Our family visited Tenerife over Christmas, and had a wonderful time. We had been looking forward to the trip for four reasons – the sunny beaches, the opportunity to relax, Siam Park (which has to be one of the best waterparks anywhere) and Mount Teide, which is supposed to have phenomenal views and is a world-famous national park.
We worked out that we should be able to fit all of these in, but sometimes things don’t go to plan….
Our trip to Mount Teide was to be a guided tour, which seemed sensible as we had never been to Tenerife before and had heard that the drive itself to the summit was special. If someone else was driving, then we could all enjoy it and mum and dad wouldn’t have to worry about navigating!
We found out a little bit about the mountain beforehand and packed all our winter clothes as it sometimes snows at the top. What happened next was unexpected.
We drove to our meeting point where we spent over twenty minutes waiting for our very late coach to show up (no apology was given) before spending over an hour driving in circles to collect the rest of the group. We later discovered that others had been waiting outside for well over an hour and when the coach finally arrived, they couldn’t believe that everyone got off for a toilet break!
Being as British as we are, we were not too impressed when the lady running the trip did not apologise for being late, and instead shouted at us for talking while she was explaining what was happening in French. Everyone was talking quietly, and we all found this very rude and off- putting. Mum said she had never been told off on a coach trip before.
But that was only the start. Our guide then told us the trip, billed as a half-day outing of between three to five hours, was actually far longer than that. She casually dropped into the conversation that we would be unlikely to return for around six hours, and we could see that some of our fellow travellers were concerned. Many had already booked activities for the afternoon.
Our trip certainly wasn’t going brilliantly, but we were pleased with our guide’s local knowledge and the information she gave us (did you know Winston Churchill used to holiday in Tenerife?). We were also excited when she told us that we were going to stop at Vilaflor, the highest village in Tenerife, so that we could adjust to the higher altitude and changed air pressure. It sounded gorgeous and also necessary, as she said if we didn’t stop, we would get terrible headaches when we reached our final destination. Mount Teide is over 3,700 metres high.
Things were looking up, but not for much longer. Just as we reached a busy junction, the coach broke down. We weren’t given much information, but eventually we worked out that it would be better if we all got off. A replacement coach was called and we were told that it would arrive in half an hour, but this wasn’t the case. We kept waiting. Eventually, our tour guide told us that when the coach arrived, we would skip Vilaflor and just take the coach to the top of Teide without stopping.
“Won’t we get headaches then?” we asked.
“Yes, but only small ones; it doesn’t matter.” she responded.
By this point, most of other fellow travellers had already departed, and were waiting for a bus back to their hotels. After some more waiting, we decided that we didn’t want to visit the top if we were to get headaches and have a bad-mannered tour guide accompanying us the whole time, so we decided to leave.
“What’s the point of doing the trip now?” she exclaimed, when we told her we were leaving. I think she might need to work on her manners….
We had pretty much no idea where we were, but luckily, the bus that we got on went directly to the area where we had left our car and met the coach originally. We felt a bit overdressed as we walked back to the car (I probably didn’t need to be wearing thermal socks, but I had been expecting snow!) put our warm clothes away and went to the beach. It was a strange day all round.
Mind you, the beach we visited, (the Playa del Bobo) was the best one we visited in the whole holiday, and we really loved running into the waves and eating delicious ice cream. It was definitely a warmer, and perhaps better, day than it would have been if we continued up Teide! But unfortunately we didn’t have time to find out…..
Read about our visit to Siam Park in Tenerife
Do you like winter sun? Read about our trip to Negril in Jamaica