Tuesday, August 26, 2008

El Teide

A week or so ago, we headed up the mountains, into the forest, and through the clouds to explore a bit of the Teide National Park (or Parque Nacional del Teide). It was declared a national park in 1954 and UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 2007. The main attraction there is El Teide, an active but dormant volcano that last erupted in 1909. It's the third largest volcano on Earth, the highest mountain in Spain and the highest point in the Atlantic Ocean. It can be very hot in the summer and even gets snow in the winter. It's also one of the island's top tourist "attractions."

It was a warm and cloudy day in Tabaiba (where we live). We left the house around the boys first nap (10ish), and enjoyed the winding drive up while the boys slept. We stopped at several overlooks to take in the view and to take pictures (of course). As we went through the forest and cloud layer, the temperature dropped to 53.6 degrees before warming up again as we rose above the mist. On a clear day, you can see several of the other islands from the top.

We took a break at a roadside restaurant for a little snack and to feed the boys around noon, and then continued onward to the Teleférico (cable car). The "goal" for the day was to ride the Teleférico 3,555 m (11,663 ft) most of the way to the summit. However, the line was REALLY long (tourist season), and it was pretty hot, so we decided to leave that for another day and explored more of the park instead.

We stopped near the Izaña Observatory which is one of many observatories here in the Canary Islands. It is used for studying astronomy, the sun, and for detecting stratospheric changes.

Then, we took a little "hike"
to the the red rock called "Cinchado" which is said to be the world’s most photographed rock. It even had the honor of appearing on the Spanish 1000 pesetas note (their currency before the Euro).

Finally, we stopped at the Parador ("hotel") de Cañadas del Teide for a bathroom break and a frozen treat... Jaime and I barely got any of the frozen treat because the boys really liked it and would complain if they weren't eating it!

We checked out the line for the Teleférico again, and, although it was shorter, it was still pretty long... and it was naptime for the boys. So, Jaime drove us down the North side of the Teide to Puerto de la Cruz while the boys slept.

Puerto de la Cruz is mostly a nice tourist area with hotels, attractions, restaurants, shops and lots of walking streets. They even have Tenerife's version of Sea World, Loro Parque, which we are planning on checking out in September. We spent the evening walking around, having dinner and... taking a few pictures...

It was a nice, fun, and quite tiring day!

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