Normally we associate a holiday with rest and relaxation at the beach or pool but Tenerife has much more to offer.
My friend Mary had the fantastic idea of going to see a romantic sunset from one of the most unique places on the planet: Teide, the highest peak in Spain and the 3rd highest volcano in the world from its base in the sea.
Equally romantic without a partner we thought, and decided to book the Volcano Life Experience offer. Being a tour we would do once in lifetime, so we chose the deluxe version: Sunset with champagne, followed by dinner and a Canary Islands dinner and grand finale, stargazing in the middle of the Atlantic…
Stars … The last time we discussed this subject quite deeply was probably at school; but that was long ago and since then we have been more concerned with our own little universe.
Every Friday you can enjoy this tour; either with a pickup in holiday resorts or by going in your own car. We wanted to be adventurous and went on our own in a rental car to island’s the summit (from the north, it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes).
Very important to mention that the Teide’s altitude is 3,718 metres, and the temperature at the summit is much lower than in the tourist areas. For this reason, tropical plants and palm trees grow near the coast and in the higher ground even snow falls in winter. This diversity in such a small space is unique in the world.
So take warm clothes, including gloves and a hat, and suitable footwear. However, the organization provides polar fleeces for the clueless.
After a warm welcome, we formed groups according to language: German, English and Spanish. Nervous and excited, we boarded the cable car! When we stepped outside, we immediately noticed the sudden drop in temperature. Good job some friendly waiters greeted us with champagne and hot chocolate. Getting used to the cold and with our hand warmer, we finally took in the panoramic view and we felt like we were running out of air, but not from the cold … no, it was the wonderful views: a sea of clouds below us, which gradually began to change colour to yellow and orange tones.
We walked with our group towards the sun to fully enjoy the spectacle. Some companions started to feel the altitude: faster heartbeat, deeper breathing and slower walking pace; the height didn’t affect me, only a strange smell. “Sulphur,” the guide said, “Don’t forget that the Teide is an active volcano.” When we reached the crater, everyone found a place, couples huddled together and took a few “selfies” to capture the moment forever. The views reminded me of my arrival on the island when the plane was flying towards the sunset, the colourful sky and the sea of clouds below. The difference was that we were standing there at the peak, with a silence that filled us with peace.
Gradually we had to turn back, fleeing from the night as there were no artificial lights, and now the sun had set, it was getting colder.
As we travelled back down by cable car, the moon and the stars began to shine timidly in the night sky. A show of natural colours, with no filters or retouching.
When we reached the station, a cocktail style dinner was already waiting for us: pellets of gofio, wrinkled potatoes with mojo sauce, skewers of meat and fish, goat’s cheese, pumpkin cakes and banana fritters to name just a few of the Canary delicacies accompanied by local wines, beer and soft drinks. A tasty dinner presented in small bites to try a little of everything. While the culinary delights seduced us, total darkness fell and looking into the sky felt like you were up there touching the stars.
After dinner we went to watch the natural spectacle. We could even see the Milky Way with the naked eye, since this is one of the clearest skies in the world. Looking through professional telescopes … Wow! The Moon!! We could see clearly its surface, and suddenly we felt very small and back came those teenage questions about who we are and where we really come from.
There under the sky, with the stars so close, immersed in the universe, our guide was showing us the entire constellation: “Over there the pole star, back there the stars shining just for us, because in reality, they do not exist, all we can see is their light.” Tremendous!
And shooting stars? “What a pity, you’ve just missed a big one. But did you know that they are not so romantic? Most are space junk.” Beautiful and magical rubbish, I thought. A lot of questions on our minds, many impressions and new experiences … We actually were looking for a simple relaxing holiday in Tenerife, and now again we face the existential question.
An excursion 100% recommended, not only for couples who want to see a romantic sunset but also for those curious children from 8 years and adults, who want to experience something different on holiday. Volcano Life Experience is a mixture of romance, science and gastronomy in one of the most majestic places in the world, Mount Teide.