So first of all, I am now a week late with this post but since the beginning of the semester I have been wanting so badly to go to Tenerife in the Canary Islands and last weekend it finally became a reality for me. I put it off for far too long while I waited for others to make up their minds about it, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and just go. Luckily for me, a friend from high school, Moriah, who is studying in another part of Spain for the semester agreed to meet me there, so we bought our tickets and it was final.
My flight left Madrid at 6:45am on Friday morning so I had to go to the airport on Thursday night since the trains/metro don’t start running early enough to get there on the day off. I’ll be honest, the trip started off pretty rough. I decided to skip my last class on Thursday in order to make it on the 6:25 train to Madrid but by the time I got to the train station, both of the next two trains were already full so I had to wait until the 8:25 train. It takes about an hour and a half to get from Toledo to the airport so I was sure I would not make it in time to get through security. This worried me a lot because I ran into this problem last time I had an early morning flight and my friend and I had to sleep on the floor of the public part of the airport in the company of a few homeless people. Because I was alone this time around I knew that this meant I would not get any sleep.
Miraculously, I got to the Madrid train station, took the metro to the airport, and road the shuttle to my terminal in time to make it through the single security line that they still had open since I had checked in online and printed my ticket ahead of time.
Between the little sleep I was able to get at the airport (because it was freezing) and sleeping for the duration of the flight, I got just under 4 hours of sleep before we landed in Tenerife at 8:40am on Friday. I had the day to kill by myself since I couldn’t check into the Airbnb until 3pm and Moriah’s flight wouldn’t get in until around 9pm. This also terrified me. I had a moment of minor panic at the airport as I tried to determine my plan of attack. I ended up just getting on the bus that was labeled to go to Santa Cruz, which I knew was the large city in the area. I figured I’d get there and then just walk around until I stumbled upon something interesting.
I ended up finding a very interesting Botanical Garden that I had actually read about online ahead of time, so with no other real plans I went to check it out. I learned that the garden itself was actually built on top of what used to be a mountain of the islands waste as a project to bring some nature back to the area. The park was beautiful and you never would have guessed that it sat on top of a mountain of trash. It was full of palm trees and tropical birds and had incredible views of the ocean on every side.
Unfortunately, the day was pretty cold and very dreary so I didn’t go lay on a beach like I had initially been planning to do in Tenerife but I did get a lot of walking and sight-seeing in. After a few hours, however, I realized I should probably eat something. I headed to the shopping mall (because eating alone in a food court felt a little more acceptable than at a restaurant) and the sun came out just in time for me to enjoy some McDonald’s (I’m lovin’ it) on the beautiful rooftop terrace of the mall.
By the time I had finished my lunch and gotten some gelato, it was almost 3 so I headed towards the Airbnb and then promptly took a shower and fell asleep until Moriah’s flight got in.
The next day we decided to hop on a bus for an hour to head to the southern part of the island because it was still quite gloomy in the north and the weather was projected to be significantly nicer in the south. It was worth the 9 euros and hour on a bus. Once we made it to our destination we promptly found a beach-front restaurant and got a couple fruity drinks to kick off our beach day.
In reality, we didn’t do anything totally spectacular while we were in Tenerife. We relaxed, laid on the beach, and ate some ice cream. On our way back to the bus, we stumbled upon a street festival and took a few minutes to watch the artist that was performing before catching our bus back to our Airbnb.
We both had fairly early flights on Sunday morning so we got a quick hot chocolate and headed to bed. We chatted a bit with our Airbnb host first and she even helped us call a taxi to pick us up in the morning. This was actually one of my favorite aspects of the weekend: staying with a Spanish-speaking host and being able to really practice my own Spanish.
So in all, it was a very short trip that started off with a few hiccups but ended up being a really good experience. I successfully navigated traveling solo, practiced my Spanish outside of the classroom, and got to lay in the sunshine next to some super blue water. (Also checked off another Ed Sheeran-related destination from my bucket list!)