February 2011

The Canaries.

We all have preconceptions about places. Before visiting the Canaries for the first time last year, jokes about Lanzagrotty and kiss-me-quick hats were ongoing in the Mannakee household. I am ashamed to say that after so much traveling I have become a bit of a “travel snob”.

After a week on Lanzarote, I discovered some of the most spectacular and surprising landscape that I have seen. The architecture is discreet, with only 2 story buildings allowed, all have to be white-washed with either green shutters, if they are inland, or blue shutters if they are next to the coast. The island is mostly deserted with wild volcanic landscape and a wide variety of botany. Mass tourism has spoilt some of the coastline and should be avoided but most of the island remains pristine and empty.

What this trip taught me is to reserve my judgement before seeing it with your own eyes. So now that I am a confirmed fan of the Canaries we decided to go to Tenerife this February. This is the largest island in the Canaries, with a population of over 900 000 and has around 5 million visitors a year. Most people stay in resorts on the South of the island whilst the North remains less touristy. The volcanic centre and mountains to the East and West create a natural barrier, only accessible by narrow windy roads. With 48% of the island made up of parkland, there are plenty of places to get away from the crowds.

Another big surprise is how well the old town centres have been preserved. The squares, surrounded by lush vegetation, are immaculate and blessed with colourful houses and churches.  Don’t miss Orotava to the North which a real treat.

Now I have got the Canaries bug I am already looking forward to checking out some of the other islands which will no doubt offer up plenty of photo opportunities.

Orotava

Punta de Teno