Upon our arrival at the pier in Tenerife, we were welcomed with beautiful exotic Bird of Paradise blooms and a performance by brightly costumed folkloric dancers (photos). The Canary bird did not lend its name to these islands; instead the islands lent their name to the bird. The Canary Islands have been known to navigators for centuries, at least as long as the writings of Pliny, the Roman scribe. The name, Canaries, is from the Latin root, canis, meaning dog and bespeaks the dogs, a sort of cross between Rottweiler and Bulldog, that greeted the early explorers. The early Stone Age humans were called Gaunches; however their civilization did not survive the Spanish Conquistadors, who arrived in the fifteenth century. Today, the Canary Islands are a favorite holiday destination for Europe and Scandinavia because of their pleasantly warm year-round climate and first class tourist accommodations. We visited the island of Tenerife (te-ner-EE-fay), which is probably the most developed of these Spanish islands, located 70 miles off the coast of southern Morocco. Being Palm Sunday, Roman Catholic icons were carried through the streets of the Santa Cruz (photos), amidst the waving of full palm branches. Mt. Teide (pronounced like lady) was our destination for exploration (photos). We rode through miles of thick clouds, finally climbing above them to a sun-drenched moon-scape of chaotic lava rocks and multi-colored lava flows which defy belief. Our guide explained that the activity of this volcano earned its name, Teide, which is another word for Hell. It is obvious why this was the location chosen for filming “The Planet of the Apes”. Rising above gaping extinct calderas is the snow-dusted volcanic peak of Mt. Teide, whose height above sea level is 12,000 feet, even though her base stands 16,000 feet more below sea level on the ocean floor. The cable car to the very top was disappointedly closed to us due to high winds. High winds were the name of the game for the next few days, producing cyclonic 40 foot waves, which prevented our landing as planned in Madeira. Despite these defiant seas, the Captain skillfully maneuvered the sleek QE2 at full speed to reach Vigo, on the northern border of Portugal and Spain. Even Magellan had to admit it was a bit choppy!


Mt. Teide Tenerife Lave Flows Planet of the Apes SET !!
Santa Cruz Flora Welcome to Santa Cruz Tenerife