The Splendor of Tenerife

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Appropriately enough, our last stop in spain was our first stop on our two week cruise across the Atlantic. It took an hour to realize that Tenerife- one of the Canary Islands- was dramatically different from our previous island experiences. The beach was not within walking distance and what presented itself were tall buildings and a city landscape. Translation: Tenerife is much, much larger than we expected.

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The port city of Santa Cruz isn’t focused on tourism so much as on it’s own unrelated economy. People rush down the streets on their way to and fro. Taxis screech by and buses ramble amongst traffic. The city is dense, with a scattering of Portuguese architecture and parks with noble statues. It was, frankly, entirely different than I had pictured. I had visions of island paradise, lush tropical forests, and flocks of canaries. Instead we were standing in a city against a backdrop of craggy dessert hills and dry brush. I didn’t dislike it, but I realized quickly that my perceptions had mislead me. For the future I promised to complete some minimal education for the next port in order to maximize these quick cruise stops. Mental note taken.

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We were lacking entertainment. In a desperate attempt to figure out our surroundings, we hopped on the streetcar. We traveled in no real direction- rather blindly- and stayed on it until it ended about an hour later. We were swept off the train when at the top of the hill. La Trinidad: the stop for the colorful little town of La Laguna was suddenly at our footsteps. Two steps off the tram we saw quaint colored buildings with walkable paths and cobbled streets, old churches and tiny shops selling nothing and everything. It was immediately inviting.

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What our day on Tenerife amounted to was the equivalent of the tour the cruise ship was selling for €50 per person- and we found it all by getting a little lost, paying €2.50 for a tram ticket, and getting kicked off at the end of the line. Not bad for a day in a new place. And a memorable experience for our last taste of Spain. We breathed in the sea air, gazed at the rainbow of little buildings lining the tiled streets, and read the chalkboard menus of the corner restaurants. Sometimes not knowing which direction to go in is the best way to find where you belong.

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