I might have the nickname of ‘Mr Tenerife’, but how exactly did I acquire that quite interesting title!
It dates back to when I was eight in the early nineties. I went to a primary school where only one in our whole class of thirty went abroad on their holiday. As a family we would often go to Bournemouth, or another coastal town in Dorset or Devon. Lovely as they are, they are just not as exciting sounding as flying somewhere on an aeroplane.
That one person who travelled abroad happened to be a friend, and used to go on holiday in an unusual sounding place called Tenerife. Her grandparents owned an apartment there, so it was easy to go there during the summer holidays. A couple of years later, they asked us if we wanted to go there as well, and at the rates offered were cheaper than going on holiday in the UK!
This was 1994, before the days of the infamous ‘low cost airlines’ and the market was dominated by the big national carriers and the charter airlines. As it was quite a last minute decision we went had the worst flight times imaginable – a midnight departure from Luton, arriving into Tenerife at 4am! For those who may (or may not) be interested it was with an airline called Oasis International, and the inflight movie was Mrs Doubtfire!
I can remember it vividly arriving at Tenerife South airport, the terminal at the time being renovated so had no air conditioning in the middle of a heatwave. It got no easier trying to find the apartment in the middle of night, after having no sleep. Still, it was exciting being somewhere new.
Los Cristianos as a resort is fine. It doesn’t really have a proper beach, but it is a working town with proper shops such as a greengrocers, bakery and butchers for fresh produce. It is also the place where you can get the ferry to both La Gomera and La Palma, two of the smaller Canary Islands, both very popular with those who like walking. There are a couple of nice hotels, most notably the Arona Gran, of which I have stayed there many times now.
We wouldn’t then return until 2002. By then I had moved to Bridgewater School and my friends grandparents had sold the apartment. On a private complex we then had to contact the rental agency on the complex, and upgraded to a two bedroom (although I still had to sleep on the sofa as my sister’s friend joined us).
Over the years, of course things change, but despite the area growing dramatically the same familiar people are there. We go to the same restaurant we first went to 26 years ago, the same supermarket and the bakery. It feels like a second home. Julio took over the restaurant from his dad Enrique, but it hasn’t changed a bit, and I always get a great welcome when I arrive!
I have been going back on and off over the last few years, mainly staying at the Arona Gran Hotel just down the road, which is actually quite a nice hotel. It has fantastic views over the harbour, especially good for seeing the ferry arrive at breakfast time. It was then a couple of years ago when my mum was ill and then retired, that I said we would go back to those original apartments we went to 26 years ago. It has now become an annual treat – a nice break away before Christmas.