Sunday, March 20, 2011

One of a Kind Place

     The sun has finally shone though the unusually dark winter clouds.

     For us, Tenerife locals, a cloudy sky is not a sight we are accustomed to.  The tourism propaganda about the Canary Islands promises 350 days of sunny holidays every year.  The rest is just unpredictable.  And this week, it has been just that... unpredictable.  The temperatures have surprisingly dropped to 0 degrees centigrade in parts of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.  The rest of the seven islands are suffering similar temperatures. A powerful storm has left El Teide national park beautifully dressed in snow.  The color white has completely covered the green authocthonous pine trees above the mountains.  And even in Adeje, a town located in the south of Tenerife where it is always warm and sunny, the residents are in awe this past two days when they look up to the tallest volcano in Spain, El Teide, to see it all covered in white as if God himself had sprinkled powder sugar to decorate the top of a cake.

    Shorts and tank tops are no longer needed for now.  Instead, residents are seeking refuge from the gelid cold with coats, boots and in some cases scarves.  I, myself, had to dust off my heavy coat hidden way back in my closet.  For tourists, however, accustomed to the record breaking, freezing winter European temperatures, this is just a slightly cooler day in paradise.  Strolling down the promenade, the chilly ocean breeze represents an interlude from the high temperatures of a few days ago.  And as the vacationists walk undisturbed through the rain, a rare present from Mother Nature to Tenerife’s arid landscape, the rest of the locals hide drinking hot chocolate and "churros" in bars.  Meanwhile, everywhere you go, the topic of conversation is how abnormally cold the weather is here. If you are lucky enough to speak Spanish, the expression that you most listen to nowadays is "Brrrr! I am freezing cold today!"
     Luckily for us, it doesn’t last long.  Whereas, towns located at the north of the island of Tenerife: La Orotava, Tacoronte, La Victoria... are slowly recovering from the icy weather, clearing and cleaning up roads for regular use, the south is back to business.  Winter here, survived only a couple of days.

     Hungry tourists, in search of the first sunny rays, once more populate yesterday’s desolated beaches.  And as a Spanish saying goes: "After the storm, one can always expect the calm weather".

      The Canary Islands is one of the few places on earth where lucky visitors enjoy the pleasures of the sunny beaches of Spain while taking in a beautiful winter scene without any frostbite.  Look up to the mountains while bathing in the middle of the Atlantic and then, you realize that it is only here, where summer and winter are close friends.

     Here are several spectacular views of Tenerife taken by me.  To me the scenes are breath taking, and just by looking at them I feel better.  I hope they cause the same wonderful feeling in you too.


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