Variety Cruises - Canary Islands Discovery - Chapter 1
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The Volcano and the Barroquito
We were thinking about some winter
sun in one of the Canary Islands but didn't know which one to choose, but Variety
Cruises solved the problem for us and took us to them all (nearly all).
Unpack once on their yacht Harmony V and discover 6 of the 7 islands … sounds
like a plan.
We were warmly welcomed to this
sleek looking yacht and quickly whisked to our cabin where our bags were
already waiting. Our cabin was comfortably sized but compact, as you
would expect of a vessel that hosts an exclusive 49 passengers in 25
cabins. Sufficient closet and drawer
space was available for our 7 night stay and the smart casual theme on the
vessel. The bathroom facilities (with relatively spacious shower) are
supplemented by fridge, safe, hairdryer, tv and dvd player in the room.
The huge bowl of fruit and bottle of wine was a nice touch, welcoming us
as returning guests to Variety Cruises. The cabin proved to be a comfortable base for our discovery of the
Before dinner there was time to
have a brief exploration of our port of embarkation, Las Palmas de Gran
Canaria. The sign at the port says Bahamas 5877 km but you don’t need to
travel that far for some winter sunshine. It was a beautiful day and pretty normal for a group of islands that
usually enjoy year round warmth. Should
you be unlucky enough to arrive in inclement weather the Museum of Science and
Technology is only a short stroll away from the port. Spend a few hours
taking the controls of a supersonic fighter or ride the Robocoaster. For
us though, no such issues, and we headed on through to the Playa de las
Canteras. The promenade that runs alongside the 3Km sandy beach is
perfect for a gentle stroll in the sunshine and grab a coffee, beer or ice
cream at the many cafes and just indulge in a spot of people watching.
Energy to burn? Sign up to learn how to surf in the modest waves.
The beauty of a small ship is that
you get to know the other passengers very quickly and that element of the fun
started in the comfortable bar/reception area (one of the two areas of the ship
you can obtain complementary drinking water). We then took dinner in the
dining room which is broken up into comfortable little horseshoe shaped booths
and tables. Beautifully presented and served by attentive staff, the
lovely four course meal and delightful company meant our day was completed in
the most satisfying way.
An overnight sailing brought us to
Tenerife, the largest and most populated of the Canary Islands. During
our morning excursion our guide enlightened us on how the island changes as the
height rises. Sea level is largely
given over to tourism, which accounts for 80% of the islands GDP, but as we
climb higher (well the bus does) the landscape changes to Canarian pine forest.
Ultimately we reach the base of Mount Teide and admire the volcano that is, at
3718m, the highest mountain in all of Spain. El Teide sits in the most
popular national park in Spain, the massive and craggy Parque Nacional del
Teide. The air is so clear and light
pollution so low, it’s an amazing place to see the stars and also home to an
important observatory (noted for our next visit). Our guide took us
down a lava flow cave and talked us through the history of this sometimes
desolate, rugged, almost lunar landscape. It’s astonishing how life finds a way though, and randomly the seemingly
lifeless blackness is broken by an eruption of little yellow flowers. To add comedy value to our day, our coach
gasped its last breath, conveniently, right outside the cafe we were stopping at
anyway in the picturesque village at Vilaflor. By the time we had sampled the local Barroquito, a brilliant blend of
coffee, condensed milk, cinnamon, lemon and Licor 43 that you won’t find at
Starbucks, our replacement bus was here. Fortunately this one was robust enough to get us through the rest of the
exclusion and back to Harmony V for lunch. The Sun Deck, as well as the place to spend some lazy down time on the
loungers provided, is also a beautiful area for al fresco dining. A sumptuous feast was provided for us to sit
under the deck canopy and discuss the events of the morning, including where we
could get our next Barroquito.
We were docked in Los Cristianos
at the southern end of the island. We
used our free afternoon to walk off lunch and follow the terrific sea wall
murals that lead you along the sea front and eventually into Playa de Las
Americas (some might say party central of the island). Along the
promenade, as well as wondering if we had room for an ice cream, we admired the
huge and brilliant sand sculptures on the beach.
Next stop La Palma.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Variety Cruises
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