‘Flyboarding’ in Tenerife

When it comes down to getting seriously involved with ‘extreme sports’ I have to admit that I drew a big line under that one as soon as I reached the tender age of ’50’, having already survived ’13’ crashes whilst unofficially racing motor-cycles around the highways and by-ways of Europe and North Africa. I had also accumulated numerous battle-scars on my body, after many years of fighting in the dojo, and competing in various martial arts tournaments up and down the UK -and to top all of the aforementioned antics, I had also been fool-hardy-enough to treat myself to a death-defying sky-dive in Las Vegas (in my forties) and a monumental bungee-jump in Tenerife the following year, which almost put-pay to me altogether!

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Paragliding in Tenerife

Over the past few months I have covered many sporting activities which are available in Tenerife, from relatively sedate past-times, such as golfing, fishing and swimming, to the somewhat more energetic sports, including lawn tennis, paddle-tennis and marathon running. I have also written several blogs on many of the water-sporting activities (above the waterline) which are at one’s disposal on the island, such as water-skiing, jet-skiing, banana-boating and parascending, along with several aqua-activities ‘below the waterline’, including snorkelling, scuba-diving, bob-diving -and also a wonderful submarine adventure.

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The Guanches

The next time you are laying on your sun-bed, and lapping-up the glorious sunshine, whilst supping on your latest bottle of cheap Spanish beer -or maybe taking your final puff of a duty-free cigarette, I want you to spare a thought for the ancestors of Tenerife -namely the ‘Guanches’, the initial inhabitants of the Canary Islands, who first discovered these paradise volcanoes eons ago -and who fought mercilessly to keep them. Only then can you thank the Spanish Conquistadors for conquering the islands -and their subsequent descendants for turning them into some of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet -and a place on Earth where one can simply wind down and relax without a care in the world, whilst watching the sun set over yet-another glorious, crimson horizon. But before you do any of that, just take a short journey with me back to where it all began -to the World of the Guanches.

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The village of ‘Masca’ in Tenerife

Masca village, which is home to less than a hundred residents (and is often acclaimed as Tenerife’s answer to ‘The lost World’) lies at an altitude of 650 m, in the north-western part of Tenerife, at the foot of the Macizo de Teno Mountains. The setting of the village, between the Masca and the Madre Del Agua Gorges, is simply magical, and its houses, which are precariously perched on the narrow ridges of dramatic rock formations, produces an unbelievable landscape which is nothing-less than breathtaking.

Masca -with Mount Teide in the background.
The village of Masca -with Mount Teide in the background. Photo courtesy of Ronny Siegel@Flickr.com

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The ‘Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife’.

The ‘Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife’, (which is second only to the ‘Rio de Janeiro Carnival’ in Brazil) is held in February every year, and it attracts many thousands of people from all over the world. The Carnival, which is affectionately known as the ‘mixing of the masked upper class with the common people’, has been celebrated since the time of the earliest European settlement -and possibly even prior to that. The festival has two parts: the ‘Official Carnival’, and the ‘Carnival on the Street’. The festivities actually begin on the Friday prior to the main Carnival, with a grand opening parade, which reaches a crescendo during the evening, as thousands of people -the majority of whom are attired in outlandish fancy-dress costumes continue dancing the night away -well into the early hours of the morning.

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Gran Canaria -The Final Frontier.

Well, this is it -my final write-up on the Seven major Canary Islands, and this one is all about the island of Gran Canaria. Apart from being a part of my amazing 7-island circumnavigation, it is also an island I have had the pleasure of working on for just over one year, and during this time I got to know the island -along with many of its inhabitants, very well indeed. Gran Canaria is actually quite similar in lots of ways to Tenerife, but like all of the islands in this relatively small archipelago, it also maintains a certain individuality that is entirely different from its counterparts. Like all of my previous write-ups I will finish-off this blog -and likewise this chapter on life in the Canary Islands, with a small excerpt from my ‘7-Islands’ travel-journal, which I sincerely hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

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Healthcare in Tenerife

People often ask me about medical care in Tenerife, primarily because they are used to the good old ‘National Health Service’ in the UK -whose reputation, incidentally, has somewhat diminished over the years, thanks to the usual Government cut-backs on spending, salary deficiencies -and a whole host of other reasons, -reasons which I am not going to talk about, as this blog is not about healthcare in the UK, but looking after oneself when holidaying, or living on the island of Tenerife.

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El Hierro Island – ‘The End of the World’

El Hierro, which was formed around 1.2 million years ago, is affectionately known as ‘Isla del Meridiano’ (the ‘Meridian Island’), and it is the smallest and farthest south and west of the Canary Island archipelago. Just like the other Canary Islands El Hierro is mountainous and volcanic, and only one eruption (which lasted around four weeks) has ever been recorded on the island, which came from the Volcan de Lomo Negro vent in 1793. However, at least three major landslides have affected El Hierro in the last few hundred thousand years, the most recent of these was the ‘El Golfo’ landslide that occurred about 15 thousand years ago. The indigenous people are descendants of the ancient Bimbache tribes, who worshipped the sacred garoe evergreen tree, which produces water from its leaves. Before Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas (which was actually an accident, because he was originally sailing in search of a new route to India, when he discovered them -hence he named the islands ‘The West Indies’), the south-western tip of El Hierro was considered to be ‘The end of the world’.

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Fuerteventura – ‘The Solitude Isle’

With a landmass area of 641 square miles (1,660 sq. km) Fuerteventura is one of the largest of the Canary islands, second-only to Tenerife. It is also the oldest island in the archipelago, dating back around 20 million years. The island lies on the same latitude as Florida and Mexico, and so the temperature rarely falls below 18 °C (64 °F) -or rises above 32 °C (90 °F). There are 152 beaches along its coastline, 50 km (31 miles) of which are fine, white sand, whereas the other 25 km (16 miles) are made-up of black volcanic shingle. Fuerteventura also has the driest climate of all the Canary Islands, barely getting any rainfall at all.

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The Mystical Island of Lanzarote.

Hello once again -and welcome to the clearbluetenerife blog, where we are currently looking at the other ‘6’ major islands which surround our beloved island of Tenerife. ‘La Gomera’ was the first on the list, as it is the closest island to Tenerife, followed by the island of La Palma, which is only a few hour’s ferry ride from Tenerife’s southern coast. Today we will be broadening our horizons, as we travel in a north-easterly direction to the island of Lanzarote, where I will give you a brief insight into one of the most popular islands in the Canaries, along with a short excerpt from my personal travel-journal which I wrote during my circumnavigation of the islands a few years ago.

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