Quick trip to Tenerife

Got to love the token xmassy tinsel

Got to love the token xmassy tinsel

This was fairly last-minute so I didn’t really mention it much on here, but when I finished my school placements (and for other reasons) I just needed to get the hell away from the UK for a bit. Unwind, chill out, avoid the internet and pretend the rest of the world didn’t exist.

Fortunately, I know some very lovely people who offered me a room for a few nights if I fancied chilling out in Tenerife. All I had to do was get there and bring some spending money. Easy.

A quick check via skyscanner.net pointed me in the direction of Scotland‘s largest airline, GlopeSpan from whom I booked a return flight from Glasgow. Oh, yes. That would bite me in the bum in a few days time…

So stupidly early on Sunday 13th, my uncle dropped me off at Glasgow Airport. Bang on time I took off and shortly before midday I landed at Tenerife South Reina-Sofia Airport. One point to note is that although Tenerife is Spanish territory, it’s in the same time zone as the UK so there’s no need to adjust your watches. Tell this to the telephone companies as my phone insisted on moving itself forward an hour due to connecting to a Spanish network. Grr.

Taxi from the airport to Costa Adeje where I would be staying is posted as being €23.50. I opted for the bus instead as I’m a  cheapskate. For those heading that way, you want the number 111 to Playa Las Américas and then 416 or 417 to Torviscas. Do note there is a less frequent survice on a Sunday and you’ll need to look for landmarks on the second leg to make sure you get off at the right place – it’s barely 10 minutes’ ride. Total cost was less that €4, so make sure you have some smaller notes or pocket change to hand.

From the stop, it was a short walk to the resort where I was staying and met up with the lovely Christina and her mother, Karen. The weather was nice (though there were a few showers over the week) and the company good!

My first priority was to book some diving. I’d tried to organise something online when I was still in the UK, but the company I’d looked at hadn’t replied. As it happened, they were based less than 5 minutes’ walk from our resort so Christina and I wandered down to sort something out.

The company was Diversity, and after some haggling, they agreed to the internet rate of €65 for two dives, all in. Far cheaper than other operations that were asking that or more for just two dives with equipment hire on top. The choice was Monday or Wednesday due to weather and tides and I decided to dive the following day.

After that, it was pretty much just a relaxing day. We walked about, I got familiar with where things were and had a McDs as my first meal of the day. Dinner was a lovely roast at the restaurant attached to the resort and in the evening I got slightly drunk and attempted karaoke at a nearby bar. Twice. Or maybe three times.

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Bonjour France!

Well, I made it. Barcelona airport was a breeze, but a bore and the pilot we had managed the gentlest landing I think I’ve ever experienced. I slept virtually the entire flight seeing as I was up late blogging for you lot. Paris Charles de Gaulle (not Saint Germain… that’s a football team) is another behemoth based on a ring pattern, I think. There’s a central column filled with criss-crossed escalators. It’s the only airport I can recall being to which tells you how long you have to wait at the baggage carousel for your items to be transferred from the plane.

The train station was reached via a free monorail thing and is a pain in the neck to navigate. All the escalators are surrounded by a glass wall and it’s impossible to see where the gaps are to get to the platform. Having said that, I think you’re actually supposed to go through the barriers which may explain why my EURO1.40 ticket still worked the next morning. It was around 10pm when I got to my hostel near the Hoche Metro station. Thanks to Delphine for doing the research for me as I didn’t have time in Barcelona.

I checked in, grabbed a burger and some munchies from nearby shops and retired. Only to be woken at 1:30 by the entire population of my room (plus one extra person) crashing in and talking with the lights on. I think I got them back by snoring all night as my head cold’s worked it’s way into my sinuses and throat. Joy.

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Any old excuse to look at pr0n

With Sharon gone I had no excuse not to. I got up early (earlier than I wanted) and packed my bags for checkout, wolfed as much breakfast as my snot-filled head would allow me and stepped out into the depressingly overcast and cool day.

I decided to mix filth with culture and paid a visit to the Erotica Museum. This is where the friends get annoyed and the family egt relieved that I can´t post pictures at the moment. It’s towards the top end of Las Ramblas and costs EURO 7.50 to get in. There isn’t a huge collection in there and most of it consists of prints if the Kama Sutra, wood engravings from India and some interesting artwork.

Some of the stuff is graphic – I can see British middle aged couples going mad if their kids got in – but a lot is simply interesting like the 1950’s condom machine from Holland. The most graphic thing they have is a constantly running restored pr0n video made in 1923 for one of the kings. Now I´d obviously not know how it compares to today’s stuff (honest) but let´s just say that Queen Victoris would very rapidly have changed her mind about not setting an age of consent for gay female activity had she seen it. And survived the following heart attack.

I’d also considered going to the zoo, but the weather looked a little iffy. Also, I only had my dinky camera with me (the one with the 10x zoom is in Cardiff) and four hours or aso just isn’t long enough for me. I usually get thrown out at closing time, and run out of space on my memory cards.

So back to the hostel to plan some more stuff. I now have accommodation in Frankfurt and Mons courtesy of some fellow Couchsurfers. My bus is booked from Paris to Mons on Tuesday afternoon, and I´ve mailed the hostel in Paris to extend my stay by one night. In French. I´m dead clever, me.

I have to go and repack now, so my next post will likely be from gay Paris!

Mad locals and bye-bye to Sharon

We didn’t have much planned today as it was Sharon’s last and she wanted to do some shopping in the morning. I had a lie-in – again I could have slept much longer – and met her just before midday when she checked out of her hostel.

We took a toddle to the bottom of Las Ramblas where we caught a lift to the top of the Colom to see the view from there. It´s a nice sightseeing spot and pretty cheap for €2.30.

Actually, its surprising where the time went for the rest of the day. We walked past the cathedral which was undergoing refurbishment but couldn’t go in as Sharon was wearing shorts and had exposed shoulders. Their loss. Instead, was sat in the square and ate ice cream then wandered around a lovely market and munched delicious fresh strawberries for only €1 for a large punnet.

We spent a good two ours on Las Ramblas watching the street entertainers. There’s certainly enough to keep your attention: human statues; people who hide in boxes or lie still until they get money then jump out/up and surprise you; football jugglers; martial artists; acrobats; break dancers; combat dancers; a very funny clown… A great way to pass time.

Then it was time to collect Sharon’s stuff and get her to the station for her train to the airport. On the way, we passed a very posh restaurant with a huge crowd outside taking photographs and films of someone. Another “celebrity” arrived later and I have no idea who he was. I’d guess at a footballer from his appearance, but not one I recognised.

It’s always nice to have a travelling companion for a while and Sharon was no exception to that. Barca wouldn’t have been the same without her, especially with my niggly cold. I’d have lain in bed and whinged instead of getting out.

As I sat writing this up, I got a text: “flight delayed – bum!” A slight problem as she was due to land at Luton at 23:55 and the airport closes at midnight. Fortunately, later in the night I got a text to let me know she’d made it home safe and sound. Glad to hear it!

I´ve booked a flight to and a hostel in Paris. So tomorrow’s my last day here and my choices for things to do are limited. I have two main options. I’ll see how I feel in the morning!

Dilly-Dali-ing around

Our reason for travelling was to get to Figuera, the home of the Dali Museum (and a few other attractions). BOth of us felt lousy – I could have slept another few hours at least and my nasal passages were as rough as if I’d been snorting iron filings. Damn head cold!

We managed to catch the 9:30 train by the skin of our teeth and endured a stifling 2-hour journey in the non-ac’d carriage. All the main sights in Figuera are well-signposted from the station and the Dali Museum is around 15 minutes’ walk away. The route takes you through some lovely streets and past an outdoor fruit and veg market.

It’s instantly recogniseable from any approach with bizarre sculptures surrounding it. One wing is crowned with a multitude of golden eggs and encrusted with gold jobbies. At least that’s what they look like. Entrance is €10 and includes entry to a separate jewellery exhibition that we didn´t have time to visit.

The main museum is on three floors, circling a courtyard. Pride of this place in this yard is a car being “ridden” by a large woman in chains. Above her, a boat levitates with water seeming to drip from its exposed hull. A multitude of squashed bathroom sinks ring the top of the interior wall.

Completely hatstand. Wibble, wibble, indeed.

We spent over two hours walking around looking at this lunacy. We had cold-induced headaches when we arrived and surrealism-induced ones by the time we left.

I managed to locate what seemed to be the only shop in Feguera selling junk food. Through a combination of miming, pointing, guessing and blind luck I got the world’s largest chicken kebab burger and enough chips to chose a horse that really likes chips. After I clogged my arteries with this lovely fare, we legged it to the station to catch the 16:30 back to Barcelona.

Sharon had a snooze while I caught up on email then we popped to a nearby bar to watch England U-21s throw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Italy. Some things don’t change no matter what country you´re in. The bar was full at one point with an 11-strong Everton-supporting stag party. I’m glad I wasn’t sharing a bathroom with any of them that evening after seeing some of the cocktails they were downing: Baileys, Malibu, Bacardi, vodka and whisky anyone? Thought not.

Another early night as we were both ready to drop. I walked Sharon back to her place then hobbled to mine where I cuddled up with two paracetamol and some eucalyptus oil on my pillow.