Scaling the peaks of perfection

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teide.jpgWe must be an orderly and well-behaved bunch of passengers on board Queen Elizabeth this week. At each port of call so far – first Funchal, Madeira, then Santa Cruz on La Palma, and today another Santa Cruz, in Tenerife, Captain Alistair Clark has announced at about 5.30 p.m. that “everyone is back on board and we are ready to sail.”
It’s a pleasant change from the last-minute panics over late arrivals and no-shows that I have seen on some ships. It’s certainly a sign that the 1,941 British passengers, and the 98 others of various nationalities including Americans, Canadians, Australians, Swiss and Indians, don’t want to miss the boat.
They would rather be back on board in familiar surroundings. Perhaps they were desperate for their air-conditioned cabins – temperatures reached a sweltering 77 F today, though that is, of course the reason why most of us left chilly Britain behind last Sunday.
It was quite bracing early on this morning on an excursion to Mount Teide – the highest peak on Spanish territory. Our coach tour took us to little higher than 7,000 feet, just over half way up.
And we were climbing all the way from the quayside. An eight-lane highway took us up 2,000 feet to La Laguna and the island’s northern airport, We continued upwards to 3,000 feet and the start of the pine forest, and emerged from the trees another 3,000 feet higher.
With our side of the mountain ridge still in shade from the early morning sun, the first couple of photo stops were decidedly chilly and it came as a surprise to find it was warmer higher up as we traversed the lunar landscape of Teide’s lava fields and the enormous caldera of the Caňadas del Teide National Park, dormant since 1909.
So alien is the landscape, it has been used as a location for a number of movies; one of the waiters at our coffee stop was hired as an extra alongside Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Gemma Arterton in the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans. In 1966, Raquel Welch strode these slopes in a fur bikini during the making of One Million Years B.C.
One million, two thousand and thirteen years later there was little in the way of wildlife and surprisingly few coaches on the narrow roads, though our driver had to negotiate intrepid cyclists who must have developed calves and thighs of high-tensile steel, and hundreds of Saturday motorcyclists who leave their wives and families at home for a thrilling blast along the twisting, turning roads.
We made it back to the ship just in time for lunch – it was as if the morning had been planned with chronological perfection.
Now it’s on to Lanzarote, yet another maiden call for me.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:35+00:00 13 April 2013|Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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