21.01.22 — Travel

New Year in Tenerife

Epilepsy Warning: This post contains a video which includes flashing lights.

I ended the last blog post on a mysterious note, and I’ve begun this one with a title which gives everything away – I did indeed spend the New Year on the Spanish island of Tenerife. I celebrated the arrival of 2022 with my friends Cami, Sam, and Cami’s family, who have always welcomed me with open arms since the first time I visited.

My trip to England ended with Danni giving me a lift to the airport, where I headed to security at Terminal 1 just to be sent wandering all the way to Terminal 3, something my back did not appreciate as I lugged my two heavy bags with me. I did eventually find my gate in the otherwise abandoned T3, and I was soon on board the long 4-hour flight to Tenerife.

At the airport I was greeted by Sam, who drove the two of us up to Cami’s parents’ place so I could leave my stuff at theirs ready to head back to sleep later in the evening. Once Cami finished work, the three of us then headed down to a local Asian fusion restaurant, where we enjoyed a much-needed catch up over a lovely meal of sushi and other dishes.

I then partook in a spot of stargazing before heading to sleep, as the isolated location of the Canary Islands make for a great view of the heavens above, and the bedroom that I stayed in at Cami’s parents’ place has a lovely little balcony perfect for a moment of reflection before bed. This brought me into the next day, which was already New Year’s Eve, and so we’d stuff to do!

We first headed to the supermarket so that I could buy the ingredients needed to make a carrot cake for the New Year’s celebrations, after which we rejoined Cami’s family for a lovely lunch at a local grill. Full of soup, grilled cheese, and a selection of meats, I then headed back to the house to start work on my cake.

The carrot cake was thus completed with the help of Miguel, the son of one of the family friends who had invited us to see in the New Year at her house. With the culinary adventures over, I had precious little time to decorate the cake with a santa and his sleigh (slightly late, but never mind) and get changed ready for the evening meal.

Arriving at the house of Eva, a close friend of Cami’s family, I chatted to my family for a bit to wish them a happy New Year, and then we were all called to be seated ready for the feasting to begin – and what a feast! I finally learned how to eat langostines, discovered the virtues of marinated salmon, and sampled some of the most delicious seafood soup that I’ve ever tasted.

With the meal over, midnight was encroaching, and so we all got into position in front of the telly with our streamers and cup of 12 grapes. These are part of Spain’s Nochevieja tradition, which dictates that you have to eat one grape for each chime of the bell at midnight. It sounds like a doozy, but one misplaced or mistimed grape can see you coughing your way into the new year!

Once Miguel had smashed a plate outside as per the family tradition, we all finished our last glass of champagne and then headed back home to sleep before the next day.

The first day of 2022 treated me rather well, as me and Cami headed down to Los Cristianos for lunch, a wander around, and a bite of dessert. We ate at a lovely little Italian restaurant that Cami had found, and then headed down to the beach and to a ice cream and cocktail bar to spend the afternoon in style by the sea.

The 26° of Tenerife made a lovely change from England’s rain and Madrid’s biting cold.

The two of us then headed back to the car and up to an observation point to watch the sun set. Cami had noted that the calima – the haze caused by dust carried on the wind from Africa just 250km away – had subsided quite a bit, meaning we could see some of the surrounding islands from the shores of Tenerife. The hope was that we could see even more of them from high up and catch some lovely views of the sunset.

As you can see, the sunset and the views thereof did not disappoint one bit, and so Cami and I sat down for a good while to take in the views. We had a good chat up there, enjoying some crisps and beers that we’d grabbed from a petrol station on the way up to our vantage point atop the roof of an abandoned hillside café.

The next day we hopped back in Cami’s car and headed for a day out in the north of the island, stopping for some breakfast along the way. Our road trip took us first to Puerto de la Cruz, where we had some cocktails and snacks before heading to Santa Cruz for lunch. The names of these two places are quite confusing – they both have the word cruz (cross) in them!

After lunch, we then headed to Santa Cruz’s big central park for a drink and to relax in the greenery until the sun began to set and the lowering temperatures became too cold to bear. Being full of Korean food and as generally lazy as I am, I insisted that we take a taxi back down to the car, which we took back home and settled in for an early night as I’d to work the next day.

Although I do enjoy the flexibility of working from home, I’m usually a fan of going into the office – but when ‘home’ consists of a terrace in sunny Tenerife, I’ll definitely take that any day! Thanks to the revolution in our way of working that we’ve undertaken at Erretres, I was able to work just as efficiently from the garden of Cami’s parents’ house as I do in the office.

Once work was over, though, I was keen to get back out to see some more of Tenerife with what was left of the daylight hours. As Cami was working, me and Sam headed down to the beach together, watching some paragliders descend gracefully onto the beach framed by the beautiful sunset. It was quite the sight!

The two of us then headed down to that same beach, perching ourselves down on some deck chairs on the sand at a lovely little beach bar. We ordered a bite to eat and a cheeky cocktail – I was half on holiday after all – and poor Sam had to put up with me jumping up every two minutes as I spotted yet another photo I could take as the sun set.

My favourite photo I managed to bag that evening has to be the following one, as I managed to catch just the moment when a father and son were playing together in the last rays of light, with another of the Canary Islands visible in the background. It was a lovely time to be down on the beach, the noise of the day’s visitors had died down and people were relaxing and enjoying the sights.

One the cold crept in, we headed back home, and then the thought of another evening down on the coast got me through another nine hours of work the next day. Sam faithfully granted me my wish, and that evening we headed back to Los Cristianos to have a wander around and find something to eat for tea.

There was no better way to start the new year and reflect on my resolutions than a walk on the beach.

Our evening meal was eventually had at a Japanese restaurant that Cami and Sam are fond of, and the reason for which I soon discovered after a variety of delicious sushi dishes. After cramming so much into one day I was soon tired, and so we headed back home so that I could get an early night.

The next day was much more of a quiet affair, as both Cami and Sam were working in the afternoon after I’d disconnected from work. I was expecting to be alone for the evening, but Cami’s parents Nati and Rodrigo invited me to have pizza with them and Nati’s brother who’d swung by for a visit.

After this came an important day in the Spanish calendar, perhaps more so than the 25th of December. The 6th of January is celebrated as Día de los Reyes Magos, the day of the three kings. It’s the day that the three kings (or wise men as we know them) bring presents to all the well-behaved kids in Spain, and as part of the traditions a sweet bread called roscón is cut. Hidden within this halo-shaped bread are both a figurine of a wise man and a bean – if you bite into the wise man you are crowned as king, and if you bite into the bean, you’ve to pay for the roscón!

We celebrated this day with a breakfast including bread, meats, avocado, hot chocolate, and – of course – roscón. This jovial get-together was to be my last of the holiday, however, as I was soon wishing Cami and Sam farewell as they’d to head off to work, a few hours after which I’d to head off to the airport for my trip back to Madrid.

As you can see, the airport of Tenerife Sur is quite unique in it’s lovely views over the beach, which took some of the sting out of the whole leaving thing as I boarded the plane headed back to the mainland…

As ever, I’ve to end this blog post sending my heartfelt thanks to Cami, Sam, Nati, and Rodrigo, who graciously took me in and ferried me around between them. Tenerife is a beautiful and unique place to visit, but my visits wouldn’t be half as fabulous without their generous hospitality. I’ll be back again soon!