My new husband and I stepped off the plane and were immediately slapped in the face by a cool breeze and then warmed by the sun. It had been along trip for the start of June 2007, across the country to Northern Virginia for our wedding for a week and then to Madrid where we caught a final flight to the exotic Canary islands. I glanced at my husband to see his expression and was relieved to see him smiling back at me. We were here, finally, we had been looking forward to this for the past year and finally, we were here… Tenerife… the canary islands…Spain!
Our struggle navigating the airport while speaking in Spanish and amidst the long customs line was a breeze compared to our wait for the past year for our two week honeymoon. Despite tangled hair, wrinkly clothing and tired eyes, I hurriedly handed our camera to the couple behind us for a picture to capture the moment. Elatedly I blurted out to them that we were on our honeymoon and several passengers in line giggled at our enthusiasm.
As we began our drive through the steep mountains of Tenerife toward the ocean, we realized that we had not even dared to dream that we would a chance to take a trip as stimulating as this. We wanted to go tropical where we could really relax, meaning lying on the beach with a tropical drinks in hand! But two weeks of doing just that seemed unending so our thoughts drifted to places such as Europe, specifically Italy or southern France. But when we checked the cost of flights and hotels and all other expenses we knew that we would be limited in our choices. We wanted the chance to enjoy our time and take a few days to settle in as well as have two weeks to enjoy ourselves. The places we were scouting out would never allow us to make the honeymoon we wanted, not on our budget. Then it happened. Phil and Melinda our “adoptive” godparents called us out of the blue almost about the time when we were feeling hopeless that we would be able to go anywhere, and offered us a week in their time share, anywhere. Anywhere, how marvelous!?
The next weekend we researched and found most places were booked almost a year in advance. We searched our options and then we saw it, the Canary Islands. We knew little about them but it was the perfect combination between tropical and European… it was decided. With our bonus week we would be able to stay the two weeks! Glancing through possibilities we found the stunning El Marques settled in the cliffs of Los Gigantes, Spain.
Finally reaching Los Gigantes in our small rental car, we rushed to our remarkable time share overlooking the Los Gigantes cliffs and nearby small town with small shops, restaurants and cafes. We treasured our private panoramic of the ocean and soaring Los Gigantes cliffs. Relieved by a temperate climate we rested on our private balcony overlooking the ocean and cliffs and sipping sangria or sauntered down to the pool. Whether touring the lush hills and banana fields, enjoying a boat tour, dining at a small café or wandering the narrow streets of Los Gigantes we never worried about a hint of rain or discomfort.
Taking advantage of our time in Spain was what we wanted most and an afternoon on a dolphin sighting tour with Canarian music playing and complimentary paella fit the bill. We could not believe our eyes when passing the hundreds of dolphins and whales jumping alongside the boat as we skirted the edges of the cliffs. The day came to perfect when each of us had the chance to dive into the cool ocean water off the edge of the boat. Another day we took a drive to the mysterious Punto de Teno, which marked the very the end of the monstrous cliffs. We were shocked as our drive got closer to see the several large yellow signs indicating danger, peligro! We quickly exited our car and decided to take the tour on foot and needless to say the view was breathtaking. We skipped reaching the very edge of the cliffs and determined that the hushed view of the hills meeting the ocean and the sound of goats in the distance was enough to satisfy us on our trek to Punto de Teno.
The rest of our days on Tenerife ended often with us shopping in the local market and climb up flights of steps while taking in the awe-inspiring view of the cliffs outside our villa. Out trip across the island to the airport at the end of the first week was almost as wonderful although sad as we passed camel ride depots and banana fields while driving through the steep mountain ranges.
Our shuttle flight behind us, we flew into Gran Canaria instantly and hauled ourselves to our new rental car. Our breath again was taken away while driving through the arid climate of Gran Canaria. We were amazed at how different the land was here than Tenerife and took it all is with videotape and endless digital pictures.
Our second week on our honeymoon took us further on our trip to the distinct Gran Canaria Island. We were again overwhelmed but now by a new bustling island of tourists and restaurants as well as several sprawling beaches. We took full advantage by touring the evocative Maspalomas dunes, enjoying the arid climate and sprawling nude beaches that we missed in Tenerife. We enjoyed our days by waking up late, snacking on tapas and rum drinks the length of the various Canarian beaches and sunning ourselves while reading. Our conversations with local vendors always left us with a smile and everywhere we went the food we tasted and tried was better than the last place we had been. Throughout the islands we could not get enough of wine and rum tasting, incredible cananrian cuisine and unending treats from the local tapas restaurants on the side of the road and in the small towns on our day trips.
Our stay at the soaring Riu Palace brought us breakfast in bed with everlasting coffee and pastries and on site massages for two! We had planned ahead and made sure that in our wedding registry we included Traveler’s Joy which offered us the option of pampering ourselves with complimentary massages, a manicure and invaluable jet-ski rides.
At the end of the two weeks we could not have imagined that we would have been able to enjoy all of our travel plans including round trip airfare from the east coast to the canary islands, shuttle between islands, car rental and a week at the Riu Palace Hotel on Gran Canaria island for only $2000 each person. We cannot stop talking about our trip to the Canary Islands and how our honeymoon exceeded our expectations.
My husband and I are still developing hundreds of pictures of our special time together. As we go through each picture it brings back wonderful memories of each part of our amazing trip. Our memories of the Canary Islands will last a lifetime.