Our last day on Tenerife began pleasantly: we enjoyed the breakfast buffet, calmly packed our belongings and checked out in time. As we had a few hours left before we had to get to the airport we drove to El Medano, a small city on the south coast. After a walk along the beach and through the city center we had lunch in a nice cafe and wrote some postcards.
We arrived at the airport in good time and returned our rental car without problems. But when we checked the departure information display we found out that our flight would be delayed for more than an hour. After an extra long waiting time we could finally board the airplane and learned that unscheduled maintenance at London Luton Airport had caused the delay.
The flight felt less pleasant than the flight to Tenerife. There were more people than on the outward journey and therefore more noise and less space. As I didn’t like the movie and finished my book after about two hours I was bored during the second half of the flight. And by the time we finally landed in London Luton Airport arround 1:00 am I was also exhausted.
The next unpleasant surprise awaited us at the car park: our car had a flat tyre. Despite our fatigue and the freezing temperatures we managed to change the tyre although neither of us had done such a thing before. We arrived in Cambridge arround 3:30am and were very happy to finally get some sleep.
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.