Anyone would think, looking at this week old photograph taken from our hotel room balcony, that we'd been to Scotland or maybe the Alps. But no, this is actually Mount Teide on Tenerife which, at 12,198ft, is Spain's highest mountain.
|Mount Teide (Click to enlarge pictures)|
Such was the amount of snow on its slopes that the main approach road from Puerto de la Cruz had barriers across, blocking access to both public and private transport.
|Descending through the forest near the end of our walk|
Consequently, the highest point we managed to reach was 4,265ft on a boring circuit through the forest from La Caldera. It was good exercise, climbing what seemed like a thousand steep, log steps but towering trees ensured there were no views throughout the whole of the walk. Neither was there any birdsong, or flowers, or any movement indicating life. I was glad to say goodbye to it.
|I call these tassel trees...|
Not being much of a botanist, or interested in trees, a walk round the Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz wasn't all that thrilling either.
There were some rather nice orchids, the usual bird of paradise flowers and other strange blooms we couldn't begin to christen.
|Orchid...dunno what sort|
|One of the strange blooms|
What disappointed me though was the absence of terrapins in the lily pond. There'd been quite a number of them on our last visit and I was looking forward to saying hello to them again. But such was the state of the scummy water I guess it was no longer habitable for them. I was tempted to ask for a refund on our way out!
However, only feet away from the swimming pool at our hotel was a wee pond with running water where a close inspection revealed a pair of rather large healthy looking terrapins that seemed intent on increasing the population. I hope they succeed.
|Be Live, adults only, hotel - Puerto de la Cruz|
Our hotel was rather plush and we were lucky enough to be given a quiet room away from traffic and other noises, and with a balcony that looked directly towards Mount Teide. We had wonderful views in the morning but cloud always descended after lunch.
|Meanwhile, across the road - on our running track.|
But across the road, only a two minute jog away, was a running track. Not a posh six lane tartan job but 400m of level gravel that was perfectly adequate for a few early morning repetitions. Lots of runners took advantage of it, some of them very impressive, and one in particular Mo Farah might have had difficulty matching strides with.
|Running the sea wall, dodging the waves|
We ran every morning bar one, and always before breakfast.
It didn't take long to devise a 3 mile route that circuited the town and incorporated an exciting run along the sea wall.
Waves were crashing over to flood and cause havoc to the car parking area on the other side.
|Our 3 mile anti-clockwise route round Puerto de la Cruz|
|Those great blocks were once the sea wall|
|Wave after wave (Click to play)|
We were shouted at to get down before we were washed down but hey, we were on holiday and feeling good, dodging the waves, marvelling at dawn skies and revelling in the excitement.
|Dawn surfer riding the waves|
Red flags were flying on the beaches to warn people against entering the water. It didn't stop one lady from swimming topless, or three surfers having the time of their lives.
|What we do when we aren't running|
The weather was good insomuch as it didn't rain and was always warm enough for shorts and T-shirts - other than when we climbed to over 4,000ft on the forest walk.
|Cooling off and putting some nice fluid back into the system|
The sea was always rough and never settled down the whole time we were there.
|A wild seascape|
There was a constant roar and loud crashing noises as powerful waves smashed against the rocks and rattled down the pebble shore.
|On board at breaking dawn|
Time passed all too quickly - as it does on holiday. We boarded our plane for the homeward flight just as dawn was breaking, the very time we'd been setting out each morning to dodge the waves on wonderful morning runs.
I've a feeling we'll be back.