Tenerife, The Canary Islands

We left Santiago de Compostela on Saturday morning and flew to Tenerife. Prior to dating J, I’d never heard of this place. It’s off the coast of West Africa, but it’s part of Spain. There are tons of tourists from Holland, the UK, France, Germany, but not from the US. I don’t think we even saw another American while we were there. People didn’t even guess that we were American and instead, they asked if we were from Iceland. It was funny and I loved it.

It was my second time in Tenerife and J’s fourth, but we’d never gone in December, which I think may be during the high season. Last time we came, it was March or April and there were not as many people. I would probably compare Tenerife to Florida or Cancun. There were a lot of older people (I would say the average age was probably 80), and it appeared as if no one had heard about skin cancer or didn’t give a sh*t anymore because EVERYONE was baking themselves in the sun. It was beautiful, though, so I can’t really blame them.

We changed our travel plans and ended up Tenerife a day earlier than originally planned. We decided to stay in a different hotel for the extra night just to check it out. Good decision on our part! We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton and we were upgraded to a suite (thanks J for having a million airline miles!). This was the view from our room:

This was the adults only pool, we stayed there all day (under an umbrella!).

It was gorgeous. The hotel was nice and expensive, but there were a lot of kids around. You could stay away from them, but there’s a buffet breakfast in the morning and I don’t like seeing kids that early it seemed like they were everywhere. No thanks.

After spending a night and an entire day there, we went to a different, adults-only hotel called Tigotan Lovers & Friends. The name cracks me up every time and grosses me out. It’s the one J normally stays at and I’ve been to it before. It’s all-inclusive and it kind of looks like a cruise ship, too.

One of the nights, a cover band performed in front of the pool. I watched from the balcony of our room and it was so fun! A lot of people were on their balconies singing and dancing along. There is also a rooftop pool with a view of the ocean:

Unfortunately, the first night we were there one of us got sick. Like really sick. Like I have PTSD from it. I’m not going to name names, but it wasn’t me. That kind of put a damper on the whole situation. Everyone is fine now, but we didn’t really do anything the entire week we were there, which was actually pretty nice…except that J didn’t really feel 100%. Just about the only thing we did was take a couple of walks each day.

One of the things I love about Tenerife is that there is a boardwalk along the water that goes forever. We never got to the end and the views were incredible.

We also saw some interesting sand art:

There are a lot of restaurants on the water and we went to one a couple of days where we could sit in the shade and watch the surfers!

Obviously, this was something I loved. I didn’t feel like joining in, though, because the beach was pretty rocky and everyone was wearing wet suits. I’d rather wait until I’m back on the warm, sandy beaches of Costa Rica.

So that’s about it for my trip to Spain! We spent a week in Tenerife doing practically nothing, enjoying the incredible weather, and then I flew back to Portland last weekend. All-in-all, it was a great trip. There were a few hiccups along the way, but the weather couldn’t have been better and now that it’s pouring down rain here (there’s a flood warning), I’m so happy I had a lot of time to enjoy it.

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Back to Santiago de Compostela

I got back to Portland last Saturday night (the 14th), but I’m planning to do a couple more posts about my trip to Spain. This will be my last one about the Camino and then I’ll probably write one or two more about our time in The Canary Islands. Hope you enjoy them!

We woke up just in time to see the sunrise in Finisterre, I think this was on December 6th. And the sunrise was even more beautiful than the sunset the night before!

We only saw the bright pink skies for a few minutes before they turned to a more purple/grey. (I didn’t filter the above picture at all, btw.) It was beautiful. It was also late…I think around 9 am. Whoa.

On our way out of Finisterre that morning we took pictures by the last Camino marker in Finisterre – I pretended I was still a pilgrim. And yes, I wore those pants all the time, thanks Amazon! They are the most comfortable travel pants ever.

Anyway, we got back to Santiago around mid-day and we headed out to enjoy the town for a few more hours. Unfortunately, it was a holiday that day and a lot of the shops were closed (my credit card was very sad, my bank account was happy!), but there were tons of people out. We ate some roasted chestnuts:

They were delicious and we bought them from this food cart(?), which I thought was so cute:

There was a long line of people for the roasted chestnuts and it just felt so much like the holidays! I loved it. PLUS, Santiago had turned on its holiday lights and it was so very festive that night.

Remember this church?

Well, the entire square was lit up that night!

In that mass crowd of people around the tree, there are about 300 kids and 2,000 strollers (I’m not sure how that math works, but I’m pretty sure it’s correct). About a third of the kids were having meltdowns, which I think added to the holiday spirit — MERRY CHRISTMAS MOMS AND DADS!

But really, it was a beautiful night and I loved it. I really love the city of Santiago de Compostela and I would go back in a second!

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Finisterre – The End of the World

After spending the night in Muxia, we headed to Finisterre the next day. For many years (centuries?), Finisterre was known as the “end of the world” because it was what people believed to be the earth’s westernmost point. It’s easy to see why.

That’s the lighthouse at the top of the hill outside Finisterre. The view is incredible and we stayed at the hotel, just up the hill from it. It’s the only hotel in this location. Our room wasn’t ready when we got there so we decided to walk the 3k into town. It was a beautiful walk along the coast.

We also saw the best sign graffiti ever:

Some people are so talented.

The town of Finisterre is pretty small and really cute. We went to the pharmacy and had a fun time talking to the pharmacist about the sexy rash on my feet and ankles. Fortunately, I think he was pretty used to talking to gross pilgrims about various feet issues. Before we got there, I’d Googled “benadryl in Spain” and “neosayomol” came up as the result so I asked for that at the pharmacy. I have no idea what I actually bought, but it worked! The good news is the cream was only about $5!

J looked up a place to eat and we ended up at Etel&Pan – a #1 rated place on Trip Advisor. We had a great view and my vegan burger was so good!

After eating, we walked back to our hotel and by the time we got back, the sun had come out!

Those giant mosaic stones were outside the lighthouse. It was difficult to get a picture of the hotel because it’s right on top of the cliff, but here it is:

Our room didn’t have a view, but I loved it anyway:

It was light, bright, spacious, had a great bathroom, and it was clean! We both loved it.

After getting settled in, we went out to take some pictures and watch the sunset.

A lot of pilgrims joined us and a bunch of people J walked with earlier on the Camino were there, too!

There is also a life-size bronze boot to mark the end of the Camino.

Most of the people had been walking for 30+ days and they were celebrating! They brought beer, cookies, and chocolates and shared with everyone. It was fun to be a part of it.

Finisterre was really beautiful. We went back to Santiago the next day and then headed to Tenerife, The Canary Islands.

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