Our last shore excursion and a nice lunch at a cafe on shore

Thursday, November 12, 2009…My Equinox diary

The rocky shoreline of Tenerife
The rocky shoreline of Tenerife

Today we visited Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. This island is quite different from Lanzarote, which we visited yesterday. There are basically two sides to this island, the southern part, which faces the Sahara Desert, is dry and arid. The northern part (separated by high mountains) faces Europe and is moist and green.

Our shore excursion today took us through both of these parts of the island. First we headed northeast where we stopped briefly for photos at Playa de Las Teresitas beach. This is a wide white sand beach with sand that has been imported from the Sahara. Most of the other beaches on the island are composed of black volcanic sand.

Then we drove over the mountains to the small town of Taganana on the north coast. The bus ride on a curvy, narrow road was a nail-biter. We were sitting in the first row of seats and many times I found myself staring at a stone wall before the bus swung back into its turn. Our drive, Augustino, was exceptional and we all decided he deserved the biggest part of the tip.

At Taganana we visited a black sand beach and then stopped to sample the local wine along with some bread, cheese and olives. This red wine was extremely light but quite tasty…perfect for 10 a.m.!

The local wine of Tenerife
The local wine of Tenerife

Then we continued our drive through the mountains, passing through the Silver Laurel Forest, one of the oldest in Europe, returning down the mountain through the town of La Laguna, which used to be the capital of the island.

Back at the ship around 12:30, we hopped the free shuttle back into the capital city of Santa Cruz. Here we walked around the bustling streets and located the supermarket where we bought some Diet Cokes and extra bottled water which are quite costly on board.

Then, realizing that we would be eating ship food for the next six days, we stopped for lunch at a local café. We would recommend the El Aquila restaurant at the Plaza Alferez Provisional…Chet enjoyed a sampling of local hams while I had a delicious avocado and shrimp salad. Live harp music set a lovely mood.

Back at the ship we were able to see the bustle of last minute provisioning and fueling as we embark on our sea crossing.

Tomorrow we begin our sail…3,410 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

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