Canary Islands

So yes, during the first week of August I went away. I boarded a plane to the sunny Canary Islands and left miserable, toxic London behind. It felt so good to get away, I can tell you. My actual holiday wasn't even a week-long, but those few precious days felt amazing. Time for me, time to catch up on my life. 

I booked flights early in the morning and late at night so that I would get the full day to spent in Tenerife. The flight was smooth and I felt happy when the white top of the Teide came into view. There were no clouds in the sky and from the plane window, I could see the island, the dry desert-like vegetation, the palm trees, the dust and more importantly the blue, crystal clear waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I was excited as a little child to get out of the plane. 

When the moment finally came, it hit me really hard: the heat. It's a moment, that I have experienced a very long time ago (make it 16 years) and every inch of my body lusted or it. Apart from time with loved ones and air, what I need and crave most in life is love and the heat of the sun - and I was going to enjoy it for a full six days. EVERY. DAY.

The low point of the holiday, however, came quite fast, so I better mention it now at the start of this post to have it out of the way and to get over it. The "Four Star" Hotel that I had booked, was at most a two-star accommodation, that had JUST made it to three stars. It was horrible and not what I expected and remembered from previous stays at four-star hotels. 

The hotel staff were nice, but the bedsheets were almost dirty every day, the towels absolutely threadbare, the pool small and nothing special and the food hygiene.....let's not go there. The area was pretty much the hot spot of British tackiness and drunken "Millenials" invaded every inch for clubbing and drugging. GREAT, but to take the blame, I had booked the holiday in a moment of total frustration with only 1h of research (you get the desperate state that I was in to leave London). 

Upon arrival, I was also told, that the island has rubbish public transport, so if I wanted to "discover the island for myself" I was more or less forced to rent a car. ERM no. I'm on holiday and certainly felt not in the mood of driving in 37-degree heat, in a country that I don't know. With this in mind, it took me a good 1 1/2 day to get over this and to fully relax. 

But the whole point of a holiday is to relax and also, to get out and explore new places, so I didn't plan on staying in the hotel for long anyway. The whole point of the trip was to refuel on much-needed sunlight, Vitamin D, swim in the ocean with dolphins and turtles, eat pizza every day, in general, have the diet of a 14-year-old living off ice cream and ice cold ice tea and spent money on shopping. The things you do when you're on holiday.

chill out zone beach club tenerife

And I pretty much did so every day. The sunburnt from a cloudless sky every day: 37 degrees no exception from 8 am till it went down at 9 pm and even then the temperature wouldn't drop under the 30-degree mark. Though the hotel was a disaster, it was only a short 5minute walk away from the sandy, lava grey beach, and a beautiful, perfectly clean beach promenade. 

The promenade connected the entire south from Puerto Colon, to Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos. It was absolutely beautiful and you could walk along the beach for a good 1h or so and still discover new places and things. 

Most days, I walked over to Los Cristianos which was the more affluent area and if I ever book a holiday again in Tenerife, it will definitely be in that part of Playas De Americas. The area is literally studded with clean and tidy shopping malls, beautiful restaurants and palm trees, palm trees, palm trees. The sea is always in sight, the buildings are white and gorgeous, the flowers are colourful and the streets are empty of people (they are all at the beach). 

It was perfect. I was finally able to go shopping without the usual squeeze. NO PEOPLE. Even at night (the shopping malls were pretty much open till 11 pm), the shops were empty, because people were back in their hotels or out eating dinner. What a lifestyle!

summer evening in tenerife
Beach promenade Los Cristianos Tenerife
Mini Golf course los cristianos
giant cactus mini golf course los cristianos tenerife

My usual day in Tenerife: get up at 8 am, then off to the promenade, strolling along, going shopping. One day I went to play mini-golf in this absolutely amazing Gaudi-inspired golf course and I treated myself to a Garra Rufa Fish spa treatment, which was a surreal and very ticklish experience. And whilst getting my feet all cleaned up by my little fish friends, I just leaned back and watched people and life go by.

Garra Rufa Fish spa experience tenerife

In the afternoon off to the beach, swimming (erm, splashing and diving) in the Atlantic Ocean, sunbathing till at least 7 pm. And even then, the sun did not move an inch. It felt like midday all day, but at around 9 pm, the sun would very quickly set. 

After enjoying the peace and quietness of the evening, watching surfers gently rocking on the waves watching the sun disappear for the day, it was Dinner time. Can you imagine? Usually, at 10:30 pm, it is my bedtime in London, but at 10:30 pm Tenerife time, it was time to have some food and dine out by the sea. The light was amazing. A perfect summer evening with the sound of the ocean - aaarrrrrggghhhhh can someone please take me back?

My Visit To The Loro Parque

On two days, I went out for a day trip. The first one took me back to the north of the island, which is more lush and green than the south. It is where the locals live, so less touristy. It also means the weather is more fickle and humid, with clouds hanging over Puerto De La Cruz that nestles in the shadow of the mighty Teide. You can't go to Tenerife, without visiting The Loro Parque and the last time I came here, my visit was more than short (2h) and rushed. When I visited the zoo with my family 16 years ago, the Penguinarium had just opened and Tenerife had the longest shark tunnel in the world. 

Now, the zoo had orcas and a Loro station, where you could see chicks hatching and developing into these pretty paradise birds. Once you got past the entrance (which was maniac), the crowd would slowly lose itself in the park and it became less busy throughout the day. However, if you're planning on going to the Loro Parque, you'll need at least 4-5h if you want to see all the shows and don't want to be rushed to see everything.

Giant turtle Loro Parque
Orcas in the Orca Ocean Loro Parque
orange plant in the loro parque
the dolphin cove loro parque tenerife

I know the zoo has been criticised a lot and received negative publicity for the inappropriate care of orcas, which sadly, is true. It was a surreal experience to see the performance of the orcas which left me with mixed feelings. 

On the one hand, they are incredibly sensitive creatures that need their families and can't be "thrown" together with random orcas they don't know. They are very intelligent and communicative and if they don't get along, they tend to bully each other through fights and singling out. As the tanks are too small, there's no way for the bullied orca to escape the situation (as they would do so in the ocean) so they become upset and float listlessly in their tanks. 

On the other hand, and I admit, this is a very selfish reason, I'm fascinated by them. I love whales and dolphins and I don't know how to ever see them or experience them in their natural habitat without causing them stress. To be honest, as a child my dream job was to join Greenpeace so that I can be on a speedboat and rescue whales in need. Later in my life, I considered to become a marine biologist to study them, but let's be realistic, this would just be as realistic as me becoming a recognised journalist.

Anyway, there was another opportunity for me to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat the next day which I'm going to tell you all about in my second part of my Tenerife holiday.

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time,
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