La Palma

Before we continue to La Palma, I thought I’d let you have a good laugh at me. You know you like it, I know you like it ;)
Here’s a screenshot of my labour in Lightroom (only, so excluding the Photoshop work…). That’s what I’ve been doing for the past weeks.

Lightroom screenshot with all the evidence of cloning out the crap from the sensor

Lightroom screenshot with all the evidence of cloning out the crap from the sensor (probably need to click for enlargement).

Anyway…
See how I managed to make uninteresting Tenerife seem interesting? Took me only nine posts ;)
But now on to La Palma.
We took the boat from Tenerife to La Palma. Funny side note is that the best café con leche I’ve had in the whole Canary Islands was a cheap 1€ cup in the terminal of the harbor in Tenerife.
The boat was late, and we left late. All because of the weather. Apparently there was quite some rough weather out there. The main part of the trip we didn’t really notice much, but when we got close to the harbor in Santa Cruz de La Palma we started to notice. Not personally, but from all the people running with their hands in front of their mouths back and forth to the toilet.
Oh, and of course, when we looked out of the window.
“Hey, there’s La Palma… Huh? I swear I just saw land, seriously! Huh? The moon? Hmm, wait… No, see? There it is, La Palma! Huh? The moon?” :D
When we disembarked we had to step on this hydraulic gangway which was forcefully moving back and forth and up and down. And just after we stepped off, it snapped loose from the boat.

Yeah, it was quite a storm… But it was fun ;) At least we thought it was.

Still the next day, when the storm was pretty much gone already, the sea was very rough with high waves.

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm, Photoshop

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm, Photoshop

Tenerife

Fresh and unaware of the agony lying ahead we started our hike. It all started very easy and things were nice and dandy and we were kind of wondering how this could possibly take 5,5 hours. In this tempo we would be at the refuge in 2,5-3 hours. Even with those 20kgs we were each carrying.

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

Fairly dead landscape. Not (yet) the black volcanic stones that we saw on many places elsewhere on the island. Instead a colorful reddish-yellow sand with occasionally big boulders on the side of the road.

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

On the rim of the mountain on the left side of the second picture you can just see a couple of buildings from the Tenerife Observatory.
The scenery reminded me a bit of the Grand Canyon in the US.

That first “bit” went fairly easy. Until we came to the part where the actual real climb began. The next image is already from a bit further up. This was the part where the hike was really steep, despite the zig-zagging of of the trail.

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

And after a long, long 4 hours we arrived at the refuge, 3,270 meters. Very tired, but very satisfied.

D200, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

Tenerife

Going to see volcano El Teide was our ultimate goal on Tenerife.
El Teide is an active volcano, and it’s the highest mountain in Spain, with its 3,718 meters. It’s the third largest volcano in the world (measured from its base). Its last eruption was in 1909.

D200, ISO100, 1/750 sec @ f/4, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/750 sec @ f/4, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

Initially we had thought of taking the cable up (see second image), which goes all the way up to about 200 meters under the summit. The last bit should be done on foot.
I got it in my head to want to shoot the sunrise from the summit, though, and the cable didn’t start to go until 9am. That meant we had to go either really early in the morning (sunrise was at about 7.30am, and the walk was said to take anywhere from 3,5-5,5 hours, depending on the hiker’s health and condition and packing), or go the day before and stay overnight.

There’s a refuge, El Refugio de Altavista, on 3,270 meters where hikers can stay overnight, provided they have reserved a spot. From there the last 500 meters up to the summit can be walked early the next morning in the dark.
So that’s what we set out to do.
We managed to reserve two places for an overnight stay in the refuge from an office in Santa Cruz the Tenerife, where no one spoke a word of English. I ended up drawing a mountain with a little hut on the side and a rising sun in the background to explain what we wanted.

And a few days later we drove to the beginning of the trail and set out on our quest.

Trail sign for hiking trail number 7, up to El Teide

Trail sign for hiking trail number 7, up to El Teide. Estimated time to the summit: 5,5 hours. Difficulty level: hard.

Tenerife

In terms of wildlife the Canary Islands are pretty safe. The endemic wildlife is limited to birds, bugs and dinosaurs, but nothing predatory. The most dangerous species is a poisonous centipede, which, theoretically, could be lethal to small children and the faint of heart, but otherwise there’s nothing really to worry about.

The dinosaurs are fairly tame, present in abundance (seriously! you have to look where you step, or you’ll step on them), and very willing to pose for a photo.

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/3.3, Tamron 90mm macro

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/3.3, Tamron 90mm macro

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/3.3, Tamron 90mm macro

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/3.3, Tamron 90mm macro

Tenerife

Although tourism hasn’t really come through to this part of the island (thankfully!), there are some places that are showing a bit more of a commercial attitude already. There are some small shops and musea where you can get your hands on some of the local cuisine like mojo, wine, gofio (which I started referring to as goofio, because it’s seriously weird stuff!) or some of the more standard touristic stuff that no one in his/her right mind would actually buy ;)

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

Tenerife

La Orotava is another one of those exceptions. It’s absolutely worth a visit, almost like a trip back in time. It’s a picturesque little village with cute colorful streets with cobblestones and probably the cutest little hotel ever, called Silene. If it hadn’t been in the Lonely Planet book we were carrying around, we probably wouldn’t have found it. It’s an old family home, recommended, I must say. He personally hand-made our breakfast in the morning. Took him forever, but it was worth it :D

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

Tenerife

Roque de las Bodegas is one of the few exceptions to “my” rule of a rather unexciting Tenerife. Roque de las Bodegas in the northern most part of Tenerife has a little beach, a roquey one, and a roquey pier which seems to be used for all kinds of (crappy, ahem) purposes besides it’s main purpose fishing.

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/6.7, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/6.7, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

Tenerife

Ever thought of doing your groceries in a church? Oh no, stupid, that’s not a church. The Mercado’s the place to go when you want fresh stuff. Fwesh fwuit, fwesh fish, fwesh whatever! And some actually spoke English (the people, that is, not the fwuit or fish ;) )!
That was one of the things that struck me most, really. You’re in a touristic place like the Canaries, Tenerife at least, and you can count the people who speak English (or sort of) on the fingers of one hand.

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 28-75mm

You could of course also try El Corte Inglés, but there they primarily sell overpriced bad quality bags at heavy discounts (ask my Better Half about that *grins* )

There’s quite a big contrast between what’s maintained and what’s not quite… Nice houses with kind of… less nice garages or storages, or whatever they are… Nice piece of graffity right out front the Auditorio…

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/4, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/4, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/4.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/4.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm

And just because I can’t get enough of it:

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

Tenerife

I must honestly confess that Tenerife didn’t do much for me. I didn’t find it all that exciting. Of course it has its places that are nice (El Teide, now THAT was an adventure, but more on that later), but overall I don’t necessarily need to go back there.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the Canary Islands, has a couple of nice spots worth documenting. My favorite by far was the Auditorio, a futuristically designed (music) theater which is supposed to have great acoustics. Unfortunately we didn’t get to listen to any performance there.

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm

I probably shot close to 100 pictures of the building. Really photogenic, it was :)

There were some other things, too. Not many, but some… The Monumento de los Caidos for example. A monument to those who were killed in the Spanish civil war. Taken from… well… quite a different angle, I guess ;)

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/6.7, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/6.7, Tamron 28-75mm

And there was Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Conception. It’s supposed to be a “cathedral”, but although I’m not quite sure what sets a cathedral and a church apart, I thought it more a church than a cathedral. It’s a pretty building, nonetheless.

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm, 3 images stitched together in PS

D200, ISO100, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Tamron 28-75mm, 3 images stitched together in PS