Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife, situated on the north coast is a tourist destination but one which, away from the main seafront, maintains it’s old world buildings interspersed with a mix of terraces and restuarants. Walking around this small Canarian town with Peter, Linda and Matilda, their lovable beagle only seems to pull me closer to this island.
History is abound throughout Tenerife, on one of our journeys we drove through Garachico a small town filled with reminders of its violent past. Up until 1705 this picturesque town was a thriving sea port, exporting Malmsey wine and food then, on May 5th Mount Teide erupted. Apparently, the large rock in the picture to the left was washed down by lava flows during the eruption which lasted several weeks. Garachico’s residents lost their livelihoods and the port was destroyed! As you travel though the town even today you can see the black volcanic soil that marks the direction of the lava flow down the 500 metre (1500 ft) steep cliff the town nestles below. The few old buildings which remain standing are testament to the beauty of old Spanish architecture. I’ll be returning here on my next visit to investigate further and to quell my curiosity for knowledge about this old town which was rebuilt after the disaster!
Over the years Julie and I made many visits to the Canary Islands but this time, alone after her passing, it has been different, probably due to the change in my outlook on life and my attitude to growing older. We both had noticed the sharp differences between Canarian and English culture many years ago, however, I’ve felt it more than before this visit. I know this is the easiest place for me to write my book. Indeed, prior to my return this time I’ve written the first chapter!
Over the years I’ve travelled to America, Russia, Europe and Australia but the Canary Islands seem to carress me with a gentle, relaxing peacefulness. Here in the UK, life is about money, it’s fast paced and stressful, I’ve noticed parents have little patience with their children. In Tenerife, you still need money but life is such the residents are more content. I’m not and never have been motivated by money, although have had to work hard to support my family and to give them a reasonable standard of living. The native Canarian population are more family centred as am I, preferring to go to the beach or out for a simple family meal rather than sit in front of the television night after night. Weekends are always special to them, some driving out to the many picnic areas for a barbecue, while others simply walk around with their dogs, call into a bar, sit and have tapas with their children, who also are content. I watched two boys of about eleven playing, not with playstations or XBoxes, but spinning tops.
The Canarian children have plenty of exercise and are respectful and polite. While in Puerto de la Cruz, sitting with Peter and holding Matilda, a little girl rode up on her bike and asked “Puedo yo para mascotas tu perro?” which means “Can I pet your dog?” “Ce darling!” I replied, and gently she patted and stroked Matilda until called by her brother who was calling her for tea I guess, off she went with a “Mucha grasias, adios” and a friendly wave. Women and men alike have respect for each other and stop and talk in the street. If you pass them on the pavement they will always respond if you wish them “Buenos dias” or “Buenos tardes” (“good morning” or “good afternoon”). People in the UK either look away or look down, generally preferring not to answer and go about their business! It’s almost as if being friendly is a crime.
I’m lucky enough to be able to travel, but while I’m in this green and pleasant land, I’ll try and spread some of that Canarian charm and cheer to all I meet, hopefully some of it will rub off! 🙂
Thanks for reading 🙂