Friday, July 27, 2012

Tenerife with all 5 senses

This week has been incredibly hot in Maastricht so by now I am totally in the mood for summer holidays. Luckily enough I just have to wait for three weeks before flying to my belove home island, Tenerife, and I am really looking forward to it. I can't wait to land there and spend some time with my family and friends, as well as enjoying some shopping, some time on the beach and why not, some sightseeing in my favourite places. In the following three weeks I'll be counting the days down and making plans about all the wonderful things I want to do there. I have also been thinking about the things which make Tenerife so special and I came up with such a list that I would not even know where to start. So, I decided to do something challenging and reduce the list to five experiences, one for each sense. Enjoy!

  • SIGHT: Tenerife is home to El teide, the highest mountain in Spain. El Teide is a 3718 m high volcano which can be seen from most points of the island on a sunny day. It is much higher than all the mountains surrounding so it looks majestic with its caracteristic form as you ride towards it. El Teide and its surroundings are part of the national park Las Cañadas del Teide, an amazingly beautiful park with pine forest and volcanic plains covered by sand and stones of hundred colours. I love riding to the north of the island and suddenly getting a glimpse of El Teide, especially if it is winter and it is covered with snow.
  • TOUCH: Tenerife lies in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and while it enjoys a mild weather the whole year, bathing in the sea can be a breathtaking experience as water is much colder than one might expect. The north of the island has some beaches which are usually tourist-free, they have black sand or pebbles and water can be incredibly cold. And even though I don't go to the beach very often and it takes me a while to get into the water, I really enjoy the feeling of swimming in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, even if it just once in a while!
  • TASTE: I absolutely love most of typical food of the Canary Islands and now that I am living far away I miss it from time to time, specially these sauces called mojo which go with absolutely everything: fish, meat, bread, cheese and specially potatoes. Papas arrugadas con mojo is probably the most typical dish of the Canary Islands, really simple but very tasty. Potatoes are cooked with lots of salt and then enjoyed with mojo verde, a green sauce made of coriander, garlic and olive oil, or mojo picón, an spicier red sauce made of paprika and oil. Both of them are delicious when home-made!
  • HEARING: Spanish spoken in Tenerife (and in the Canary Islands in general) can be quite different from the standard Spanish taught at schools. We speak slower, pronounce hard sounds, such as the c and z, softer and use a wide arrange of different words which might be unintelligible for Spanish-speakers from outside the island and sometimes even for me, as my family comes from the mainland and I did not have the chance to adquire such vocabulary at home. All these features together make the Spanish spoken in Tenerife something distinctive and usually highly appreciated by other Spanish-speakers.
  • SMELL: This is probably the most difficult sense to describe. However, there's one typical smell which will not be found outside the Canary Islands and which I particularly like, the smell of gofio. Gofio is a flour made of roasted cereals which has been produced in the Canary Islands for centuries and which can eaten with milk for breakfast, with soups or mixed with stock, vegetables and meat, of with honey, raisins and nuts. Whichever way you eat gofio, it is delicious and a very healthy food! And even though the number of mills producing gofio has declined in the last years, I still enjoy passing by some hidden mill and smelling the sweet, powdery smell of gofio which has just been roasted and grinded.

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