My Life as a Traveler

Canary Islands Calamity, Part 2

After our scenic lunch, we hop back into the car to explore the rest of this part of the island. We find a fertile valley with a hill like a wart smack in the middle of it. However, the wart has slices cut out of it. The local folks here found some useful ore in that wart and mined it slice by slice. Not sure how long ago that was, but it didn’t look like they were mining now when we drove by.

We hit the rocky coast and stopped for a stroll. A golf course dramatically set along the shore had a trail alongside that just begged to be walked. We explored tide pools, got close ups of cacti, and watched the golfers zip around in their carts. The weather was perfect, and it looked like a great ending to a great day.

Not wishing to drive back the same way we came (hate to do that!) we headed back to port around the other side of the island. Much more verdant than the dry side, we passed by towns large and small that just begged to be discovered, but we forged on. Morgan’s asleep in the back seat. We still had 2 hours before we needed to be back to the ship when we saw the sign saying we only had 20 kilometers to go. Time for a detour!

I looked on the map and found a scenic drive with a great view over the mountain range closest to our ship.  Looks like it was only another 20 kilometers out of the way. No problem, we thought, let’s take the scenic drive. We got off the freeway and wound our way up the mountain to the most amazing viewpoint you can imagine. You could see Teide volcano looming over the valley between these mountains where the airport is located. This airport is the infamous location of one of the biggest airline disasters in history In 1977, two Boeing 747 airliners collided there in the fog, killing 583 people. From the viewpoint, you could really see how fog could fill that valley. We woke Morgan up so he wouldn’t miss it.

Well, it was about an hour before the ship leaves, and we have 10 kilometers to get down the hill (the other way, can’t go the same way twice!) and another 5 or so to get through town to return the car and get back to the ship. No problem! That is, until we started driving. The road became tiny and clogged with Sunday drivers. Our speed dropped to 10 Km/Hr. Yikes! After about 10 minutes of this, we got really nervous. We had gone too far to go back the other way, yet if we continued at this speed, we would miss the ship! Plus, we couldn’t remember if we needed to get back by 5pm or 5:30pm. That was then George started really driving. We started speeding around hairpin turns, tailing the slow drivers until we could pass or they pulled over, and watched every slow kilometer pass. Hearts were beating fast and we contemplated what we would do if the ship sailed without us.

Finally, we got off the mountain and headed on the road to the port. Aaarrgh, stoplights! It took us another 15 minutes to go the 5 km to the car rental agency. We hurriedly parked the car, gathered all of our stuff and RAN to return the keys and see if we missed the bus. Out of breath, we were happy to see that we had a bus coming to take us to our ship, and it wasn’t even the last one. Turns out we had an extra half hour of time to spare before last call. Phew! I have never been so relieved in my life.

We were shaking with stress as we headed up to our cabin and poured a glass of smuggled wine to enjoy on the balcony. Sunset graced the volcano as we said goodbye to Tenerife.

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