After eight days at sea, we struck land! Our first port after crossing the Atlantic was Tenerife. Tenerife, Wikipedia tells me, is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands, and also the most populated island in Spain. What’s the point of having a blog if not to shame yourself publicly and often? And so I add this detail: until I looked up that article just now, I was pretty sure we were in Portugal that day. I blame the culture-numbing combo of cruising and small children. While cruising, you spend so little time at each port that you’re barely dipping your toe in the life and culture of the places your visit. And with small kids, your attention is so fragmented that you don’t even get to dip a toe into the culture, you’re basically just hoarking on in.
In our highfaluting cruisey-cruise days, we’ve seen quite a few beautiful little island cities built into hillsides. What made Tenerife strange was that it was really dry and arid. So much hard, dry earth and short, squat cactuses. Beautiful in its own way, just very different. We did very little here. We got off the ship, had a nice walk to the city centre, then Sarah and her dad searched in vain for a bank machine (no dice there, but it’s strangely easy to find a discotech or a place that bakes gourmet biscuits for your dog). After this, we came across a park and the kids were thrilled. Veronica found a train play area that kept her happy, while Teddy worked the slide for an hour, happy but mystified why the little Spanish children wouldn’t applaud for him like he demanded them to.