Recently I checked another country off my travel bucket list; I spent a few luxurious days in Tenerife. The grand dame of the Canary Islands, Tenerife was much more than I imagined.
On arrival I was greeted by a rugged landscape and striking cloudless blue skies. Driving to the resort I was impressed by the harmonious mix of pastel-coloured cubic buildings and terracotta roofs set against a dramatic mountain backdrop. The Spanish architecture of Tenerife is in complete harmony with its volcanic scenery.
Each morning I woke up to a gentle kiss of the cool sea breeze on my face then would later stroll along the coast to watch the early morning walkers and their little furry friends. Staying in the south of the island most activities were sea-based, from an exhilarating day at Siam Park water park to jet-skis and whale-watching. Considered one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world, there are over 25 species of whales and dolphins that feed between Tenerife and the neighbouring island La Gomera.
The southern beaches in Los Cristianos offer an unrestricted view of the sun setting behind the mountains of La Gomera. Each night I found a different restaurant to watch this spectacle while munching on some Spanish delicacy. When browsing menus of restaurants there is an obvious fusion of British, International and Spanish cuisine. This is geared to the influx of British and German tourist. I found it a bit odd to travel there and eat like I was in a British pub, so I always chose traditional Spanish food.
Canarian food tends to be simple meats or fish paired with traditional ‘papas arrugandas’ – small potatoes cooked in sea or salted water. These potatoes are almost always accompanied by two traditional sauces – mojo rojo and mojo verde. Mojo rojo is a blend of tomato, spices and red chillis whilst verde comprises green herbs, spices and sometimes avocado. Before my trip I was advised that I must try the paella, and without a doubt this was one of my best food choices. The standard paella valenciana is served at just about every restaurant with some offering additional varieties. Most serve the paella for 2 and take delight in serving this to their guest. Paella with a glass of sangria was sunny bliss.
I was quite excited to try tortilla de patatas, a thick spanish omelette with potato. Although traditionally a breakfast, it’s served at some places for lunch or even dinner. The simple but hugely satisfying dish is sometimes made with ham or chorizo. After having this for breakfast I challenged myself to make my own at the resort. Considering its thickness, flipping it was definitely the challenge so it took two of us and a plate to get it right.
Tenerife served as the perfect antidote to the fickle London weather. Between the sunny days and the laid back atmosphere, it was ideal to wind down, free my mind and completely relax. I now understand why some people make it an annual trip – I might as well.