L1602 – Here be dragons

After sailing overnight from Madeira, we approached Santa Cruz de Tenerife around 11am in the morning. Although the seas had continued to be calm, the pilot boat found it a little lively as it delivered the necessary pilot to our ship before we could dock:

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Once we were inside the harbour wall, Balmoral expertly rotated itself through 180 degrees on the spot, before reversing carefully up against the dock wall, with just feet to spare at the stern. I never cease to be amazed how well and apparently easily modern ships can manoeuvre themselves without the need for tugs using their bow and stern thrusters:

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In Tenerife, as I will in pretty much all the remaining ports on this cruise, I went ashore on an official shore tour organised by Fred. Olsen. Perhaps I will go into the reasons why in a separate post on a quiet day at sea. Today’s tour was called “Garachico Village & Puerto De La Cruz”, and after a coach ride across the island, our first stop was the pretty village of Garachico, where we took a walk around the centre of the village:

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Our local guide was very good, full of interesting facts and information, and always ready to answer any questions we might have. Once back on our coach, the driver did a great job taking up a steep narrow road, which zigzagged it’s way up the steep hillside, as you can see in this snap taken through the coach window:

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At the top we stopped at a cafe/shop for a comfort break. On the roof of the cafe/shop was a viewing area, which gave great views all the way down to the village we had just left:

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However I was not to sure how stable the cliffs were, given what had happened right next to the cafe/shop. Perhaps not the place to linger too long:

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Another drive in the coach took us to another old village called Icod de Los Vinos, where once again our local guide took us for a walk though the village. As well as showing us a restored villa from the early 19th century, we were shown a variety of trees, including banana, orange, coffee, and a massive dragon tree which is reputed to be more than one thousand years old:

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Next the coach took us to our final stop, the popular holiday resort of Puerto de la Cruz. This busy modern resort came as quite a shock to the senses, and the 25 minutes free time we had there seemed pretty pointless and not to fit in with the rest of the tour which had concentrated on quaint villages and their history & nature. All I could find that was worth photographing was the seafront and the breaking waves:

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Once back on the coach we were driven back to our waiting ship.

All in all it was an interesting tour with a good guide who introduced us to a different side of the island to its modern resort reputation, but let down by the last stop which reverted to type.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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