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Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Island of Majestic Contrasts

 

View from cruise ship of Tenerife, Spain.

The first glimpse of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is very striking.  The city nestled into the angular brown volcanic landscape and set off against the bright blue sky and deep blue sea is spectacular.

The largest and probably most famous of the Canary Islands, Tenerife was the starting point for Columbus’s long journey across the Atlantic to search for a better route to India.

Playa del Teresitas, Tenerife, Spain.We always like to get the lay of the land when we visit a new location and selected a tour from our ship, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, that would cover a lot of territory. Known for its beaches, we did see one, Playa del Teresitas.  (Famous, but still, in my opinion, no comparison to our Florida beaches). Read the rest of this entry

Lanzarote: Island of Hidden Beauty

Jameos del Agua, Lanzerote, Canary Islands.

The real magic of travel is when you discover something you knew absolutely nothing about . . . that’s what the experience visiting Lanzarote in the Spanish Canary Islands was like for me.

Mirador del Rio in Lanzerote, Canary Islands.I never heard of the architect César Manrique, who was from this island and returned to make it his life’s work to celebrate and memorialize its unique beauty. His installations are throughout the island, and we had the privilege of visiting two of them.  In both cases, their real meaning was totally hidden from view and not obvious until you enter, and then, Wow. The first was the Mirador del Rio, a stunning view of the volcanic terrain all the way to the Atlantic shore. My pictures will give an idea, but just do not capture the magnificence of the view or the experience.

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Las Canarias: Santa Cruz de la Palma

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Our first stop in the Spanish Canary Islands was Santa Cruz de la Palma, and the island was a real surprise. One of eight islands in the Canary chain, it was one of three we would be visiting this trip on the Regent Explorer.  I did not expect the incredibly dramatic rocky landscape, deep gorges, huge caves, lush vegetation, terraced farming or massive banana farming. My photos do not come close to capturing the beauty here.

We began the day with a walk around the charming capital city and checked out the Castillo de Santa Catalina, the only surviving of 9 forts established in the 1500s to protect the island from pirates. These islands were very important ports, and ships from the New World stopped here before proceeding to the European mainland, these islands were very attractive plunder for pirates of the era. The town had walls and was locked up at 9 every night, a practice that continued well into the 20th century. Read the rest of this entry