beach · Europe · hotels · Road Trip · spain · touristy · travel

Tenerife and Back

It had been over two years since I have traveled up to last month. Of course, you know the main reason – Covid. But even when restrictions were released I didn’t travel. I didn’t understand this immediate need to get back out there. Sure I missed seeing new places and going back to my favorite spots but why the rush? Covid was (is) still a big problem. There were a new surge of Covid cases in Mallorca when tourists were allowed back (naturally) and I just didn’t get it the immediate need to get away.

Anyways, I turned the big half a century last month and I wanted to go somewhere to celebrate the big 5-0. I felt so bad for the people who turned 50 or had any huge celebration during 2020. I know that had to have sucked. We looked into fun places that would hopefully be somewhat warm. Felix, being European, still wasn’t allowed into the USA so we couldn’t go there. We looked into a cruise but after REALLY looking into it we found out that our stops, mostly in Italy, we wouldn’t be able to get off the boat just ourselves. We HAD TO go with a group. Well, that’s not what we wanted to do. In the end, we decided on Tenerife. Felix had been when he was eight (how cute!) and the flight there was a direct flight. So, alright Tenerife, show us what you got. 

View from our room

We chose the Gran Melia Palacio de Isora hotel which I may do a separate blog post about but just be careful if you choose this one, or it may be just the way things are in Tenerife. There are a few pros – friendly staff, the Bali beds looking over the Atlantic are nice and I liked the Clarins products in the room but sadly, the cons outweighed the pros – the restaurant situation is horrific, you need to book 2 or 3 days in advance if you want a table at a decent time, the service is slowwwwwww, the bars close at 6 except for the big main one which takes forever to get a drink. Again, a possible blog post. But I really didn’t want this one to be negative. But seems like it is so far, so let’s change that, shall we? 

Alright, we enjoyed a few relaxing days renting a Bali bed, drinking some cervezas and swimming in Europe’s largest salt water pool. The lizards were fun to watch and I loved the red dragonflies buzzing around.

The cool breeze coming off the Atlantico was a nice feeling against the hot sun tanning our skin. One night we ventured out to a local Italian restaurant with great service and yummy food – Pepi Vintage Room Tenerife in Puerto de Santiago. Great food, wine and service. It is a bit small so I would call for a reservation at 673 72 56 61.

Close to the hotel was a black sand beach which seemed pretty hip with the locals.

After a few days of completely vegging out on the beds and swimming we decided to take a break from the Bali beds and rent a car to check out Teide and Masca.

Beer and Bali Bed. RELAX.

The rental car was booked at the hotel, it was super easy and 60 euro for the day. Off onto our best day of the trip. 

Teide National Park took us about an hour from our hotel. Teide is an active volcano but the last eruption was in 1909. I must add to this post that we were in Tenerife at the time the La Palma volcano was erupting. We tried to get a view of it but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My heart goes out to the people who have lost their homes and belongings from the erupting volcano.

Teide National Park is the biggest park on the Canary Islands. A trip that should be at the top of the must-see list of everyone who visits Tenerife. And the island was busy! It was a four day weekend for the Spanish (un puente as they call it), plus a two week school break for the Germans, lots of people had descended onto the island. And the closer we got into the park the more you could see it. All photo opportunity spots were full and when we got to the area where you could take a cable car to the top, forget about it! There were at least 200 cars lined up. And you do need tickets for the cable car so book in advance if that’s what you really want to do. We drove a bit further and found a spot that seriously looked like Mars – so cool. We got out and walked around and took some advantage of photo ops.

o Getting up to the timberline

Next we decided to check out Masca. Be prepared, the road to Masca is tight! If you are afraid of heights or get car sick, it might not be the drive for you. But the views are beautiful.

Until the 1960s, the picturesque mountain hamlet of Masca was only accessible on foot or by donkey. Nowadays, it is well connected to the rest of Tenerife by road. Winding roads lead to exciting hairpin bends and narrow corners. The trip will take you through deep ravines covered with lush green vegetation.

There weren’t any parking spots for a restaurant when we arrived in Masca so we continued on the curvy road and soon came across a cute restaurant overlooking the gorge. You can’t miss it, after passing Masca you will see it when the road starts heading back up. We stopped for a glass of wine and some roasted potatoes with mojo sauce. Super yummy.

It was so nice to get away from the hotel madness and actually have people attentively serve food and drinks! Seriously Gran Melia, you need to figure some problems out!

One more day at the hotel and we were looking forward to home and all the comforts one has at their home. And our six cats. 🙂

But one more thing.

When we first arrived there were a lot of plants under big tents that were on large plantations. I kept wondering what it was, they were even right outside our hotel window (see first pic). And then it hit me, BANANAS! B-A-N-A-N-A-S. This shit is bananas. Bananas are a particularly important crop, as Tenerife grows more bananas than the other Canary Islands, with a current annual production of about 150,000 tons. Nice.

See them bananas?

In the end, everyone that we encountered in Tenerife were really friendly and the sights in Masca and Teide were gorgeous. I am glad to have experienced the island and seen the sights. I’d give it at least a chance if your travel plans allow for a stop there. It’s always a nice to change your scenery view even with a few bumps in the road.

There is never a bad trip! Unless you took some bad LSD. Don’t do that.

beauty · earth · flowers · fun in the sun · planet · witchy

Happy Summer Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice, y’all! The longest day of the year. Enjoy with a walk in the sunshine (or even the rain is nice too), a fresh glass of sun tea and pick a flower for a tiny vase.

I’m becoming a bit more spiritual and witchy (in the good Glinda kind of way) as I get older. So enjoy these ideas to celebrate Litha. Where’s that gold candle of mine?

covid · Europe · just do it already · planet · save our world · scary · sickly · tragic

Hey, EU, How About Those Vaccines?

I have been quite patient. I really have. But as the days tick by with this complete vaccine fiasco here in the EU, I am getting angry. And I’m not the only one. What the hell is going on? We aren’t getting any answers just more restrictions, another lockdown, more negative news. Hey I have an idea. How about instead of spending all your time on new restrictions, why don’t you figure out how to speed up the vaccinations? Smart, right?

WHERE ARE THE VACCINES?

The U.S. is vaccinating people left and right! My parents who are 75 and over are vaccinated. Hallelujah! My brother, my sister-in-law, my friends in TX, NY, OR, CA, OK, KS are vaccinated! Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy for them. Some were very emotional to be vaccinated and even more so with their parents being vaccinated.

And the EU? I live in Mallorca. Armengol is our Balearic President and she just makes me laugh more and more ever day. But not happy laughter, more like maniacal laughter. Everything she says and does just gets worse and worse. The vaccines? Only 4% of our population in Mallorca has been vaccinated. This started in December! And here we are in April with only 4% vaccinated. Lord help us. They started with people in elderly homes and hospital staff. I read a report yesterday that “a record number of people” were vaccinated last week. Who knows what this “record number” is, but I’m sure it’s not much. I know a few people who have received theirs, they are doctors and some teachers. But the grandparents are still waiting. We are still waiting.

In Germany, it’s the same. My parents-in-law are over 75 and have no news when a vaccine will be available to them. It’s so frustrating for them, for us, for the family members who so desperately want to get together.

It’s not like the vaccines are “new” anymore. These have been available since the end of 2020. And here we are, starting the fourth month of 2021 with nobody doing anything to help the situation. Get your act together EU! What are you doing? Here is the latest as of March 13, 2021.

And every day there is a new regulation. Last week it was face masks at the beach. Even if you have enough distance to be safe. And then two days later it was overturned. They open the restaurants, the next week they close the restaurants. We were able to have an Easter paella at 3pm (because all restaurants close at 5pm) outside (because all indoor seating is closed) with about 75 other people all in close contact. While if the restaurants were open longer, for actual dinner, it most likely wouldn’t be as crowded because there are more times for people to go. And let’s not forget that our lovely Balearic President, Armengol, was caught a few months ago for drinking at a bar after closing hours. breaking her own laws that she is enforcing.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that Germans could fly here for Easter holidays but Spaniards from the mainland CANNOT. WHAT?!? People are getting tired of this rigmarole and Mallorca is going to lose all those tourists they are so badly wanting, needing. Greece is ready for you, tourists!

Even the WHO has said this is a serious problem. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the alarm on Europe’s “unacceptably slow” rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as it warned of a “worrying” surge in coronavirus infections.”

EU what can you do? I don’t know but maybe ask the U.S. for money or how they are doing it so quickly. To the so called leaders of the EU, do the job you were hired to do. Because at the moment all we are seeing is failure.

I know that Covid is real. I believe in science and I am very thankful for all of the frontline people who have been working so hard and putting their lives on the line to fight this. I have been following protocol since day one, I think masks are important, social distancing is important but VACCINATING your people is extremely important as well. EU we are waiting. And not patiently anymore.

Do your job.

love love love

Covid Christmas

Hey y’all. It’s been a long and trying year. But we are still here! There’s a vaccine, it’s almost time for a new year and hopefully there have been some silver linings in this crazy time. But I know it hasn’t been the easiest. Keep on hanging on, you can do this.

Yesterday we went to the local grocery store to buy duck breast, Black Angus and some veggies for the upcoming days. Since restaurants must close at 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays and we have a curfew of 10pm, everyone was doing the same and planning a dinner at home. The meat and cheese counters were packed and people were picking up already ordered legs of ham and suckling pigs. I waited twenty minutes before my number was called and bought the last of the Black Angus, as many things were selling out fast.

This Christmas, we are staying home in Mallorca. No family coming to visit, no friends joining us for a glass of glühwein, just the two of us – and five cats. We opened our presents last night, it was well paired down from years before of many presents. And we had a feast of black angus beef fondue with homemade curry, teriyaki and béarnaise sauce.

Over the next few days we might venture into Palma to look at the Christmas lights that are up in Passeig del Born and view the newly purchased Christmas tree of lights in front of the cathedral, La Seu, albeit wearing a mask. And don’t forget to stay 8 feet away from each other.

It’s quite possible that we’ll get a cortado, maybe even a cerveza. Oooohhhh, a churro sounds fabulous. Of course though, we will have to sit outside as all indoor dining areas are closed because of Covid. We could even call up a few friends to join us but only 4 friends because we can’t be in groups larger than 6.

It’s been quite a trippy year to say the least but all my friends and family are healthy and doing fine. And that is the most important thing. I do hope this time next year we will be able to celebrate together. But this year I will see my family on our Christmas Zoom call in a few hours.

So here is to a better year and not have me end up doing this again.

To end this post for the year… unless I get some needed motivation, I want to send out a very special thank you to all frontline and essential workers who have put their lives at risk every single day of the ongoing pandemic. I am so very grateful.

Happy Holidays to one and all.