Today was the day my wife Silke and I tried to climb the top of the Teide. Doing that was one of the main reasons that my wife wanted to visit Tenerife in the first place. After driving for about one and a half hours through the mountains on a road with a lot of the usual serpentines we arrived at the base station of the cablecar going up to the top of the Teide. We queued for about 45 minutes to get tickets and to get in the gondola.
On the way up my problems started: I got struck by Altitude Sickness (combined with a bit of vertigo). Both my feet and hands went numb and started suffering from pins and needles and I felt dizzy. With some effort and loving help from my wife I managed to stay on my feet until we reached the top station. We went outside and I sat down on a bench. After a few minutes the symptoms eased and I suggested that we try to climb up the 163m to the peak.
The path leading to the peak however was narrow and steep and I was still struggling to adapt to the altitude. We made it up about one third of the way before I had to give up. Because my wife dealt with the conditions much better I asked her to go on. Thanks to her determination she made it all the way up to the peak and took some great pictures. This one shows the crater of the original volcano Las Cañadas. The Teide rises on the north side of this crater:
It took Silke almost two hours to get to the peak, take a rest and climb down again. After she came back we returned via cable car and the ever present serpentines to the hotel where we enjoyed a well deserved victory feast. Being able to breathe easy again was an additional bonus.
Yesterday we set off to Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife. We had to visit the administration of the Parque Nacional del Teide to get permits for climbing to the top of the Teide. Our original plan was to visit the Teide today but the administration told us that it is full which probably meant that they had granted the maximum number of permits for that day. Fortunately we got permits for Friday instead. After having lunch we left Santa Cruz because it is not a very appealing city unless you want to go shopping.
We decided to take a detour on the way back and have a look at the primeval forest in the mountains. After driving up serpentines for an hour we reached an observation point in the forrest and parked the car. Our original plan was to walt through the forrest for an hour. But because there was no path we had enough after climbing between the trees for half an hour.
The view from the mountains was impressive but the hazy weather prevented us from seeing the neighbouring islands.
After spending most of Sunday relaxing and talking a walk at the nearby coastline we went on our first excursion of Tenerife yesterday. We decided to visit Icod de los Vinos to see the famous Dragon Tree. We followed a road which took us along the south coast for a while and winded through the montains in numerous serpentines towards the north coast later. We really appreciated both the air conditioning and the power steering of our rental car during the journey. After two hours we finally arrived in Ico de los Vinos and got a first glance a the marvelous tree from the forcecourt of the church. We decided to buy tickets for the Parco del Drago and have a closer look. The park is full with beautiful plants, displays of the original inhabitans of Tenerife and little lizards. And finally we got a perfect view on the Dragon Tree:
It’s a really impressive tree especially if you stand underneath its crown.
We took a different route for the way back: first east towards Puerto de la Cruz, then south to the east coast and finallly west along the coast back to La Caleta. Although it was the longer route it took less time because we good use a dual carriageway most of the way. When we refueld our rental car we were positively surprised about the fuel prices: 0.62€ per litre Diesel. It seems to have been an eternity ago that one could buy fuel for such a price anywhere in Europe.