Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tenerife - Miscellaneous Highlights

Some other fun things we did in Tenerife . . .

Dado got to surf!! This was his first surf session in almost a year. He surfed Playa de Las Americas (again, I kid you not about the name!). The kids and I had fun playing on the beach and watching the beautiful waves. They are a gorgeous color when they break.

There are pyramids on Tenerife, too. These are the Pyramids of Guimar. They don't look old, but they are.And the kids tamed some wild lizards! Okay . . . so they are only statues. :)

We also celebrated Easter on Tenerife. The Easter Bunny left beach toys and hid chocolates. It's amazing that the Easter bunny could find us in Tenerife.

And Mommy made some fun Easter toys, too!

Look how well they clean up!

Masca was somewhat of a letdown, but the drive was beautiful. Masca was described online and by locals as the hidden valley and the pirate village. According to local legend, pirates used to harbor here, so Max and Josey were very excited to see a pirate village. Another local told us that a village was just discovered there 25 years ago. Ha!

Turns out that Masca is a tiny village on the side of a giant mountain. It is very hidden and very beautiful, but it is also many kilometers from the sea.

Here are some photos of the view . . . spectacular! Love to all!!

Tenerife Highlight 4 - Crashing the Sheraton

Okay, I've officially lost the kids' attention, so the rest is all me.

We stayed at the Beverly Hills Club (I kid you not about the name!) condo resort. It was very nice, and it was a wonderful gift from David & Julie. Here are a view of the pool from our room and a view off of our terrace at sunrise.

The only bummer about the Beverly Hills Club was that it was up on a hill and in the middle of a very highly developed hill full of condos. So . . .

Mike had an idea on our second day . . . why not crash the Sheraton hotel, which was about a 15 minute drive away and right on the coast. We are members of the Sheraton Club and have been for over 10 years (since we have spent many Hawaiian vacations at the Sheraton Black Rock in Maui!!), so we didn't feel too guilty about it. Plus, we made sure to buy drinks or spend money on something every visit. Mike even got a haircut there!

Here are some views of the pool at the Sheraton. Ahhh . . . The kids played in that pool for hours while we lounged poolside. Their favorite part was the waterfall in the pool. How cool is that?!

We were there 5 of our 6 days on Tenerife - usually for a few hours in the afternoon. We actually became "regulars" - with Max & Josey playing with other kids staying at the hotel regularly. It was awesome!

Love to all!!

Tenerife Highlight 3 - Mt. Teide

Our next highlight was Mt. Teide, which is the volcano on Tenerife as well as the highest point in all of Spain.From Max:
It was so high. You could smell the lava. I found a really neat rock, but I didn't get to bring it down because I didn't hide it. The man took it from me when I tried to go back down. Before that we ate lunch, which was bread with meat and something, and spirit, which is a drink. Oh, that's all I have to say. Actually, it's not. When we got up to the top, we saw snow and we saw the explosion part, but we didn't get to go all the way up. And, once we got there, it was freezing. The way down in the gondola was way faster and much more fun. It took you so far up. The end.

View from the top of the mountain . . .

From Josey:
Once upon a time, I went to Mt. Teide. When I went to Mt. Teide, I got an altitude headache. I found a really rock, so did Mommy. She put it in her pocket, so it was hidden, so the man didn't see it, so we got to keep it.

From Gayle:
This is a national park, and it is amazing. As you approach the volcano, the landscape is completely bizarre - like you would imagine the moon. There are also a lot of desert plants.

This was definitely worth the ride to see such an amazing feat of nature. Also on the drive, we saw some beautiful scenery. Check it out . . .

We took the gondola ride to the "top" of the mountain. However, we blew it! We did not have a permit to walk to the top of the crater. On one hand, that is a bummer because we would have loved to see the crater. Max loves volcanoes, so this would have been an excellent experience. However, on the other hand, Josey had a horrible altitude headache, so we had to bring her down quickly. If we had attempted the climb (an extra 1000 meters from the top of the gondola), it would have been really bad!

Love to all!!

Tenerife Highlight 2 - Black Sand Beach

The next Tenerife highlight for the family was the black sand beach on the north side of the island.

From Josey:
I like the black sand beach because it was beautiful. The black sand changes shades as it goes closer to the water. The waves were beautiful colors. There was a surfing school there surfing. Dado wanted to surf, but he didn't have a board. Poor thing. We made a moat and a prison out of sand. The moat was to keep the water out of the hole, which was our prison. I put a piece of wood over the prison so I could walk over it without falling in. It was a giant hole up to your shins.

From Max:
I was running in the water, and water splashed and splashed. I helped Josey make a castle. I found some shells, and we played paddle ball. The waves would crash against the rocks and splash all over the place. We got black sand to give to our friends as gifts. We already gave some to Sandra and Sabrina. I was soaking! And we played frisbee. We ran across the beach in the water.

From Gayle:
It was almost a 90-minute drive each way over some of the most beautiful mountains ever! As we drove over the summit and twisted and turned our way down the other side, the views of the ocean were breath-taking. We also were lucky enough to have beautiful weather that day. My photos really don't do the view justice!

I was fascinated by the black sand, which is glittery, warm, soft, and beautiful. The sand, the sun, and the sound of the surf all combined to make this one of my favorite parts of Tenerife.

Love to all!!

Tenerife Highlight 1 - Whale Watching

I asked the family for their highlights from the Tenerife vacation. Here are the kids' responses.

From Josey:
I like whale watching because we saw dolphins and whales. They were amazing. We saw one whale breech and one dolphin breech.

The whales were short-finned pilot whales, and the dolphins were bottle-nosed dolphins. I saw some whales blow.

Dolphins hunt in packs so that they can circle the fish. Then, if one wanders from the group, the dolphins will eat them.

From Max:
Short-finned pilot whales can be half the size of a pirate boat. The females live 20 years longer than the boys. The boys live 40 years. Their food are giant squids that live 300 meters down, and one whale went under the boat. And the whales weigh up to 4 tons. They are not baleen whales.

We went on a pirate boat to see them. Dolphins, when they jump, look beautiful. But I didn't see one blow. And, they live near these fish farms. I think they live in groups.

On the pirate ship, we got to have balloons. They put up their sails, and we got to see the anchor come up. Someone took pictures of us.

Whoever is going to read this, goodbye.

From Gayle:
One highlight for me was swimming in the Atlantic! The boat anchored in a cove so we could all take a quick dip. It was chilly, so the dip was definitely quick. As soon as Max and I were ready to get out, Josey wanted a turn. Thus, I spent a little while bobbing around in the Atlantic Ocean. Cool!

When we anchored, the guide told us that getting in the water is a sure cure for sea sickness. She was right! Unfortunately, the many other people on the boat holding their puke bags did not get in the water. I highly recommend a dip if you are feeling sick.

Love to all!!


We just returned from 1 week in the Canary Islands. We stayed on Tenerife. Josey did some research before we left, so here is some history and our wish list compliments of Josey.

We are going to Tenerife. I am going with my mommy, brother, and Dado. We get to go because my aunt Julie gave us a week in her time share.

Tererife, a Spanish island, is the largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa.

Tenerife was born from volcanic eruption 12 million years ago. You can see the volcano from most parts of the island. The crater is up to seventeen kilometers wide in some points. Mt.Teide is the highest point on the island and in all of Spain. It is 12,193 feet above sea level. It is bigger than a mountain that you can ski on. Some beaches are man made with sand imported form the Sahara desert, and some are black sand beaches. It is warm year round.

When I am on vacation, I want to go:

  • To Aqua Park
  • To Mt. Teide Volcano National Park
  • To the Pyramids of Guimar
  • Whale and dolphin watching
  • To Loro Parque
  • To Masca, the pirate hideaway

Hi, it’s Gayle again. We flew from Barcelona to Tenerife to save lots of money. As a result, we had a 3.5 hour drive each way to Barcelona, and we spent an afternoon and evening exploring the old downtown part of Barcelona, too.

We had lunch at Casa Joan, in honor of our friend Joan in Santa Cruz. After lunch, we wandered around shopping and seeing the sights. It was a relaxing afternoon.

Details to follow, compliments of the kids!

Love to all!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bonne Anniversaire a Sandra!

“I’m young, you’re old”

We had a fun birthday party for Sandra on Sunday, hosted by Sandra and Jean-Louis. Her actual birthday is April 20.

Sandra made Encornet, which is a culinary specialty from Sete. Sete is the large port city about 15 minutes from Bouzigues. It is also where Sandra, Franck, and Sabrina grew up.

Encornet is calamari stuffed with sausage. It is then cooked in a delicious red sauce and served over rice. Excellent!

The gorgeous birthday cakes were much like strawberry shortcake. Mmmmm! Especially good with champagne.

Sandra has perfected Phillipe’s method of uncorking a champagne bottle with a knife! It’s very cool. Notice that the rim of the champagne bottle is gone!

It was a great, relaxing afternoon. Mike and I were worried that we would have trouble understanding everyone’s French, since we had just returned from 8 days in Spain. However, I don’t think we lost any progress. Yeah!

I knit her a bolero for her birthday, and it fits. Yeah!! Mike picked out the coolest gift - uncut US one dollar bills to add to her collection of US goodies. I still have to take a picture of that.

Bonne Anniversaire, Sandra! Merci beaucoup de tout ce que tu faite pour nous. Tu est une ami merveilleux. Nous t’aime!!

Love to all!!