Hi everyone, long time no post! I’m back from my short hiatus and plan on blogging loads more than I have before, as I have officially passed my final exams and am now gearing up to become a student at Amsterdam University College in September. But first, of course, I get to enjoy my summer break. Coincidentally, I have also just returned from a (sneaky post-exams, but pre-results) trip to Tenerife! Not only did we get to escape the gruesome weather, I also got to see mount Teide; the highest point in Spain and third-highest volcano of the world. So yep, I’d say Parque Nacional del Teide, named World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007, was the absolute highlight of our trip (cheesy pun intended). Such a shame I only got to visit the park once, unfortunately not every family member shares my interest in one of the most interesting geographical spots on this beautiful planet, *sigh*. Anyways, I’ll show you guys some photos I took and share a teeny bit of information about the Island and its nature…and stuff.
Yes, there it is: Pico el Teide! Mount Teide is a relatively active caldera volcano, its most recent eruption having occurred in 1909, and measures 7500 metres from its base on the ocean floor. Only Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii acceed Teide in height, which subsequently makes Tenerife itself the tenth highest island worldwide (now, see how creatively I reworded Wikipedia? Though I am aware of the actual definition of a caldera volcano, yes I’m not lying, I passed my geography exams). These first two shots provide quite an adequate representation of the landscape around Mount Teide, giving a glimpse of the dramatic rock formations that can be found in the national park, though you’d have to bear in mind the terrain of the whole area varies greatly from spiky and rocky aa-lava fields to flowy and smooth pahoehoe plains. Ok, I just really like saying those words, but I do know what I’m talking about!
I attempted to photograph the incredible variations of colour in sand in these two shots, ranging from an orangey yellow to light green, but I have to say these photos do not do the actual site justice. What’s interesting as well is the area on the right (of the second picture), where you can clearly discern a lava-like flux, as if it were still flowing down the slope (mount Teide can be spotted in the background as well).
The national park is home to many indigenous species of flora and fauna. The second photo is actually a close up of the peculiarly shaped vegetation on the left side of the first photo. These plants go by the name of Tajinaste Rojo (although presented to tourists as “the tower of jewels” or more commonly, the red bugloss). The plants were absolutely full of life with various types of insects, busying themselves with what they do best: pollinating and occasionally flying and bumping into each other.
This point is about as far (up high) as you could get by car. Visiting the actual crater involved applying for permits and whatnot, so we (not me) decided to leave it at that. I believe this was at about 2350 metres of altitude. If you looked out into the distance opposite of mount Teide, all we could see was a thick layer of fluffy clouds against a pure blue sky. It doesn’t get more idyllic than that.
There were plenty of lizards to be found in the park, most of them indigenous only to Tenerife, especially around the visitors centre, where tourists tend to leave a few crumbles here and there (yes I know I’m not supposed to feed them, it wasn’t on purpose! My cookie was just really crumbly and I tried to shoo them away, but those creatures would practically crawl onto your face to snatch a lunch). If you take a closer look at the first photo, you can actually see the lizard is in the process of shedding its skin. There were a lot of them crawling around with only half a tail like the third one, which I’m pretty sure has something to do with their defence mechanisms. The second one has subtle blue spots, but there were many more that were twice, thrice as blue (they just wouldn’t sit still), known as the Southern Tenerife Lizard.
And I shall end my post about Parque Nacional del Teide with a random (but, of course, uber-indigenous) flower featuring a lovely little insect buzzing round the fields and a photo of sedimentary layers that causes my geography senses to tingle uncontrollably. Look at it! Doesn’t it just rock your world? I’m just too funny.
*Thank you so much WordPress for featuring my post on Freshly Pressed!*