The island of Tenerife

 Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and has the highest mountain in Spain, the 3718m high Pico del Teide. That the island is of volcanic origin, you see at the latest when you come out of the dense laurel and pine forests up to the tree line and the view to the Teide becomes free. Here a large lunar landscape opens up, which is impressive. The geologically older part is in the northeast of the island. The Anaga Mountains are well connected by a road that leads up from San Andrés. The laurel forests have been a biosphere reserve since 2015. Due to the mystical atmosphere caused by rising fog fields, the mountains are full of legends about witches and covens and in the area of Cruz del Carmen you might actually meet one or the other witch from the forest.

Pico del Teide, Tenerife

We rented a car and drive the 60 kilometers or so from Santa Cruz to the Teide. The road TF24 is provided with numerous viewpoints. For the next day, a climb to the Teide is planned and we want to look at the conditions beforehand. The landscape is impressive and densely forested up to about 2000m. After that you will find only low shrubbery to no vegetation at all. A lunar landscape and in the middle of the Pico del Teide. 

Lunar landscape Pico del Teide, Tenerife

A cable car leads from 2356m to 3555m. The remaining 163 meters of altitude can be covered on foot, provided you have a permit. This must be applied for via the Internet. Since the number of people on the day is limited, you should apply for it in time. Also the ride with the gondola can only be booked via the Internet. If you are in good shape, you can climb the east ridge in about five hours. You still need a permit for the summit. Passing the "Roques de Garcia" we leave the plateau in the direction of Vilaflor. 

Vilaflor, Tenerife

We are a little disappointed by the village, but it was advertised to us as very worth seeing. We find there are, in the northwest of the island, far nicer settlements. Nevertheless, the road and especially the landscape is worth seeing. Via Granadilla we take the TF28 to Güimar and further back to Santa Cruz. Between Ganadilla and Arico wine is cultivated and the road runs curvy over numerous valley cuts. The main wine growing area is in the north of the island. Here in the south, despite drought, they try to wrest a few grapes from nature.

Tenerife

Today is the day, we climb the Teide. Our permit is for release between 15:00 and 17:00. We have reserved the cable car ride for 14.30. Well, everything is well timed and it takes a bit of planning, so we have a little time to explore the northeast. We drive by car to San Andrés, into the Anaga Mountains. The laurel forest inspires us and hangs partly like a tunnel over the road. In some places it becomes pitch dark. In other places the forest opens up and gives us a view of the Pico del Teide. In Bailadero one can turn off on the TF134 to the "Roques de Anaga". We give ourselves this, because we have experienced the rock formation at the outermost northeastern tip of the island, on our journey with the SV Katinka, already impressive. Only the shit in the pants of the skipper prevented the passage between the "Roque de Fuera" and Roque de Dentro, not least because from the north a squall approached fast. We continue our journey via the "Cruz del Carmen", from where you have a great view of the Pico del Teide and the communities of Las Mercedes and St. Cristobal de La Laguna, which lie at our feet. 

Anaga Mountains, Tenerife

Via Tegueste and Tacoronte we drive to El Sauzal. On a steeply ascending road, which reminds us of Madeira, we reach Ravelo and drive along the Montana del Cerro to La Esperanza. After 10 kilometers it' s time to say "Please get out, welcome to the moon". Under the shoes it crunches, the sun gives her best, nevertheless, one feels that the temperatures have clearly decreased. At the valley station of the cable car we wait for our cart. 

Pico del Teide valley station, Tenerife

A group of Frenchmen catches our eye, who want to go up with shorts, sweatshirt and sneakers. Through the sun it is pleasant but the air temperature does not get above 15 ° C. At the top station it's still 7°C, and at the top of the mountain only 5°C. I wonder how careless some people are with their health, especially in Corona times, where every slight cold is now identified as Corona. But it seems to be cool, in the truest sense of the word, to endure with shorts at 7°C at least half an hour. We are at least glad to be well dressed and set off to climb the summit. 


Climb to the Pico del Teide...


...with baggage

At a gate, the permit is controlled by a ranger. Very friendly and nice, she points out a few behaviors to us. "Take your time and take a break every now and then. You have time. It will take you 45 minutes to go up and 30 minutes to go back. So you have enough time. You can take off your mask, but if there is oncoming traffic, you have to put it on. We thank her and start walking. We quickly notice the thin air and I slow down a bit more than I was already doing. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Not because of the cold, no out of sheer fear. A wild animal attacks me from behind, as fast as lightning I turn around, a stone falls from my heart, it is only Gaby. Gasping for air, she has switched to gasping, and the lungs beating against each other cause the rattling sound of a wild beast of prey, although as far as I know there are no wild animals on Tenerife. (The editor distances herself from the previous description of the situation and now claims, for her part, to have seen the predator in front of her.) "Breathe slowly and deeply" I say to her "and above all breathe out again". "Go on" she barks at me. The way leads steeply to the summit and at the crater edge stinking sulfur smell strikes us in the face. 

Inside of the crater of Pico del Teide

The rock inside the crater is grayish yellow in color, and vapors keep drifting upward. Our breath stops, which of course does not help the oxygen supply to our still pitifully existing musculature. We reach the highest point, which is marked with a brass button in the rock, after 40 minutes and are proud to have made it. Despite many cloud fields below us, we can see La Palma and La Gomera. The blue of the sky is gigantic up here. On the way back to the cable car, we find that even some of the younger generation, quite has its troubles, which brings us back from the thought to visit a lung doctor soon.

Bottom station of the cable car to Pico del Teide, Tenerife

We return home via the northwest of the island. We drive over the lava fields of the last eruption of 1909 and plunge slowly again into the pine forests. The northwest of Tenerife is for us the most original part of the island and we liked it very much. 

Pine trees in the northwest of Tenerife

Currently, the island is also not overrun by the usual tourism, which makes the stay generally quite pleasant. We like Tenerife very much and it is always worth a trip for us.

Gaby on the Pico del Teide

It does not go higher in Spain

What we continue to experience so everything and how it continues with our journey, you can read next week here on www.glenswelt.com. We wish you as always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.

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