Bank holiday. A long week-end ahead and no plan in sight? Been there.
Luckily for me, my friend was asking herself the same thing, and between two (bright) heads, we came up with this: let’s go to Tenerife!! Being the cost-effective girls that we are, we found a nice offer: flight, decent hotel in a nice place, whole (very touristy) package.
Arriving in Tenerife, we took the guagua to the Acantilado de los Gigantes, and on the way we congratulated ourselves for not going for the popular spots. Personally, I think the very touristy beaches do not do Tenerife justice.
And then, looking up for things we can do, this beauty appeared irresistible. Teide mountain. And instead of spending a quiet evening “at home”, and a quiet day on the rocky beach, we decided to go see the sunrise on top of the highest Spanish peak. You need to know that only a certain number of visitors get to go on the top of the Teide, you need a permit (it’s free, but you have to book in advance), but if you spend the night at the refuge you get a free pass before 6:00AM.
Said and done. A taxi to the starting point can set you back about 60 euros, but it was totally worth it. I forgot to say people are so incredibly nice in Tenerife, so if you speak a bit of Spanish go for it, you won’t be disapointed. Who have seen a taxi driver stopping on the way several times, just to make sure we are not missing the beauty of the day, and who had seen a taxi driver going on a mini-expedition to find the perfect volcanic lava rocks and pine-cones, without being asked!! And further more, he offered to take it back to the hotel with him, no need to carry a stone to the top, he said.
Enough words for now, here are some pics taken on the way… how can you not love it?
Let’s get back to our route: you can go by car until the 40,2 km of TF-21. From there you have to go on foot until the Altavista refuge, and spend the night. It’s very well marked, it is impossible to get lost.
We have seen several info pages, and they all say you need to hike for about 4 hours. Nope. 2,5 hours are more than enough to get to the refuge, at a leisurely pace. The last hour becomes more difficult, as the path is quite steep, but practically anyone can do it. And you will be so wrapped in the scenery, you won’t realize the time passing.
The refuge is cozy, lots of beds and lots of very nice people. I always wonder why the hikers are so nice… must be the clean air they ingest… Oh, and Wifi!! After all, you have to brag to your friends you are about to conquer Teide.
At 4,30AM, everyone is up. Breakfast and off we go. Oh, you need a lantern, since you are climbing to see the sunrise, you climb in the dark…
seems pretty obvious, but it was not for us until we stepped outside the refuge :). Luckily, did I mention there are lots of nice people? We got one right away!
A tough 1,5h hike later, we were at the top! Come on, sun, rise, we are freezing our a…….s off!! The wind is almost unbearable, but from place to place the volcano is spitting hot air. Don’t put your frozen hands directly onto the hot air as I did, it hurts…
But once the sun is up, you forget the wind, you forget the tired legs, and just enjoy the view… the sun on one side, and the volcano’s shadow projecting onto the sea at the other. Unforgettable!
And if you’re lucky, Gran Canaria island appears from the clouds
You can use the rest of the day visiting the north of the island, it’s so different from the south, all green and nice!! And then go back to the hotel and sleep like a rock. Not much action by night in September anyway.
Next day is the last, so what to do, what to do… whale watching sounds nice… Just ask the hotel,don’t worry, they are so nice people they will always advise you the best option (not the most expensive).
Go to the Maritima (the harbour), get your boat, and go see the whales (if you’re lucky, dolphins, too, we were not lucky), and the beautiful landscapes.
DISCLOSURE: the canary islands whales are not huge, so if you’re expecting a beast, well, lower your expectations. They are very friendly though, and not at all shy.
And last but not least… a dip in the ocean!!
After this, we dried, we took the luggage on the way, and off to the airport we go!! But I was left with great memories, the most impressive sunrise I have seen in my life, I learned (all the) people can be funny and so nice for no reason. Not to mention me and my friend were in sync. All in all, 3 days perfectly spent.