Tenerife: Masca and Punta de Teno (2/8)

Tenerife is a large island with a huge array of places to visit and things to see. Top of nearly every list though, is Masca -  a village nestled in a mountainous region. If you have a VR headset, you can explore Masca with Katie and me in our new style of 360 vlog.

Although Masca is delightful, the real sights to behold are on the drive to the village. There are countless miradors (viewpoints) and hairpin bends that get your blood pumping. The roads were pretty decent and I didn't understand all the internet rage about how scary they were. But maybe I just got lucky! Or maybe I am just used to narrow, winding roads now, after some of the crazy trips we've done in the last few years (Romania in particular springs to mind!)

That being said, I was in complete agreement with the internet about the views available on this drive. They are breathtaking.

It's an incredible feeling being in a car with a full tank of fuel and mountains to explore, with spectacular views being revealed around each corner.

Sometimes I forget that this isn't how the whole world lives. I forget how lucky I am to have engineered a lifestyle that means I am super accustomed to travelling regularly. But if you’re not careful, going on lots of holidays could easily become routine or even mundane… That's one reason why I love writing these blogs. It forces me to look at the world with fresh eyes and with the sense of wonder that a traveller ought to have. I also get to sit down and be grateful for everything that I have, and will experience.

I'm very grateful for Masca because this town and surrounding area was simply stunning and is a must see when you're exploring Tenerife in real life (or in VR!)

If you have a full day, then after seeing Masca, I recommend you drive to the western-most point of the island - Punta Teno.

You'll find a lighthouse along the beautiful, unspoilt coastline - home to a variety of trees and birds. The route to the lighthouse is closed on certain days so make sure you plan accordingly. I did not, but got lucky with my timings!

I don’t have too much else to say about this part of Tenerife so I'll leave you with photos and once again, a plug for our 360 VR experience.

Until next time.

Tenerife: Volcanoes and Teide National Park (1/8)

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and I was lucky enough to visit in January and do a driving tour around the island. What made me even luckier was that I did it alone, away from the old “trouble and strife”.

You probably know by now how much I value alone time and solo travelling. Of course, and it should go without saying, I love travelling with my favourite travel buddy Katie, but there's something extra freeing and tranquil about a solo trip.

I love waking up and having only my own needs and desires to think about. I can truly do what I feel like doing. It's ultimate self-expression.

Note: I was staying at my uncle's apartment and my parents were also visiting, so I wasn’t alone the whole time…

Anyway, during this trip to Tenerife, I was on a mission! A mission that my family, who wanted a relaxing holiday, were not after.

I'd had a fun, relaxing, family Christmas and now wanted an island adventure with me and my car. I planned on pushing the rental vehicle to its limits, while capturing 360 video of all the wonderful sights I would be exploring.

As I'm sure you know, we're releasing weekly videos for virtual reality headsets, and we're tying these blog posts in with our releases. For our readers this means you can get closer than ever to our travels by using a headset (or watching on a phone/desktop) - all from the comfort of your pyjamas.

The first video in this new series, and this corresponding blog post are about volcanoes and Teide National Park, the premium sight on Tenerife.

There are over 300 volcanoes on the island, some of which have erupted in living memory, so there's a lot of cool things to see in this national park. The highlight (and highest point) is Mount Teide itself, at 3718m high. Getting there involves a cable car, and you need a permit to reach the very peak.

I did NOT have the permit so had to weasel my way in using an "alternative" rock climbing method to escape the wrath of the guards. Nothing and no-one could stop this adventurous SOB.

At the top, there was a distinct smell of sulphur (and not from my packed lunch, which of course included boiled eggs!) as well as a phenomenal panoramic view.

I did a lot of walking and got out of breath a few times, but didn't succumb to any altitude sickness like others have in the past.

Down from the peak, you can find all types of interesting terrain in the national park. The minerals from volcanic eruptions have left the soil incredibly fertile and I saw forests, lush green areas, and a host of hardened lava.

Lava has two distinctive types: Pahoehoe and Aa - these are Hawaiian names, as the majority of volcano research has been done there. I learnt a lot about volcanoes at an amazing tourist spot called Cueva del Viento - the cave of the wind.

An amazing Dutch tour guide took us on a three-hour adventure into caves that were formed by lava. These long tubes were created during an eruption many years ago and now there is a cave complex that is over 21km long. It's a remarkable place to visit, made all the better by the well trained staff and informative museum / waiting area.

And that's about it for today. Please watch, like, subscribe to our 360 video series - available on YouTube and a host of other places.

I'll leave you with the series trailer and a load of other photos I took of my breath-taking first stop on Tenerife. Ciao for now.

Pahoehoe Lava Rocks


The poisonous spiders that ate the children in the 360 video.

Trujillo (Road Trip Day 7)

Welcome to Trujillo! This town is very close to C├íceres, which we told you about last week. If you're in the area, both towns can be seen in the same day and we highly recommend them, as does UNESCO.

Trujillo was the final stop on the road trip we did in December, which we've been writing about for the last few weeks, and it was the perfect way to end a fantastic holiday.

Much like C├íceres, Trujillo's wealth historically came from the conquistadors who first went to the Americas and brought back riches. The main town square has a beautiful church and a statue of one of the conquistadors on horseback. 

With its rich history, walking around this town is like a trip back in time. There are lots of old churches, surrounded by old cobbled streets and views of the surrounding fields and hills. There's a lot to see and explore in the town and we really enjoyed our time there. If you'd like to explore it with us, check out our 360 video and join us as we wander the streets!

The main attraction in Trujillo is the castle, Alcazaba, which is situated at the highest point in the town. It was built by the Moors between the ninth and twelfth century, and the striking structure is the first thing you see when driving into the town.

This Moorish stone fortress has eight towers and a horseshoe arch. It's a beautiful castle and although we didn't pay to go inside, we really enjoyed wandering round the outside and taking in the views.

As we've mentioned in previous posts, once again none of the Christmas lights were turned on! Electricity is expensive in Spain, but why have them if you're not going to turn them on? By this point it was 9th December, so what were they waiting for?

Lights or not, as the sun began to set at the end of another wonderful day of exploring, we contemplated our time on the road with James and Emily. We had a fantastic time visiting Toledo, Salamanca and B├ęjar. The historical towns of C├íceres and Trujillo exceeded our expectations. And of course, there was the craziness of Los Escobazos. This festival will stay with us for a long time, especially since the smell of smoke won't wash out of our clothes!

You can watch our 360 videos about all of these places and more on YouTube, Facebook, SamsungVR, Littlstar and VeeR.

And that brings us to the end of this trip. Thank you James and Emily for being brilliant travel companions, we had a wonderful time and we hope you did too!

The central plaza was pretty big and housed most of the (unilluminated) decorations!

Including this nativity scene that, to be fair, was more accurate without electric lighting!

Jamily leading the way as usual!

From the castle you could see more ruins below in the fields

Let's play "Spot the Posers"!

Can you see Emily?

James is a bit less subtle!