Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tenerife, Canary Islands – Part 5 – Candelaria, La Orotava, Teide National Park

Last part of my Tenerife story, I think, but I can never be sure of that ;) Last places that we saw or that I want to describe here. Our goal: visit Candelaria and La Orotava. No idea what to do next. Maybe Teide National Park once again?

We hit the road. Southern highway once again – perfect way to get out of Costa Adeje. Candelaria is a rather small village on the eastern coast of the island. It’s not big, but very important for the islanders. Why? Virgen de Candelaria! It’s connected with an old legend(?). It is said that people living on the island – the Guanches – started worshipping Holy Mary already before the Spanish conquest. How did it happen? Well, one day the sea threw a figure of Holy Lady on the coast. The Guanches were afraid of it so they wanted to stone it, but none of them could do it. All of them as if froze while trying to do it. As they couldn’t “kill” the figure, they started worshipping it. Later on, they built a sanctuary for it in Candelaria (that’s where they found the figure in the first place). However, once a huge storm came and the sea took back what it gave. The figure was then replicated and is now worshipped in a huge basilica in Candelaria. Outside the sanctuary, on a huge square, along the coast there are nine huge figures of the Guanches. It is said that they represent what the Europeans imagined primitive people should look like. The basilica is situated in a marvelous place with a spectacular view on the ocean.

After seeing everything we wanted to see in Candelaria, we hit the road again. Our goal – La Orotava. This time we didn’t get lost on the highway-crossroads ;) Yup, we did that on our way to Loro Parque. But this time we were fine. La Orotava is a quiet and intimate town situated above Puerto de la Cruz, which once used to be La Orotava’s main harbour. We got to La Orotava quite easily. The streets there are very narrow, but it was easy to navigate and all the tourist spots we vividly described on the road signs. We found a parking space, which was a kind of a challenge, and started exploring the town.

First, we got to Casa de los Balcones – the most famous part of La Orotava. It is a street (or streets, really) on which houses are decorated with wooden balconies. Very old, very ornamental, very nice to look at. In one of the houses, the most famous one (first one on the list, as far as I remember), a school of embroidery is placed. One can buy embroidered goods inside – table cloths, blouses, dresses, all kinds of stuff.

Then we took a walk along the narrow streets of the town, getting to Plaza de la Constitucion, from where we went up the hill, to the beautiful gardens (Jardines del Marquesado de la Quinta Roja). The view from there was, once again, really nice. The garden was full of various flowers in all colours. It is placed on the hill, so from up there we could see not only La Orotava, but also Puerto de la Cruz in the distance and the ocean as well.

Our last gasps of La Orotava air and we hit the road again. Yup, we spent many hours in a car during our island exploration mission, as I tend to call it.

This time we decided to take a third path to get to the Teide. This time it was Cumbre Dorsal. It leads from the direction of La Laguna and is 42 km long. It is said that it is the most beautiful of all the ways leading to Teide. Definitely the views on the way up are awesome. You can see Gran Canaria and La Palma. There are many viewpoints on the way and there's lots of sun and shade at the same time. Most of the way is in the forest, so it's nice. Every now and then there's a sign telling you the height you're at and the name of the place. And on your way to Teide you pass by a "moon" place, where Star Wars (or some other movie, can't be sure now) was filmed. You can see so many ground colours on the way, so many different kinds of plants, so many different types of landscape... So amazing! Definitely worth seeing.

And that's it for my Tenerife story. I'll try not to write anything more about it. It was definitely worth going there and I'll do my best to get back there one day. If you want to visit both Siam Park and Loro Parque - buy a twin ticket. Buying it online is no different in price to buying it there. Try getting to the peak of Teide. Don't miss Los Gigantes as the views are spectacular.

There are many places there that I regret not seeing. Masca, for one. It is said to be awesome. Garachico for two - one of the most beautiful towns in Tenerife, as the guidebooks assure. And many more. So it's definitely worth going there again one day. And I must admit, I miss its atmosphere a lot! And the cuisine! Try it, you won't regret it!

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