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Trip 29 -- Tenerife Walk

Day 10: Tacoronte to Punta del Hidalgo
Thursday, January 13, 2022

Today: 21492 steps/16.34 km/10.15 mi/3h 9m
Total: 339901 steps/254.94 km/158.41 mi/50h 25m

All I had to do today was walk three hours down to the coast, but I wasn't ready to leave the hill towns. Somehow I'd failed to notice, upon arriving just before sunset yesterday, that the main square was just a few minutes downhill from my accommodation. Tacoronte was pleasant and immersed in wine country, and with a short segment today I lingered.

The main square contained the church, of course, plus a cafe and a statue by Julio Nieto of a giant metal sardine can, its cover mostly peeled off. This was a tribute to Óscar Domínguez, who often incorporated such a can in his paintings. I strolled through Parque Hamilton, where people were walking their dogs.

In addition to Canarian palms, I saw a striking plant with a vertical stem and what looked like tiny yellow and orange bananas. The bees were loving it. I messaged Alfonso and he explained with his usual fervor. Pita závila was its name, and it was a kind of aloe vera. Like many aloes, it's used to heal the skin and in creams for other therapeutic purposes. In the past, it was used to treat chickens with respiratory problems.

I passed by a very empty farmer's market -- it's next open on Saturday -- and browsed a gourmet food market with beautifully presented hams, cheeses, pastries, and wines. I continued downhill and stopped for an early lunch at Bodegón Casa Pa.

I was the only diner; it wasn't much past eleven. The menu was on a chalkboard next to the kitchen. I ordered grilled cheese and pork with caramelized onions.

"And to drink?"

"Is there a wine list?"

"No. We have just one wine."

"OK, I'll have that one."

"A quartino?"

"Yes...red. Whose wine is it?

"It's my uncle's."

The wine came in what looked like a repurposed condiment bottle; they hadn't even gotten the label off completely.

The cheese arrived, three large triangles drizzled with a blue sauce.

"What is the sauce?"

"Miel y arándanos."

Honey and -- "Aran...?"


I hadn't learned the word for blueberries. Sure, they looked and tasted like blueberries, and perhaps I appeared new to the world for not having recognized them. But for all I knew they were a Canarian relative, with a completely different name, unique to that hill under Tacoronte. After all, there was something called a wreckfish. And possibly paraschlooping.

The pork was as wonderful as yesterday's; the blueberries and then the sweet onions gave the meal a sense of brunch, and it was the appropriate time of day.

I continued down, past more vineyards, and listened to the airing of "English Time" on Radio Sur Adeje. The first interview was with David Perez, the delegate head of Tenerife tourism. He was excited about the restart of direct flights between the United States and Tenerife after many years: United will fly from Newark to Tenerife's south airport and back twice a week starting in June.

My interview with Clio O'Flyn, roughly the second half of the show, seemed unedited from what I remembered of our conversation. I hadn't been positive, after our talk, whether it would air. We'd conducted the interview by phone, and I'd stayed on the line to see whether there would be any wrap-up conversation. All I'd heard was someone on the other end saying, "He's cute," and then the call had ended.

I wished we'd all gotten to talk together. Nonstop flights from Newark to Tenerife are a major improvement. They put Tenerife not much farther than Aruba. Sure, they're to the south airport -- I think the north is more interesting, with the mountains, the major wine regions, the string of coastal towns from Buenavista to El Sauzal, and the cities of La Laguna and Santa Cruz. But the island isn't that big, the bus service is excellent, and El Médano and Costa Adeje are fine places for some fun and sun in the south.

The program ended as I reached the junction with TF-13, which runs from La Laguna to Punta del Hidalgo. I followed it down to the latter, pausing briefly after Bajamar to admire the surfers far down below. The waves seemed tremendous and formed in tiers; the good surfers could ride them for more than 15 seconds.

Punta del Hidalgo is another fishing village, the end of the line as far as coastal road access is concerned. The Atlantis Park Resort was only about a third full, I judged from the number of keys remaining in the mailbox grid behind the reception desk. It had a pool (too cold for me to swim, but others took the plunge) and surprisingly well-appointed suites with kitchenettes, more like apartments.

This entire trip I've struggled with trying to finish each day's walk before sundown, but I completed today's short segment just before three. I had time for a short nap by the pool, a proper sundowner, and a walk along the beach before dinner. The meal was limpets and wreckfish at the fishermen's association -- what and where else?

Go on to day 11