I just got back this weekend from a trip to Tenerife, hence the recent radio silence. It was a much needed holiday; the last couple of months have been crazy for me and Andrew, and having the ability to go sit by a pool, read good books (currently re-reading the Harry Potter series) and just generally check out was exactly what we needed.
I’d never been to the Canary Islands, but from what I knew of them I wasn’t looking forward to trying to find vegan food on my trip. It seems that the culture relies heavily on meat and fish-based dishes, and the word “vegan” isn’t even part of the vernacular.
The first night in Tenerife confirmed my fears. Each restaurant we passed had loads of cheese-heavy pizzas, fish and every kind of meat imaginable on the menu. We finally ended up at a traditional tapas restaurant by the harbour in Los Gigantes where we were staying, and the options were still quite limited, so I settled for a salad, mushroom tapas and Canarian potatoes.
One thing I should mention is that ever since I heard about Canarian potatoes around 5 years ago, I have been dying to try them. They are small potatoes that are cooked in heavily salted water with the skin on so it gets wrinkly and salty. They are then served with a green and red mojo sauce – basically a sauce consisting of peppers, oil and seasonings. My first bite was just as good as I imagined – absolutely bursting with flavor and my ultimate new favorite food. As you’ll see, I ended up eating them with nearly every lunch and dinner. No joke, I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in potatoes on this trip.
The salad was also delicious – big, round slices of juicy tomato, sweet onions, ripe avocado, shredded carrots and cabbage all dressed in oil and vinegar. I’m not a huge fan of salads normally, but luckily for me this was divine.
The rest of our meals consisted of pretty much me eating massive salads with a side of Canarian potatoes washed down with local wine. I did find vegetarian paella (yum!) and had gnocchi one night which was a really nice departure from the usual salad/potato combo, and I did cave and have a slice of pizza one night as well. For breakfasts we generally had toast, either with strawberry jam or avocado and tomatoes.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed with my meals as each salad I ate was massive, flavorful and slightly different than the one before. And of course the potatoes were just incredible. However, after 10 days of basically the same stuff every day, I was happy to get home and have a nice curry!
I can’t do a travel post and not talk about the actual island, so here are a couple highlights of my trip:
Dolphin/whale boat trip: we took a boat trip out to view some sea life and were treated with the sighting of a massive, rare fin whale who even showed us his belly! Afterwards we found a group of dolphins who decided to play with the boat. The day was rounded out with a swim under the cliffs of Las Gigantes and lunch of vegetable rice and bread (they also served chicken which we passed on, obviously) before heading back to the harbour in the late afternoon. You can see a short video of the whale here, and a short video of the dolphins here.
Drive to El Tiede: On a particularly cloudy day we took out the rental and drove up to El Tiede volcano which is the highest peak in Spain at 12,198 ft. The drive is a bit scary in parts, but the views are incredible. You drive through varying scenery and as you get higher the plants thin out and you really get a sense of the impact of volcanic rock and ash as it covers the entire landscape. We didn’t go up to the top of the volcano as it was over an hour wait for the gondola, but we did take lots of photos at the base. I also should mention that El Tiede was one of the most beautiful smelling places I’ve ever been, second to perhaps Hawaii. The air smells faintly of pine needles and sweet, warm earth.
Overall we had a nice, relaxing trip. Food was good, people were friendly and I am now nicely tanned which hasn’t been the case for a few years. I’m not sure I’d go back there again as there isn’t much to do, but it’s always nice to see new parts of the world.