06/10/2014

A DAY IN THE MERCEDES MOUNTAINS

A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely day out with our son and his other half in the Mercedes mountains in North Tenerife.


These mountains, being so high above sea level, are green and lush compared with the drier south, due to more rainfall and cloud moisture.

There was some cloud that day which made the views misty, but as it kept the temperature down we weren't complaining. The roads are winding and precipitous, as are the terraced fields, and we saw several of these zip-lines.

Don and Magda are standing on the edge of an almost sheer drop, but assuming the cage was for vegetables rather than for people, we didn't risk using it! 
The barranco behind me was equally steep, although if I'd slipped, the cactus would possibly have broken my fall. Why is it that the steepness doesn't show up in photographs?



We had lunch in Bar la Cueva in Chinamada - a little hamlet at the end of a very narrow road. We ordered a dish each which, when we saw the portion sizes, was a mistake. Delicious food, and the first time I have eaten gofio - a Canarian speciality. 

Here are Bod and Magda inside the cave that gives the restaurant its name, but we ate outside.

There are several walks from there, notably to Pico de Ingles, but although the youngsters are experienced hikers, I certainly couldn't have made it that far. The little track I did explore was daunting enough!
Just round that corner I found myself looking across a deep barranco, in the centre of which was an isolated peak shaped like an icecream cone, totally covered in trees - truly spectacular.

There were lizards, quite large ones and not overly skittish,

and cacti and succulents as tall as me,
and little houses that were half cave with fantastic views, and a tiny church.

Bod and Magda walked further than I did and didn't, this time, need rescuing.
 A week earlier we had to drive to the middle of nowhere to collect them after they'd tackled a 6 kilometre hike that took them six hours. They had run out of water, despite taking as much as they could carry, and were so desperate that they drank from a standpipe in a field - they were lucky to get away without a bad tummy upset. Tenerife is an unforgiving place.







And on the way home we stopped in the forest - I could have stayed there longer.
So if any of you haven't been to Tenerife yet, or have only seen the tourist places, put a trip to the Mercedes Mountians on your wish-list.

11 comments:

  1. Looks like a great day out. Only been to Tenerife once - on a day trip from a cruise ship as a teenager. All I remember is a long coach ride up a volcano.

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    1. Did you keep your eyes shut so you couldn't see over the steep drops?

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  2. Thanks, Liz. I feel as though I've just had a mini holiday!

    (You don't want to fall into those cacti - I once had to have a spike pulled out from a very delicate place!)

    Helen

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    1. No - I steer very clear of cacti - this one was a couple of feet away. Author's licence :)

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  3. Looks a great place to visit - though I'm not so keen on having my fall broken by a cacti.

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  4. Fabulous photos but there's one sentence there that made me stop and gasp. "The barranco behind me was equally steep, although if I'd slipped, the cactus would possibly have broken my fall." Ouch!!!!

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    1. Heehee! Gotcha! I was a good two feet from the edge and definitely not intending to fall - honest!

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  5. So I'll make sure I pack my walking boots - and cactusproof trousers - when I visit. It looks a fascinating place.

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  6. Looks like you had a lovely day. Never been to Tenerife but went to Gran Canaria many moons ago and hired a car to go exploring in. Those roads! Terrifying with the drops and when we met a coach hurtling around a corner, I thought we were done for! I had been gripping the door handle so tightly that boyfriend (now hubs) had to actually 'unpeel' me from it as it had cramped into position! Glad you didn't have to have a cactus break your fall - pretty sure that would be rather unpleasant! Thanks for the armchair trip!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Maxi. In fact we did meet a coach on a corner that day - son was driving and had to jam on the brakes and back up to make room. With a cliff on one side and a drop on the other, a character-forming moment!

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