Silver Travel Advisor Alan Fairfax writes his Blog from the deck of Fred Olsen’s Braemar on his Canary Islands cruise in March 2013.
Overslept. The ship was in port overnight so everything was smooth. Couple this with an extremely comfortable bed and you have a recipe for oversleeping. Hoping to up at 6.30am for an early breakfast, in reality turned out to be awake at 7.30am. Cabin kettle boiled for a quick cup of coffee prior to meeting the group in Neptune Lounge at 8.25am ready to go on a tour. As it turned out I was the first to arrive. At 8.45am we boarded the coach with our guide Isobel for a tour of the Islands National Forest and the Pyramids of Guimar.
Leaving the port we joined the rush hour traffic of Santa Cruz as we wound our way through streets and boulevards and headed west. Once we had cleared the town the high-rise apartments were left behind and replaced by smart villas. It was very noticeable that we were constantly driving uphill. Soon we were into the rural countryside and the scenery started to change from countryside to woods. The road began to wind and became much narrower. The trees changed from Palms to Pines and looking through these you realised how high we had climbed. Finally we turned from the main road onto a rough surface that became even narrower as it wound through the forest. Several minutes later we emerged from the trees onto a viewing area and the sight was breathtaking. Our guide informed us we were now at 1,600 metres (approx 5,000 feet). To my left was the snow capped peak of Mount Teide, to my right were pine trees enveloped in mist but in front of me was a view the like of which I had never seen before. Here I was in the warm Spring air looking out across the Island to the deep blue sea miles away with villages spread out before me like little dots. It was the view you have from an aeroplane but here I was experiencing it from the open warm air scented with pine. The look of awe and wonder on the faces of my fellow passengers said it all.
It was then back into the coach for our next destination which was the Pyramids of Guimar. Our journey took us again through the forest but after a while we turned south as we passed through a cloud layer and descended to a lower level. Here the pines had gone and were replaced by a carpet of flowers. The Californian Poppy with its orange and yellow flowers contrasting with the purple and white of shrubs that were coming into blossom. 30 minutes later we were at our destination, The Pyramids. These are unlike the Egyptian Pyramids with the flat sides but are similar to those found in Mexico where the sides are a series of steps. On one side of the site is a museum that traces the history of the people. There are models and pictures which make for an interesting day out. The highlight for me however was the ‘Secret Garden’. It is within this area that you can see many beautiful flowers and plants not only to discover how toxic they can be but also how some can be used in medicines. This was a real eye- opener.
Soon we were back on the coach heading for the ship where lunch awaited and a little relaxation on a sun lounger.
That evening we visited the Neptune show lounge where Adam Heppenstall, a magician who kept the audience guessing with his tricks which were interspaced with humour. And so once again it was time to return to that comfy bed and the chocolate that Tanya my cabin stewardess leaves on my pillow each evening.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines