Tenerife – Thrilling Day Visiting Volcano Teide
The Canary Island named Tenerife attracts 6 million tourists a year. Tourism is the #1 industry here. This island is just a 4 hour flight from London, England.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth docked here at 8am this morning. After we docked the Horizon a cruise ship that Celebrity Cruise Lines owned a few decades ago passed us. I was so excited to see her – I first spotted this ship as it was sailing into port and even from a long distance away I knew it was the Horizon. The Horizon was a sister ship to the Zenith and I hosted groups on both of them at least 20 times. Back then those ships were pretty prestigious and were considered large. Of course the Queen Elizabeth towered over the Horizon today but seeing her brought back so many amazing memories.
Tenerife is the largest and most populated Canary Island. It holds one of the world’s largest carnivals in February and Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife is working to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Agriculture is important here too – bananas, chestnut trees, avocados and 20 varieties of potato’s are grown here (producing 3 crops a year).
The North Side of the Island is Green and the South Side is Dry.
There are 321 volcanos on this island and today the majority of us traveled 1 hour and 40 minutes to Volcano Teide. The scenery was spectacular the entire way – as we started to climb elevation soon were surrounded by Canary Pine forests but at 7000 ft and higher there was next to no vegetation. For about 20 minutes we traveled through misty clouds until we climbed passed them into sunny blue skies. It was thrilling to be higher than the cloud line.
Teide is 12198 above sea level so it often sees 10 days of snow a year but this year it only saw one. The roads at high elevation are marked with red poles to help those clearing snow.
When we reached the base of Teide temperatures dropped to -1C. I was wearing summer shorts so my passengers had lots of fun teasing me. It was a comedy of errors today – this morning when we exited the ship I was leading everyone and a gentleman from shore excursions guided me to what he thought was our coach. I handed my ticket to the tour rep at the coach and took my seat but after a few minutes he announced I was on the wrong coach – my passengers had a good laugh.
NASA studies and runs experiments at Volcano Teide as the landscape is similar to Mars.
We had a timed ticket entry to board a gondola that took us close to the peak of Teide. The gondola moved a quite the pace only taking 8 minutes to reach the peak. The gondola was large enough to carry all the passengers on our coach.
It was an exciting ride but at the top the wind was fierce and the temperatures frigid. The scenery was spectacular – very moon like.
After we got back to the ship I decided to skip a late lunch so took the complimentary shuttle into the town of Santa Cruz. It’s a fun city to roam around in but since its Sunday it was pretty quiet.
Once again temperatures reached into the 20’sC – perfect touring weather.
We enjoyed another excellent dinner tonight in the Britannia Restaurant. Tomorrow night we all look forward to our speciality dinner evening in the elegant French Restaurant – the Veranda.
Tomorrow our island tour of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria doesn’t start until 9:30am – we can sleep in!