More rain, more wine

Trip Start Nov 07, 2013
Trip End Dec 11, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Canary Islands,
Monday, November 25, 2013

Our bad weather luck continued for a while at least today. We woke up in Tenerife to dark gray low hanging clouds over the island.  That doesn't stop us – so we loaded on to bus #29 and went off to visit La Laguna and a winery.  Tenerife is very different than Lanzarote.  It is green with many trees.  It is also the highest of the Canaries and contains the highest mountain in Spain, Mt. Teide (12, 198 feet) which we couldn’t see due to the weather. Tenerife has a university and also has two large observatories.  We passed one of the radio telescopes on our way to La Laguna.  There are 907,000 people living here but the population balloons with the 5 million tourists that visit annually.  La Laguna is an old town located in the center of the island.  The town was sited away from the coast to be safer from pirates and to be near a freshwater lake.  It is also located on a major travel route around the island.  Tenerife has 5 convents, but only 2 still have nuns.

We toured around the town and saw many beautiful buildings with balconies.  They also had wonderful courtyards we peeked into.  The buildings are all made out of volcanic stone and heartwood from the local pines.  In 1998 La Laguna was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It is unique in that it is the first unfortified Spanish colonial city (I think that means there aren’t any city walls.  I will also note that there did not appear to be a Roman Theater in the town. 

We also visited the market, which was all food, many fruits, vegetables bakery, meat and fish.  Most of the fish was heavily salted, as that is what traditionally ate on the island.  It didn’t look good to Ken or Andrea, and that’s saying a lot because Ken eats lutefisk.

We then got back on the bus to our wine tasting in the town of Tocorante.  We learned that the grapes grow well on Tenerife due to the climate and the volcanic soil.  We also learned that when the European grapes all got phylloxera and died, the grapes in the Canary Islands were not affected  ( By the way, in case you didn’t know this, the California wine industry saved the European wine industry be send unaffected grape roots to Europe).  All European grape vines are now grafted on to California roots. .On Tenerife that grow 24 varieties of grapes and there are 5 wineries.  We visited Bodega Alvaro.  Ken and Andrea have never been to a wine tasting like this.  They put bottles of their wine on the table and a bunch of bread, cheese, chorizo, ham and steamed potatoes with mojo sauce to dip them in.  They have red, white, rose, dessert wine and cava for us to sample.  You basically took a glass and poured as much as you wanted to drink. The bodega itself was lined with old bottles of wine, really old, and barrels. The wine was good and so was the food.   We had a great time and were all feeling pretty good when we left.

We then went to a wine museum where they showed us a movie about the history of wine on the Canary Islands.  They have been making it for several centuries. We learned all of the different ways they can cultivate the grapes and about the different varieties of grapes they grow on Tenerife.  Tenerife is a beautiful island, much different from Lanzarote.  We would certainly consider coming back

That was pretty much it.  We say goodbye to Europe and Euros and leave tonight at 5:30 for two sea days on our way to Cape Verde.  We will keep you posted.
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