I had always rolled my eyes at the idea of a winter sun holiday, thinking it wasteful and extravagant. I’m not sure why though, because I get S.A.D. pretty hard at this latitude in the winter.
After a nearly constant rain this summer and fall, we booked a sun holiday for the end of January into February. February is my least favourite month- the one during which I almost give up hope of spring ever arriving- we thought we’d try to recharge before that lethargy and apathy set in.
Well, I am a complete convert. I would have been sold on the idea had we simply had a bit of sun, but to have steady and unwavering sun and warmth for 10 days was just about the best feeling ever.
We went to Tenerife and were relieved to find that the touristy tat is easily escapable. I loved being able to speak Spanish on a daily basis, be outdoors exploring, and knowing that if we took a siesta we’d not be wasting the sunlight in order to do so!
My top learning from Tenerife:
1. The Spanish there is lovely and much more Latin American than Spain. They drop their ‘s’es so that buenos dias becomes bueno dia. They also call their Euro cents céntimos instead of the centavos that I expected from the Americas. They use zumo and look at you like you’re from another planet if you want to drink jugo. My Mexican was clearly understood, except for localisms such as ‘mande’ and they don’t really say ‘vaya bien’, just adios or hasta luego. The first few days of getting funny looks when I said mande or vaya bien made me doubt my disused Spanish, but then a shopkeeper asked where I was from and when I said USA, she was surprised and then asked me where my Spanish was from. I took the opportunity in that conversation to ask about accent and words, etc. She told me my Spanish was very good and clear and she could hear a Latin American sound to it and I was just getting those occasional looks (usually at the supermarket at the end of a conversation in which the cashier just chatted to me like normal and I’d bomb it with an unknown word/phrase) because some of the words I was using were not used here.
2. If you’re vegetarian, and especially if you’re gluten and/or dairy free vegetarian, self-catering is the way to go. We had a self-catered place and I ate dinner before Honey and I headed out to get her meal.
Fortunately, restaurants do understand intolerances to proteína láctea y gluten, but not all can cater for it. One great place was Bahia in Los Abrigos. They brought me through to discuss my needs with the chef, made me a delicious tortilla and even surprised me with freshly baked gluten free bread to have with the mojo!
I ate many servings of the delicious local papas arrugadas, although the store bought sauces are not gf. If they make them in-house they can easily tell you if they are. The other thing I had a lot of was salad. The salads were interesting because they were invariably some vegetables and then some fruits added.
3. The volcanic landscape creates really neat black beaches, but there is also a very interesting range of plant life on the island. There are many, many succulents along the south coast and in the volcanic centre, with pine forrests and agricultural land in other areas.
5. The Tinerfeño (Tenerifean) flag is a saltire and looks exactly like the Scottish saltire. Apparently, they have different Pantone shades to differentiate.
7. I would definitely go back to Tenerife.