A Travellerspoint blog

Puerto de las Nieves, Gran Canaria


The trip from Puerto de la Cruz to Gran Canaria was a relatively straightforward one..taxi back to santa Cruz along it's jammed dual carriageway motorway...I would so love to know where everyone is going in the island, as no matter the day and time the roads are so busy. Then a little wait at the ferry terminal mostly spent trying to get my charger to work and trying to work outwhere my bike would be going on the ferry as no one had actually said yet. In the end it went in the back with the cars. There was no cage for it and it was out int he open so to speak but I figured that if someone stole my bike or even my bags I would actually feel sorry for them for making such a duff choice and then be happy that I would get the insurance money from it. Though that is not quite true as I am quite sentimentally attached to the old bike.

Being with bike meant I was pretty much first on the ferry and had the choice of seats. So of course I headed to the front and took pole position with a great view out the front. Not that there was a huge rush for the seats..compared to the other ferries I had been on this one was most civilizedly deserted..a perk of them doing 5 or 6 runs a day. They are the only company to do 'high speed' trips between the two, and between the nearer points ie Santa Cruz and Puerto de las Nieves. Watching Gran Canaria get closer was just such a sight for my tired eyes. Through a slight haze you could see the mountains to the south and maybe two or three white villages to the north. After the continual buildings on Tenerife this looked more like it and I may have fallen for it slightly on first glance. Already up there with Ronda and I had not even set foot on land yet.

The port was just as endearing in land though...it's not pristine nor the most picturesque..it is a working port and fishing village after all. But it still took my breathe away. The town itself is small and is a white village...but with a touch of the Greekness in it as the white was trimmed with blue. But it is the back drop that does it. I could sit watching these mountains for hours. They are quite unlike ones on the mainland as they are topped with trees. But wow. While coming close to them in the ferry I was confused...there was meant to be a road down the coast but it seemed the mountains just came down and hit the sea. It was only on land that I saw the road cut into the mountains weaving it's way along the coast. My ideal type if road.

The port is renowned for it's fish restaurants and people come a long way for the food here. So plan for the first night was to have a wander and then eat on the beach. Oh I had forgotten the sunsets. Seriously there are no words, it was so stunning and lasted about 45min or so. Looking out to see you can also see el Teide with his halo looking impressive on the horizon. I think perhaps Monday is a big night here..the restaurants were quite busy and there was also the slightly disconcerting fact that where ever you looked the local oldtimers were there perched on whatever thing they could use as a seat. I'm sure there is a horror movie about that somewhere..

Oh my hotel is lovely...well the room is nice, but the staff are lovely and just so keen to help out in anyway. Even their mails before I arrived were amazing and I might keep as a benchmark of what customer service should be. Even when the man said WiFi was 1€ a day..and I made a joke sigh (1€ is not bad, not free but not bad) he came by later and gave me a code for free. He also spent about half an hour putting together an info pack for me when I asked about specific trips/places. But! Best of all Is the roof terrace. Oh! Stunning. It looks down on the port and the mountains, has sun lounges , hammocks, showers and tables. Heaven.

I had been wanting to cycle here after reading in Tenerife and now seeing that 'coastal' road more so but I slept really badly again and was back in the broken zone. The forecast 25kph wind with 50kph gusts did not help either. I would love to be able to cycle now here, but I know it would not be fun with the way I am right now. My left knee is so painful in the night and both legs can barely get me up the stairs to the terrace. Plus..I have already earmarked this place as a come back to place so it is not the end of the world just to enjoy it as it is sans bike.

Being awake very early after a bad night..there was some sleep as I have memories of a night mare about being a witness to a mass murderer..
It would be explainable if I had been watching any movies. But since I was writing it all down in the dream I can only assume there is some very subconscious connection to writing this blog! So scaring the breakfast staff by being up so early, trying to going back to sleep and giving up I headed out for a wander. And apparently I wandered into what you do here. 'first' thing in the morning ie 8/9 ish..what you do is go for a walk along the sea front promenade. Not only that but you either go for a swim or use the outdoor gym equipment that are placed along the path. It was for the first time in i can remember where I was out of place NOT being in lycra. Quite bizarre! It was quite cloudy today so my plans of just crashing in a hammock were foiled..and actually for the first time in a long while I spent most of the day asleep. As I said I would love to be exploring but I can only do what is actually possible in this state..which is pretty much sod all. But better to embrace it rather than feel frustrated by it.

Tonight in town it's really quiet. Not sure why..perhaps people just come for a long weekend or something. I of course made the most of it and got a table with the best view. The oldtimers aren't out either. I think Monday is a kinda extra weekend day or something.

Tomorrow I have half a day or so before heading back to Tenerife..undecided what to do so will see how I sleep..last full day away though...

Posted by louisebenn 11:31 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife


The arrangements to meet Mr Fresh legs were in theory relatively straight forward..he'd head northwards on the west coast and I would cross from East to west and we'd meet at Tejine. I had the shorter distance, just 20km and my panniers so in theory nice spin. I didn't count on a couple of things..one that leaving Santa Cruz was quite stressful as the roads were narrow and chaotic, and also that the roads just went straight up. I haven't uploaded the ride yet so I can't say what the % is but it was so steep that I didn't look and also that cars took pity on me and let me cross junctions and roundabouts so I would not have to stop. Oofff. It took me nearly 2 hours to do that short stretch. Soon after I arrived Mr F-L turned up and rather than head back into town and up to the north mountains as planned I pleaded craziness due to my panniers so we headed north along the coast until the end of the road then turned and made our way back to the hotel. That in itself was an 'undulating' road proving to me what a sadistic little island this is! I doubt there are actually any flat bits of road anywhere.

Our hotel was quite quirky...it has a liking for bright green against it's white...everywhere. the rooms were quite big but basic, all had a little balcony with a fab sea view. There was also a token kitchen in each...well 2 hobs and a fridge and that was all the appliances they provided. a big pool was set down on the inland side on the 6th floor..oh the flooring were all squiff as the hotel was built into the cliff..the reception and my room was on the 7th floor (ground level at the back), pool on 6th, breakie room on 5th etc. To get to the town center you had to walk for about 20min, mainly down steps..which of course meant having to scale these steps to get home each time. Sadistic place I told you!

Puerto de la Cruz is a funny place...it's hugely developed, as is the coast if pretty much all the island. But in the center you do find some reminants of the old fishing town that used to be there...a small port, some windy streets, plazas and churches. there is a couple of small black sand beaches, and a massive natural pool at the end. But you have to brave the hoards of tourists and tacky restaurants to find it. Also it seems that this is the German side if the islands..Brita preferring to be on the south east near the airport. So the default second language is German rather than English which made things rather confusing ..speak to some one in spanish and they reply in German.

The next day we decided to tackle el Teide..the volcano..47km or so of continual climbing. Aside from a couple of sharp bits near the start it was not too bad a climb staying mostly between 5.5 and 6%. But boy did it go on forever! It was really nice to have the company tho..my first on the bike since the first Raid. It makes so much difference having someone to chat to and all that. We went from built up, to Forrest to open ground and eventualyl to the crater rim where the % dropped but was replaced by a huge gusty headwind that threatened to take us off our bikes. If I said that on occasions we were holding on for dear life...well that wouldn't be an understatement. The scenery was amazing though...strange and wonderful rock formations that continually seemed to change. We finally reached the top..or what we took to be the top as there was no sign and the road was headed downward..took some photos then headed back to the rim to get some lunch before descending. Cor did I get cold when we stopped. Got even colder in the way down as we had gone over the clouds and going back through them was wet. Bleurg. But we made it down safely..even with my little cross-country shortcut at the end. We both felt quite chuffed as it was the longest climb either of us had done before.

That night I slept awful and lost any recovery that I had had from Malaga, waking feeling awful. It got worse on the bike. I have done something to my left knee anyway but all my energy had gone out of my legs and my tanks were completely empty both physically and mentally. I got 7km out into that days ride, all of which were spent in a world of slow moving pain, before I gave in and headed home. While I really wanted to do the ride to the unspoilt south mountains, there was just no way I was going to make it there and back in one piece. I have never quit a ride before..I have not gone out on the bike but never started riding and not enjoyed it. It's a weird and not very good experience. but I have learnt that sometimes you just need to listening to your body..and mine was saying no way ho say and actually when you are that tired it is safer not to be on the bike. So that was the end of my cycling in Tenerife. Not what I planned but what can you do except try to make the most of it..it was still a holiday afterall..non cyling people must do something eh?! ;). So I spent the last couple of days pottering around the town and sitting on the docks watching the world and it's tourists go by. Oh and I went to a couple of botanical gardens. Am not really a plant person but all the built upness made me want to escape it and the tranquility of secluded gardens worked a treat. There was also the mission to search out dragon trees, which only grow here. Perhaps not worth a mission but it gave me something to do.

Then today was rather odd..taking a taxi with my bike instead of riding it back to Santa Cruz. But I needed to catch the ferry for my last few days of the trip in Gran Canaria...

Posted by louisebenn 10:48 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Santa Cruz de Tenerife


I was quite sad to leave mainland Spain today. Almost felt unreal as it seems so long I have been there looking at the mountains. But it has to be done, if only for a short time.

The flight to Tenerife was quite straightforward..Vueling seem to bypass all the flaff, they sent me my boarding pass 6 months ago when I booked..unlike Ryan air who won't let you have it unless you book ie pay for, a seat. There was some...entertainment from the Spanish in the flight..for one they love 'half wheeling' in queues- I don't know the word for it in common parlance so the cycling equivalent will have to do...it's when the person behind comes forward on your side so they are not behind and not infront it annoys me as much on the bike as it does on my two feet. I did the very English thing and glared at them to myself. Then on the plane none could seem to sit in the right seats. It's really not hard eh? Look at your boarding pass find seat number, find seat and sit in it. But no. It was like musical chairs for the 20min before take off. I was nice I gave up my seat so a man could sit next to his family..although after watching the games around me I had a sudden fear that I had swapped for a seat that wasn't actually his to start with. If you can keep a low profile on a plain that's what I was trying to do until we took off.

Aside from boarding passes I had no idea about this flight...how long it would take or anything. Nor had I checked about timezones! Basic stiff and I had no idea. Ah well it would be a surprise at the other end. Which actually was as smooth as getting there. My bag was the first out, shortly followed by my bike. Out to the main hall where a taxi info man found me. I like taxi info men! He gave me some maps of the island and found me a taxi that would take my bike then sent me on my way. All lovely and straightforward complete contrast to the aggressive taxi drivers I had encountered that first day in Malaga.

My first thought on Tenerife is it is more colourful than Spain..thé houses are painted a whole range of hues giving it a much more vibrant feel. The second was that the mountains to the north looked huge and ragged..almost like sharks teeth. Slightly kicking myself that I had suggested the north mountains tomorrow. Am actually really glad that there are low clouds ..if I could see Tiebe I think I would probably run away. Contacted my friend who had arrived from the UK and was headed straight to our accomo for the rest of the week. Mr Fresh Legs had already put his bike together and was going to go out for a spin. Me on the otherhand was putting off getting on the bike til the last min. Knackered old mare that I am.

So Santa Cruz de Tenerife...funny pace. Not exactly picturesque as it is a working town, but the more you wander around it the more you see it's subtle charm. While by the sea, the coast is a port and so the main center is actually set back a bit. Couple of things stick in my mind...three oilrigs right by the port. At least one was a working one. Never seen an oilrig before let alone one so close to land. The other was the auditorium. Absolutely amazing building. Very reminisce of the Valencian modern architecture but in such a functional area it stands out more. All lovely archs and curves and made of white shiney material that swimmers when the sun came out. Weirdly fitting though it is so out of place.

Tonights plans -eat lots. Time to return to cycling eating..

Posted by louisebenn 11:35 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Malaga r&r day


So yesterdays entry was minimal. There were of course other things I was going to write but having just woken up and realising it was near 8..the party/food time here..I seemed to forget all but the basics.

When I did go out..instead of the expected quiet Sunday evening struggle to find somewhere to eat. It was in fact the complete opposite. It was absolutely heaving with people! I ended up wandering aimlessly just in awe of all the people..until I found myself in a small and where it all became clear. The band and the virgin had been brought out of the garage again! No idea why..perhaps it is a normal Sunday event but there she was again. So like deja vu from last time I was here. What was also quite random earlier was that where as my first visit was blocked by a running event, this time it was a cycling one. Hundreds of families and random people on their bikes in the middle of town. To be honest there was not much actual cycling going on..more lots of standing and chatting but still it was quite a sight. It did make slightly insanely giggle with the realisation that no, I didn't have to get on my bike and join them. Anyway back to the evening..I got so distracted that no real cebratory drinkies Eee had instead i found à teteria (arab tea shop) for some licorice tea and then on to a cafe for some apple tart then bed.

Today was more of the same getting into relaxing mode..slow breakie at a local churrerier, back here to sort my bags abd get the bike to the shop. Then off to the beach for proper sunbathing! Swimming costume, towel and suntan lotion and everything! To be fair I only lasted about half hour.but gotta take things slow! I was going to take in a flick this afternoon but had a fishbowl g&t while waiting and then of course I had to have à second....it's tough all this relaxing business! Still a long way to go though

All in all a good day. Tomorow I continue the relaxing theme by flying to the canaries to cycle up a volcano or two ;)

Posted by louisebenn 09:29 Archived in Spain Comments (0)


el final de la carretera!


Oh thank god! Last day if the tour! Don't get me wrong it's been an amazing trip but the thought of not having to tour each day, plan and do homework, having to sight see and all that...phew! I can feel the difference already. After I got into town I went for a wander and ended up on the beach..I voluntarily stuck my feet in the water..briefly as it was freezing...then laid down and sunbathed! For the first time on this trip I unearthed! Sure the sun wasn't actually out, I wasn't in my swimsuit, and it was also more of a means of closing my eyes and sleeping for a little while....but it was still sunbathing! Making the most of this new 'relaxing' thing I went and had a g&t with lunch to help this new feeling along the way. The walk home wad slightly blurring than the way there..tho mostly that was due to my contacts drying up. Then back at the hostal...sleep..another wander then some more sleep to top it off. It's funny wandering about here as I remember most things..directional wise but there are other bits that I have no clue of at all..for example..did I actually go see the lower castle or only the ruins on the hill?! I have no idea. Not sure at the moment I really care. Something for tomorrow. Right time to find some dinner and maybe a celebratory drink or three...

Posted by louisebenn 10:49 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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