I’ve been visiting las islas Canarias for several years now. Many moons ago one of my mum’s closest friends and her two young daughters moved to La Gomera. I’ll never forget the day she showed me where they’d be living: an old animal shed, down a small pathway overlooking the valley. As a young child I don’t think I understood why she would be taking one of my closest friends to live in something that basic and smelly. Renovation wasn’t a concept I knew well. Today, their home is a beautiful apartment with expansive windows enabling you to breathe in the calming view.
Here is a small selection of photos from Tenerife and Gomera. I hope you like them.
There is so much to see in a wall if you look closely: peeling paint, shadows, determined weeds and perfect cracks.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
There is so much colour, beautiful architecture and art to see in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife. And of course, some of the most divine tapas and wine to satiate your hunger after a stroll around the city.
The majority of the native islanders are Roman Catholic. There are lots of religious celebrations throughout the year and these fiestas are a colourful, dance-filled display of their love of God. One fiesta I recall as a child is on St. Mark’s day in late April, where a succession of fires are built outside the church in Agulo and people jump over them, perhaps attesting their devotion to the saint. The friends and family that I have there are religious about food, wine, surfing, hiking, music and relationships rather than God if I’m honest.
An old municipal town on the north of the island nestles on a sloping valley; the streets are cobbled and filled with restaurants and cafes, the buildings bursting with deep reds and burnt orange. It’s a feast for the senses and definitely worth exploring.
The two islands I’ve visited are so varied geographically. One minute you can eat fresh snow in blasting sun on top of a dormant volcano and then turn the bend and you’re in mist with skeleton trees lining winding roads. In Gomera you might spend the morning sitting on black sand beaches and then travel up the valley to take a stroll through the Garajonay National Park in what feels like one of the oldest woods in the world.
The main reason I love the Canaries so much is the family and friends that I have there. Their way of life, their love of delicious food and wine, relaxing, their warmth and how I am welcomed as one of their own every time is what makes the islands so special.