*WARNING* This blog contains a rant.
Today we decided to have a drive round the northwest of the island. SatNav makes this sort of thing very easy and has the benefit of a rolling map that gives you a heads up of the road ahead.
From Puerto de la Cruz we headed west to try to reach the westernmost point of the island on not bad roads; foolishly we turned of at Buenavista hoping for a coffee at the Social Club but instead found a bicycle race about to start. By diving down side streets we managed to miss this and continued on to Punta de Teno, which is the westernmost point, along possibly the worst road I have ever driven on; some of the potholes were so deep that I’m sure I could see !molten magma at the bottom – remember that the Canary Islands are volcanic. At the end of the road there’s a lighthouse, and nothing much else.
Forced to return the same way we renegotiated the potholes and the headed up towards El Teide, the dormant volcano that dominates the island. After lots of strange cacti in the northwest
the road now went up in seemingly endless hairpin bends through agricultural areas and then dramatic uplands
with the occasional village clinging to the hillside.
Eventually we climbed up through pine forest and old lava fields until we got our first dramatic view of Teide itself.
Also at this point I spotted some yellow cushion plants that I had last seen in the Atlas Mountains.
From here our good day changed, we drove on through the old caldera below Teide through spectacular rock formations and dramatic scenery but, for me at least, it was spoilt by other peoples’ driving. Every Canadian and his kids was out today and they are absolutely shocking drivers. I know that some of the roads are narrow, I know there are sometimes drop offs at the side and I know there are lots of hairpin bends; but if all that scares you, stay at home. Don’t suddenly stop halfway round a bend because there’s another vehicle coming the other way; don’t park on the side of the road with half your vehicle sticking out into the road and, if you’ve got a big fat arse, don’t sit on the edge of the road so that everyone else has to drive round it. And if I stop to let a bus come up a steep narrow section don’t try to come past me the suddenly panic because there’s a bus coming towards you. And if you’re on a motorbike don’t try overtaking a line of traffic going into a blind hairpin bend, you’re likely to get hurt. Honestly, I kid you not, they’re HOPELESS.
Anyway we plan to visit Teide again, hopefully on not such a busy day, when I hope to post more favourably and include some pictures as well.
Now I’m off for a pint, it’s Happy Hour at our hotel; buy one get one free!
13 March 2016