It’s a bitter sweet feeling when you are saying goodbye to a place you’ve called “home”, to people you’ve made friends with, and to an experience that blessed you with countless memories. For me, I have never really viewed goodbyes as a permanent thing… especially nowadays with technology and social media. I always find it funny when you haven’t seen someone in a while but because of Facebook they pretty much have a gist of what is going on in your life. It’s incredibly easy to stay connected and in touch with people (if you choose to do it). We are all faced with saying goodbye at some point in our lives… its just part of the human experience. I tend to get this weird feeling and not really know what to say or how to act so I end up being a goober and internally over analyzing if the goodbye was proper enough. Leave it to me to over think how to properly say goodbye!
ANYwho… my two months on the island of Tenerife were filled with adventure, relaxation, laughs, friendships, love, and reflection. Being away from home (the USA) and in a foreign country where you don’t yet speak the language has been quite the humbling experience. At times it’s thrilling. Other times confusing. Sometimes lonely. But most of the time AMAZING!
Read on for highlights and photos of my 9th and final week on the beautiful island of Tenerife!
Day 84 – July 10 (58) – Thursday (one of those days there is not much to write about…)
Expenses – 8
Worked in the morning. Met Juan in Santa Cruz. Walked around. Went to his house to eat lunch. Went to La Laguna for some dinner and walked around a bit. Came back to the hostel and hung out with guests and staff in the living room chatting.
Day 86 – July 11 (59) – Friday
Expenses – 0
Worked in the morning. Laid by the pool for a while (because obviously i’m not tan enough already). Went shopping with Matti for the BBQ we were having at the hostel later that evening. The backyard of the hostel is pretty awesome…. there is a pool, BBQ area, and a patio area for hanging out. It was a “going away” party of sorts but more like just another reason to eat, drink, and be merry (not like you need a reason buuuuuut!). The food was delish and of course people ended up getting thrown in the pool – wouldn’t be a legit party unless someone gets thrown in the pool!
Day 87 – July 12 (60) – Saturday
Expenses – 3 Euro (coffe and ice cream)
Yeaaaa we have access to a car! One of the owners is out of town so we were able to use his car to go exploring. I went to Garachico, Icod de los vinos, el drago, and La Orotava with Amanda (she was visiting one of my co-volunteers from Brazil). We explored a bit and walked around the towns. I had my first experience driving on the crazy streets of Tenerife! It had been almost five years since I last drove a manual car… mix that with hilly streets and crazy drivers and I was having some legit car anxiety. All in all it ended up not being so bad – it was nice to drive a car after almost 3 months! We came back to the hostel then later at night I went with some hostel guests to La Barranquera for a music festival. We were most likely (ok VERY likely) to be the only non-locals at this shindig. Once the band started playing everyone became wall flowers…. aside from this crazy old man who stripped off his shirt and started enthusiastically (and with little coordination) dancing about! I really wanted to take a video but luckily I didn’t – the old man saw someone recording him and went up and yelled at them. Oppppsie! His dance moves were just ridiculous… I admire his zest and confidence. He gave absolutely no shits about what anyone was thinking haha!
Day 88 – July 13 (61) – Sunday
Expenses – 10 (food and drinks at Romeria)
Worked in the morning. ANOTHER Romeria yeeeeeeeeea! I arrived to a Romeria so it only seems fitting that I leave to a Romeria. These festivals are awesome! A Romeria is: A Romería in Spanish or “Romaria” in Portuguese is a religious pilgrimage. The word “Romería”/”Romaria” comes from “romero”/”romeiro”, meaning those travelling towards Rome. It is a Catholic celebration that consists of a trip or peregrination (in cars, floats, on horseback or on foot) that ends at a sanctuary or hermitage. It is not necessarily always a trip, but in some cases a celebration that lasts all day long. <— compliments of Wikipedia.
We got to La Laguna a bit late so we missed most of the carts but we had a blast nonetheless! The town was packed and full of energy. After taking a mini-break to find some food we went over to the stage to dance dance dance to some live music. I was with a bunch of people from the hostel so it was a blast – people from Spain, Brazil, Italy, and Holland! Once back at the hostel a group of people were watching the World Cup so I “watched” as well…. it was a passive form of watching 😉 .
Day 89 – July 14 (62) – Monday
Last day of work in the morning! Yea to no more cleaning! Honestly the work was very easy but I can definitely do without having to clean a bathroom or change a bed for a WHILE. It was definitely worth it to earn free accommodation and food though! I went to Santa Cruz to meet Juan. I was tired and cranky and didn’t feel like doing much (I rarely get in super bad moods so when I do I literally don’t even know how to deal with myself. Being happy is so much better!). I grabbed a bite to eat then we met his friend for ice cream. We walked around a bit then took the bus back to his house. With the hostel being so busy the past week I wasn’t getting much sleep… add in a roommate who doesn’t understand the concept of being quiet and was waking me up at odd and random hours of the night — I was straight up TIRED. We made philly cheese steaks for his family then relaxed…and I was finally able to get some sleep – but not before seeing the gorgeous moon shining over the ocean out of his kitchen window!
Day 90 – July 15 (63) – Tuesday
Expenses – 8 Euro (food & bus)
Woke up at Juan’s early and caught the bus to Las Teresitas when he left for work (the white sand beach made with sand from the Western Sahara). I did one of my most favorite lazy activities… laying on the beach! I’m super good at it so I feel like I should keep at it right 😉 ? Amanda and Mimi (hostel guests) came to meet me and I went and got Juan at work so we could go exploring. We stopped in Las Andreas (the village near Las Teresitas) to eat churros (fish) and papa (potatoes) at a small local place. Next it was time to head to a beach near Puerto de La Cruz – we had to walk 15 minutes down a street, through high concrete walls between fields, then down a cliff to get there (obviously something you would never find in a guidebook – it’s awesome to have local insider knowledge (thanks Juan!). I got my first jelly fish sting on my ankle – wasn’t too bad but was definitely a deterrent to continue swimming. Next we headed to a the guichinche near La Orotava to watch the sunset and eat dinner. To end the night we drove to Santa Cruz and went to a lookout point to see the city lights.
Day 91 – July 16 (64) – Wednesday
Expenses – 13 (coffee and food)
Amanda (the Brazilian guest) and I started the day in search of a Barraquito (specialty Canarian coffee drink) so we went to La Laguna to walk around and grab a coffee. We picked up Juan at work and couldn’t really figure out what we wanted to do. It was my last full day in town but I didn’t really have any “MUST DO” items on my list. Two months ago I didn’t even know Tenerife existed!!! Now here I was after two months of adventures feeling blessed to have even made it to the island. We all had different ideas of what to do which just led to confusion… and frustration…which led to a BLAHness of sorts. It was just weird – then awkward silence mostly between Juan and I – NOT how I imagined spending my last day but sometimes shit just happens. Refer to my prior statement of not knowing how to deal with myself in a bad mood – let alone handling someone else’s crappy mood. We eventually drove south to a town where the lava formation had formed a geyser of sorts and explored a bit of the coast. Amanda and I wanted to relax on a beach somewhere so we picked up some food at the market and found a place on the beach to chow down and enjoy the sun.
A note about the sandwich I made… in America I would do my best to stick to veggies, fruits, and healthy meals 80% of the time. I stayed away from breads, milk, and loads of meat because they made my stomach angry. WELLLLLLL the Canarian diet is pretty much based on things I don’t eat but I just went with it. I’ve eaten more bread in ONE day in Tenerife than I had in 1 month in the USA! This beach sandwich consisted of this dried meat stuff, cheese, alioli sauce, olives, and a few potato chips. WTF?? I’m scared of what I will create when the day comes that I am pregnant! I eat the strangest combos of food now and LOVE IT! haha!
After our picnic and swim there was still some tension in the air as to what to do next. AHHH I don’t even want to write more details but I was just NOT having it. Luckily Amanda suggested going to Teide to watch the sunset and the mood lightened. We made our way to the lookout point and the view was just incredible! The clouds below looked like a white, rolling sea. It was gorgeous – I took a few moments to myself to just soak it in and get myself back to feeling calm and happy :-).
The time had come for us to drop Juan off so he and I said our goodbyes and Amanda and I headed back to the hostel. Karen (my co-volunteer from Brazil_ came around midnight to pick Amanda and I up and take us to Alejandro’s parents house for a BBQ. I ate some delicious food, drank wine, tried this homemade liquor, played Foosball, and listened to some of the people playing music. It was a great way to end the day… and end my stay on Tenerife! However I didn’t get home til 3:30 and of course got woken up by my roommate at 7:30! OH wells – hopefully I will sleep in Madrid!
Day 92 – July 17 (65) – Thursday
Expenses – 13 Euro (bus and computer fee)
Time to leave! I was feeling quite out of it given I got about 4 hours of sleep. I spent my morning packing, cleaning up, and saying my goodbyes before heading to the airport via an hourish+ bus ride. Once at the airport shit hit the fan haha. I’ll write about my day of silly travel mistakes in another post – Sometimes you just have to live and learn…. the hard way!