“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde
Ruth and I slowly made our way back to South Florida on our fifteen day, reposition cruise from Rome. Our last stop before facing seven, consecutive days at sea would be Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands.At first glance, the razor like display of volcanic rocks overlooking this city seemed a most impregnable barrier for touristic exploration. Ancient legend had even claimed that we might even be witnessing the lost islands of Atlantis. Sensing the potential for a true adventure to overcome cabin fever on our ship, nonetheless , we set out on Saturday morning by local bus on a tour known as “Canadas del Teide Panorama” to cross these mysterious mountains. Our intended destination, Porto De La Cruz, on the far side of the island would allow us to escape the cruise ship madness and witness firsthand the unique, natural amenities of the Canary Islands.
The arduous journey meandered along steep cliffs through colorfully designed hacienda villages offering excellent views of the island’s steep volcano,Mount Teide. The remote presence of this symmetrically shaped cone rising over 12,000 feet above sea level in the distance seemed a most forbidding place yet alluring to the visual imagination. Descending by foot now into Old Town Porto De La Cruz through cobblestones streets packed with Spanish colonial architecture, we noted the unusual presence of black sand beaches dotted with lava strewn boulders along the coastline.
In the distance, we immediately spotted an odd collection of black rock stacks created by humans overlooking a cliff side beach. A closer look would soon reveal how each pile revealed some spiritual aspect to our visit as we pondered what each arrangement meant to the humans that built them. Blossoming explosions of Bougainvillea lavender and red spilled over the blackened slope as we now approached the tropically lush grounds of Loro Park Zoo. Soon, the busybody presence of croaking roosters and slithering lizards alongside the road would captivate our attention to divert our minds from any thoughts that we had actually gotten lost.
Genuine siesta time seemed fitting for us in the rising heat of early afternoon as we stopped for a leisurely lunch of poulet and frites at a local cantina to replan our steep climb uptown back to our bus. Amidst the frenzied lingo of Spanish talk and blaring TV screens, we relived the the thrills of getting lost today in the maze of endlessly winding streets, random rock piles, and narrowly blind alleyways to find this unexpected place of respite now. Thus, you might say that we had found unexpected excitement today as celebrity stars in our own “Survivor” movie adventure.