After spending a fun day at Loro Parque, Carl and I packed our bags and traveled by bus to Sta. Cruz, situated on the northeast quadrant of the volcanic island. We planned to stay there for a few days, during which we would spend time with his mother and stepfather and celebrate his birthday. It took us about a couple of hours to travel from Los Gigantes to the capital city by bus, with a transfer at Los Cristianos. Once there, we checked in at Hotel NH Tenerife, which I found to seem more like a bachelor’s pad. I liked it though, but Carl preferred the apartment in Los Gigantes. Probably because of the hotel’s weird see through bathroom glasses. 😉
It seems to me that the Kingdom of Spain didn’t really have much time to think about what names they’d give the places they discovered during the era of expeditions and conquests. In Tenerife alone are the names of the places in my hometown in PH repeatedly given to the capital city and other places of historical value. In PH, you’d find the province of Laguna with its capital city, Sta. Cruz. In Tenerife, Sta. Cruz is the capital of the island and within it is the ancient town of La Laguna, now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With lots of time to spare, here are the things we saw and did in Sta. Cruz de Tenerife:
- Church of the Immaculate Conception (Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion). This Catholic Church of baroque and Tuscan architectural style is the only five-naved church in the Canarian Islands.
To be honest, it was refreshing to see the interior of the church. It’s super fancy, like the Catholic churches in the Philippines. We, then, headed towards the harbor, where we saw some oil rigs and tankers. I’ve read than many Canarians were against the drilling in the islands, but what can they do?
- Avenida la Constitucion. This street leads to one of the famous landmarks of the city, the auditorium. This is also where you can catch a nice panorama of the harbor.
- Auditorio de Tenerife “Adan Martin”. This beautiful auditorium is the main reason why the city earned the nickname “Sydney of the Atlantic”. The charm of the structure is said to be comparable to that of the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
- Mercado Municipal Nuestra Senora de Africa La Recova. This marketplace in the middle of the city offers an authentic experience of Spanish wet market and side-walk eateries, pretty much like typical carinderias in the Philippines. At these small sidewalk restaurants, the local meet to enjoy meals and socialize. But even if the eateries are small-scale, the owners take it to heart to satisfy the customers hunger. Just have a look at the fantastic and healthy meal Carl and I shared while in Sta. Cruz. There’s also a huge flea market at this place during weekends!
- Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre (Museum of Nature and Man). After the delicious lunch, we headed towards what is considered the most important museum of Macaronesia. The museum consists of the Archaeological Museum of Tenerife, the Bioantropología’s Canary Institute and the Museum of Natural Sciences of Tenerife. So, if you are interested in pre-Hispanic Canary Islands, then, this museum is the place to be. The only thing we were quite displeased about was that all the information was in Spanish. So, make use of your other senses. 😛
- Castillo de San Cristóbal. Another interesting sight to visit in the capital city is the underground remains of the Castle of San Cristobal. A few walls and cannons were on display in a tunnel under Plaza de Espana. The castle was the main defensive building and the first fortification of significance on the island, dating as early as the 1500s.
- Plaza de España. This plaza is the biggest square on the island of Tenerife and the whole Canary Islands. I guess, the most eye-catching feature of the square is the artificial lake designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. There’s also the huge Monumento a los Caídos which serves as a tribute to the heroes of the Spanish Civil War in the early 1900s.
There you have it! I had a fun time in the capital city, even though we had a challenging time finding a restaurant that speaks our language and cafes to have breakfast at. Only McDonalds was open early, so we went there during our stay in Sta. Cruz. 😛 Well, I think McDonalds is different in each city, so it was also nice to experience the famous fast food chain there.
Up next: Taking a stroll at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of La Laguna with Carl, his mom and stepdad, and the rest of our romantic stay in Tenerife! Cheers! #spreadlove