Un­planned: the Tener­ife you never knew

PETER GRUNERT Group Editor, Lonely Planet mag­a­zine @peter vg73

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Contents -

I SWORE I’D NEVER GO BACK to Tener­ife: three times over in fact, each af­ter hol­i­days in my early 20s. Mem­o­ries of sticky night­clubs, greasy food, scut­tling cock­roaches, building sites ev­ery­where and a back­ground scent of sewage fi­nally led to a two-decade sep­a­ra­tion be­tween us. But par­ent­hood, of course, changes every­thing. My five-year-old daugh­ter’s sec­ond-ever half-term hol­i­day was coming up, the south of Tener­ife was look­ing like the only sunny place across the whole of Europe, and so the time came to give the most-vis­ited Ca­nary Is­land an­other chance. At the last minute we booked a ho­tel and over­priced bud­get air­line flights. As it turned out, the ex­pe­ri­ences we hadn’t planned were the ones we most en­joyed. Drove along per­fectly sur­faced roads up Spain’s high­est moun­tain (3,718m ac­tive vol­cano Teide – also see above). Col­lected lava for a pri­mary school show-and-tell. Gaw­ped at one of Europe’s weird­est and loveli­est na­tional parks, not at all far from the sprawl­ing devel­op­ment of the coast. I’ve some­how turned into an early morning jog­ger, and on this stretch from Los Cris­tianos to Adeje, I found such dif­fer­ent views to the mass of mid­day and night-time tourists. The light was beau­ti­ful, the beaches empty, and many lo­cals were ei­ther sip­ping cor­ta­dos in cafés or out ex­er­cis­ing along­side. With the gloom of win­ter and the tem­per­a­ture 27°C lower back home in Lon­don, it was hard to imag­ine that the At­lantic (and the south of Tener­ife for that mat­ter) could be so sparkling and at­trac­tive just four hours’ flight away. It was our last night and we stum­bled across this res­tau­rant, La Torre del Mi­rador in Adeje. We al­most didn’t go in, wor­ry­ing we’d be pay­ing for the sun­set views and the con­ve­nience of menus in four lan­guages, not good food. But once again our pre­con­cep­tions were wrong: the oc­to­pus and whop­ping prawns were among the best we’ve ever eaten in Spain.

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