17 February 2010

Las Islas Canarias

Sorry I haven't been very timely about publishing this post. Two weeks ago I had finals week and it was grueling. Three exams and four papers in one week. So seven friends and I decided to celebrate in style by heading to the Canary Islands. I checked the weather and saw a high of 70 and immediately knew I was in. There ended up being seven girls and one boy so we booked two condos in the same building complete with full kitchens for 14 Euros a night per person. I was stoked! 

Immediately when we stepped out of the plane, I could feel the warm air and knew it was going to be a good weekend. We got a city bus across the island, which only took us 20 minutes, to Playa del Ingles. After settling in to our condos, the first thing we did was head to the beach. It was gorgeous. Little coves were scattered across the open beach filled with beautiful sand and water, and lots of old people, apparently January is "vacay" time for the elderly. 

We spent all day Friday lazing about on the beach, playing cards, swimming, and just hanging out. It was so relaxing. That night we spent sitting on a blanket on the beach drinking wine and relaxing. It was a wonderful way to end finals week. 

The next day we split into two groups. One group headed to the beach for another day of lounging, while Katie O., Catie B., Will, and I headed into the mountains. We rented a car, but I was the only one who could drive it because it was manual. So we were off on an adventure. 

I hadn't driven a stick in 3 years and the roads were windy and steep. It was rough at first, but I got better as I went. The hardest part was focusing on the road because all I wanted to do was stare at the beautiful scenery. We stopped periodically to grab a snack or take in the views, like this valley in Fataga.  

But our main goal was to get to Roque Nublo, the highest point on the island. It was a nice thirty-minute hike to the top and the views were breathtaking. The rock may look tiny, but it was huge (note the size of the people of the second picture). 
The volcano is dormant, but the crater is absolutely beautiful. 

Ironically, this is where I was sitting looking out over the volcanic crater when I got a hold of my dad, and found out that my grandmother had died the day before. Not to get too philosophical, but I think being in that place with such a grand view of god's creation, helped me understand that my grandmother's passing wasn't necessarily an end, but a beginning of a beautiful eternity with the lord. I think this place will always be special to me because of that moment. 

From Roque Nublo we headed to a hill town called Tejeda. As soon as I parked, parallel parked on a hill, I realized that my wallet was gone. It had been inside my camera bag on the hike up to Roque Nublo, but now it was gone. In addition, our daylight was fading, and I really wanted to get out of the mountains before dark. It was action time. We drove 30 minutes back to Roque Nublo. Then Katie O. and I ran back up the mountain. She told me to check where I had made a natural bathroom, but I assured her that I had checked the area before I'd headed back to the path so we continued uphill. At the top when I couldn't find my wallet, I nearly lost it. But we still had to get out of the mountains and we had no idea how long that would take. Almost to the car, Katie O. one more time mentioned that I should check my nature stop area. Needless to say, she was right! I could've saved myself a grueling uphill hike, but we tried to chalk it up to exercise. 

With the daylight fading, we drove out of the mountains. But our map wasn't very clear, so we asked for directions from a fruit vendor at Roque Nublo. The road he wanted us to take was so small we didn't see it the first time. But after turning around, not an easy feat, we found it and trusted him. Dark fell and we were still twisting around mountains passes unsure of whether we were headed the right direction or not. By this time we were all hungry and tired and a little cranky. I had managed to become carsick while driving. In the end, we made it out with my wallet, and a great experience. 

The next morning, we headed to the beach for the last time after finding a Subway sandwich shop, which was way more exciting than it should've been. I swam in the ocean for the last time that weekend and was perfectly relaxed and rejuvenated. Then came the plane ride from hell. 

First there was this baby that would not stop crying for at least a half an hour. She finally wore herself out and I thought all was well. I fell asleep with my headphones in my ears only to wake to being shoved in the arm and vomit flying at my face. A full-grown man, vomited in my hair, face, shoulder, and chest. It was everywhere. He managed to spray at least 5 people. The airplane staff gave us wet wipes and I changed into a friend’s shirt, but the smell would not leave me. What's more, they couldn't move me to another seat. The flight was fully booked. So I sat covered in vomit next to vomit smell for 2 hours. Although they did offer me a complimentary drink and some nuts, I was so nauseous I couldn't eat. Then came to turbulence. Yes there was more. Now I'm covered in vomit, sitting next to vomit, about to vomit form turbulence. It was a rough flight! When I got home my roommates immediately asked me why I smelled so bad!

Ironically I still put this as one of the most fun weekend I've had in Spain. It was crazy and awful and wonderful all at the same time!

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