Tenerife

Experiment of the Spanish King – The Botanical Garden in Puerto

One of the things that caught my attention in Puerto was the local botanical garden. It is the oldest tourist attraction there. It was founded in 1788 by Spanish King Charles III as an ambitious attempt to acclimatize tropical plants from all over the world to the local climate and then repeat the same process again in Madrid. The first step of the plan was successful, the second wasn’t. So there is in Tenerife a garden full of various beautiful and bizarre plants. The park is dominated by a giant rubber tree with loads of air roots and intertwined stems. It is as big as several trees beside each other, a very imposing view. (When Ben saw it he said that we were definitely not getting a rubber tree at home because he was worried that it would strangle him while he was asleep.) While walking the paths surrounded by lush greenery I felt like I was in a jungle. Where ever I looked there was something to see – one plant more peculiar than another. Cinnamons, fig-trees, pipers, coffee plants, araucarias… And what about this egg-shaped fruit? I see, breadfruit! And many other curious trees and bushes, I had […]

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Tenerife

Water Garden and searching for Black Swans

In Puerto de la Cruz there are many places to explore. The place that impressed me the most I ran into by complete chance. On that day I had gone to visit the Taoro Park but, as it usually happens, I was tempted by a pleasant-looking path lined with flowering bushes. And so I decided to find out where it would lead me… When I got to the end, I felt as if I had found myself in a world of elves and fairies. On the green lawn among palm trees, flowering bushes, and fruit trees with a fantastic view of the sea there were scattered chairs and tables. The place was deserted, only at one table there was a man quietly reading and a black swan strolled around the pond. I picked a scenic place near the water and sat down as well. After a little bit, the man got up, approached me without hurry and asked me what I would like. From that, I understood I was not in somebody’s garden but in a café. I ordered tea. A bit later an elderly British couple arrived. They sat at one of the tables and ordered a cake. The […]

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Tenerife

Tenerife Moments

During the winter in Europe, the Canary Islands are more like late spring than the tropics – in December the temperature was around 23°, half of the time sunny. The wind gets crazy sometimes – when we arrived I thought the surrounding palm trees were preparing for lift-off, they waved in the wind so much. The air there has a strange, sweet-salty flower-sea scent. I haven’t experienced anything like that anywhere else. Tenerife is a volcanic island and so it is, although small, very mountainous. According to the altitude and position in relation to the mountains, you can within short interval enter various microworlds with completely different weather and plants. The north coast is quite green because the mountains in the center catch rain clouds. The south used to be a desert, warmer and sunnier. Gradually with the arrival of tourism, the south has been covered with seaside resorts which, thanks to the planting of new trees and plants, has changed the climate of the island so much that the difference between the north and the south is not as big any more. We stayed in the north at Puerto de la Cruz because when I had seen Tenerife pictures […]

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Tenerife

How (not) to rent a car in Tenerife

We got off the plane at Tenerife – South Airport shortly before midnight. In front of us was a long bus journey to Puerto de la Cruz on the other side of the island. A bus had just left and the next one wasn’t due for another hour. When planning the trip, we had thought of renting a car but found out that when one of us didn’t drive and the other had a driving license only for three months, it was not possible. I became reconciled to depending on buses. Ben had not. As I began nodding off in the middle of our luggage he disappeared and then reappeared triumphantly waving car keys above his head. It appears he had simply walked up to the nearest car rental desk, presented his driving license and ID card, and waited to see what would happen. What happened was that the Spanish official was not able – or could not be bothered to decipher Czech documents. So Ben, after narrowly preventing the man at the desk putting the name of Ben’s place of birth down as his surname on the form, scooped up the car keys along with instruction telling him to […]

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Tenerife

How (not) to catch a plane to Tenerife

Have we been sitting here too long? I wondered as I sat with a pile of luggage in Berlin airport. The departure gate still showed no signs of activity, nearly twenty minutes after it should have closed. It hadn’t even opened yet… There was no announcement of a delay either… Wait a minute, something must be wrong. Suddenly, it dawned on me. Sometime earlier I had gone looking for the toilets and about halfway there Ben had gesticulated to me to have a look if the number of our gate was up yet. I had glanced quickly at the departure board but was more concerned with other pressing matters. “Nine!” I shouted back and set off to follow the call of nature. I didn’t think about it any further. But now, after sitting for three-quarters of an hour in front of Gate 9, I suddenly got a petrifying thought: “Ben … Are we waiting at the correct gate?” Ben turned mildly green and sprinted off to check the departure board. Immediately he was back, grabbed a rucksack, and only said: “Let’s run!” And so we ran. Across the whole length of the extensive Schönefeld airport to gate 63, all the […]

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