With the backpack still hanging off my shoulders from Conil I caught an 8 hour bus from Cadiz to Madrid. The countryside was absolutely astounding. We drove through one part of Spain where the ground was littered with giant patches of purple and red flowers (which I later found out are lavender and poppies). It was like someone has spilled paint on green hillsides. The bus ride wasn’t bad – it definitely didn’t seem like 8 hours – but with the right ipod settings, I squeezed just enough juice out of the battery to get me all the way to Madrid. Once there, I had to spend a night sleeping with my bag on a bench in the Madrid airport. For those of you that care, the Madrid benches are very uncomfortable, with armrests that inevitably find their way into the crotch of your twisted body. I slept for maybe 6 of the 8 hours I spent there, which was pretty good.
I hopped on my plane just as the sun was coming up and spent about an hour sitting in the plane while they fixed a “technical problem”. I was sitting next to two sleeping children, which is sort of like sitting in one of those cars that’s rigged to explode as soon as you leave the seat. Deep down I knew that they would sleep for an hour at best, and when they woke up they’d have so much energy I’d be looking for the nearest emergency exit at 35,000 feet. Well, I was right, before we even took off they woke up. Crayons were flying everywhere and one of them drew me a beautiful picture on one of the bags you’re supposed to puke into if airsick. I digress. I survived.
After another hour bus to the southern half of the island, my deaar friend Emily came and picked me up and we went straight from the bus station to the beach – again! My stuff sat in a pile while I tried to get some sun. We hung out at the beach for hours and then it was finally time to get back to the apartment. Our friend Jessica’s Dad had an unused week on a timeshare in the Canary Islands, so he offered it to Jess and 3 of her friends. Jess couldn’t stay the whole week and thus I got to take her spot for 4 days. I couldn’t complain. Since the apartment wasn’t based on our spending habits it was really nice, and free. The balcony overlooked the beaches and ocean below and every night the sun set just behind the other island, which was silhouetted each night. It was absolutely incredible, we owe Jess and her Dad a very big thank you.
Our second day was spent much like the first. There isn’t much historically or culturally to see in Tenerife because everyone is there either working or vacationing. The most we could do is meet people from other walks of life, which we usually did at night when we decided to go out to the bars. To my surprise most of the bars were very empty, with an occasional tourist-group pub crawl coming and going- must not have been busy season.
The best part of the trip was getting to know who I was traveling with. Emily is from Rhode Island and goes to Providence College. Antonia is from California and coincidentally is James’ cousin (they are both studying in Sevilla, without having planned it ahead of time). And Hayley is from Boston and studies in Indiana.
Our third day, we went on a hike to the end of the beach and did some climbing to get a better view of where we were. The views were spectacular and I made some videos, but I haven’t figured out how to upload them yet, so I’ll put a reminder up when I get that done.
Our last day was another beach/lazy day (this trip really was more like a vacation then anything), and Antonia left us while we had to find another living arrangement. We wound up staying in a really crappy, buggy “hotel” near the beach and ate a long dinner just to avoid having to climb into their beds. When we woke up, we walked around to tire ourselves out for the plane and bus rides home. Almost 12 hours, 1 plane ride, and a bus ride later, we were back in Sevilla and I was eating cornflakes at 6 am because gas station food wasn’t cutting the mustard.
Tenerife was interesting. There’s not much to do there if you want to learn something, but the beaches are absolutely impeccable. If I ever go back I’d love to hike Mt. Teide (the active volcano of the island), or rent a motorcycle and spend the day seeing the island. But for a 21 year old college student, I have to say the experience was well worth it. Good people, good food, perfect locale, and smile was what I got out of this experience. Definitely worth it.