So today we had another go at El Teide, the volcano that dominates the island of Tenerife. Going the “direct” way from Puerto de la Cruz takes you rapidly to altitude via a seemingly endless series of hairpin bends. This requires a great deal of concentration and progress depends mainly on the progress of vehicles ahead of you; I’ve already given my opinion about the drivers over here.
Eventually you arrive at El Portillo but instead of a former Tory Minister with an eccentric taste in jackets, this is the information centre for the national park. We carried on to the far end of the caldera where the much visited weird rock formations are found,
but we turned off the road into the Parador where you can get a cup of coffee and enjoy a good view of the summit of Teide.
From there we drove back to around the high point of the road at around 2400 metres; all around are huge larva flows from previous eruptions now frozen in time. This picture clearly shows where the lava slurped down the slope
and this one shows a larva flow now surrounded by desolate landscape with the mountains at the edge of the caldera behind.
In other places the ground has weathered into almost desert like areas.
There’s not much vegetation up here, specially at this time of year, but the caldera does have about 125 indigenous plant species; despite carefully looking among all the dead and dormant plants I did manage to find this colourful specimen.
It’s a really impressive place and deserves it’s popularity but probably best avoided at weekends. To get back we took the alternative route down the valley to Esperanza which was excellent giving tremendous views and a much easier drive.
When we got back to the hotel we went out for a stroll in the late afternoon and found that they had turned on the fountain in the lido opposite the hotel, for a moment I thought that I was in Geneva.
The best bit was a crowd of noisy youngsters who swam out to the bottom of the fountain to take “selfies” and got whistled at loudly by the lifeguards only to swim off in the opposite direction and scatter. Ah, the joys of youth.
17 March 2016