Tenerife: Santa Cruz (4/8)

My Tenerife adventure continues with this short post about the capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz. It's also the joint capital of the Canary Islands. I was unaware joint capitals were even a thing until I researched Santa Cruz.

This city is home to 500k people and has a mix of culture that is not entirely Spanish or African. It's Canarian, loosely described as mostly Spanish with some Guanches influence. The Guanches are the first known human inhabitants of the Canary Islands, around 1000 years ago.

The issue with busy itineraries like the one I was adhering to in Tenerife, is the lack of time to observe and absorb the culture. I only had a week and change on the island and was more focused on capturing 360 video than exploring local customs. Some might think of this as a shame, but I love filming!

I love the process of exploring and finding the shots that I want to share. I love editing the clips together and then taking Katie on a virtual adventure, as we narrate the videos for others to enjoy. I also know that this will paint a picture of Tenerife that my future self will appreciate as well! Hopefully others appreciate what we're trying to do with our 360 vlogs as well!

That's not to say I wouldn’t have loved to learn more about the culture. But as we say, always leave something undone so you have a reason to return. And in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger… I'll be back.

The shopping and museums in Santa Cruz are a big reason tourists and islanders visit the capital. Neither enticed me there. I was going to see the architecture, principally the "Auditorio de Tenerife". This beautiful structure was built by Santiago Calatrava, the same man responsible for the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, as well as the Oculus World Trade Center in New York.

As you can see, this building is a work of art. It was simply incredible to walk around the auditorium and see the paintings on the rocks nearby of famous and mostly dead musicians. A stark reminder that even the greatest humans can't escape the ultimate fate.

The city didn't do too much for me but it was very much a flying visit. As I said earlier, I hope to return with my partner in crime and eat all the local delicacies. I barely ate out at all, favouring pack lunches. Part of the reason is cost, but also not having the excited and knowledgeable Katie whispering the culinary delights we have to try meant I missed out on the food. I'LL BE BACK.

Next week I'll tell you about a seaside town that impressed me with rock pools and grand plazas. For now, go watch our 360 video on Santa Cruz. We'll see you next week!


Tenerife: La Orotava (3/8)

I'm continuing my tales from Tenerife with a little bit about the town of La Orotava.

I remember getting back to my Uncle’s place after a long day of exploring and waxing lyrical about this town. There was something distinctive and prestigious about the feel of this town that seemed to permeate my time there.

Perhaps it was something to do with the history of writers and artists that have set up shop in La Orotava to create and explore their art in this island haven.

Perhaps it was the clash of this cultural epicentre with Tenerife’s extreme natural beauty.

Perhaps I just happened to be in a good mood due to a good night's sleep or having some food drugged by a friendly spiker…

Perhaps the town just emanates prestige… Who knows?

The big sights in this small town are the church, the main square, and some historic buildings. They were all beautiful in their own right and it was a welcome change to see some man-made beauty after already exploring Teide National Park and the mountainous region around Masca.

The architecture was fantastic to marvel at, especially against the backdrop of the non-man-made, natural beauty of Tenerife! I especially enjoyed my encounters with Dragon trees, which are huge and plentiful in this town.

If you’re close by, I’d take a few hours to check La Orotava out and explore the quaint streets.

As night fell on this town, I realised I was several hours from where I was staying and already worn out from a day of exploring. It was one of those realisations that makes you wonder why you ever leave your house… Or why they haven’t got round to inventing teleportation yet?

I kept myself awake by listening to obscene podcasts with fresh air blowing in my face while concentrating on the curvy mountain roads that made this such a driving challenge. It was a tough slog and I took refuge in the wise words of the many motivational speakers that I listen to on YouTube. This encouragement got me through, despite arriving back in a manic and unintelligible state.

Perhaps it was this mental state that had me singing La Orotava’s praises from the hilltops. The joy of being alive had transferred to the joy of seeing La Orotava.

Well that makes a bit more sense…

So enjoy the photos of the town and don’t forget to watch our 360 VR experience as well, to fully immerse yourself in this town. Ciao for now!