London to Tenerife in the Canary Islands

This morning we flew from London Gatwick to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Canaries are a part of Spain. They are located off the northwest coast of Africa. The latitude is similar to the latitude of Florida.

Gatwick Airport
Gomera Island in the Canary Islands

The airport in Tenerife is right next to the ocean. We rented a car and drove to the Parador Cañadas del Teide. The Parador is at an altitude of about 7000 feet on the side of the the Volcano Teide in the middle of Las Cañadas Del Teide National Park. We explored a bit and then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. We can see the volcano Teide from the window of our room.

Viewpoint on the road to Teide National Park
Teide Volcano
Enjoying our welcome drinks in the Parador bar.

The road from the airport to our Parador was very good but also very narrow and winding. We saw a lot of bicycles both going up and coming down the road.

Parador Cañadas del Teide.

The height of the Teide Volcano is more than 12,000 feet. It is the highest point in Spain. There is a cable car (teleferico) that would take us to within 500 meters of the top of Teide but it is very windy here today so the cable car is closed. I don’t think we’ll hike up!

Our room price includes dinner and breakfast. We celebrated our first dinner in Spain and first Parador of this trip with an excellent meal

Tuna and a salad
Date ice cream with raspberry sauce

Lerma to Madrid

It’s hard to believe but last nights blog post was my 1000th post on this blog!!

I forgot to mention yesterday that I anointed the Parador de Lerma since it was the last Parador of our trip. As I was walking into the lobby I dropped our food bag on the marble floor of the lobby. The bottle of wine in the bag broke and soon there was as a large pool of red wine in the middle of the lobby!

The Parador of Lerma was beautiful and we woke up there this morning to a beautiful view and a beautiful day.

We drove to Madrid, turned in our car, and checked into our hotel. Then we headed out to have a couple iconic Madrid experiences. We ate jamon and cheese at the Museo de Jamon restaurant near our hotel.

And we went to Chocolateria San Gines for churros and chocolate.

After a rest at the hotel we went out for tapas. The streets were packed with people.

We have had a wonderful time in Spain. It’s hard to believe that we leave tomorrow.

Gijon to Lerma

It is Friday and we are on our way back to Madrid and the end of the Spanish portion of our trip. We drove almost five hours today, our longest driving day of the trip.

About an hour and a half into our drive we stopped to see the Altamira Cave Museum. In the 1800’s prehistoric cave art was found here. Because of the damage caused to the art by too many visitors the actual Altamira Cave is closed and the museum allows you to visit a Information display with artifacts and a reproduction of the original Cave.

The paintings are much larger than I expected them to be. They are colorful, realistic and beautiful. They were obviously created by very talented artists.

Our Parador tonight is one of the best of the trip. It is built in a former ducal palace. Our room is in one of the towers.

The central lounge is where we had our welcome drinks and played cards.

In the center of the lounge is a big loom with a partly finished tapestry on it. On one side you can see the thirty or so spindles with different colored thread being worked. On the other side the rich picture is emerging.

Before dinner we went for a walk around Lerma.

We ate dinner in the Parador. This is my stuffed artichoke starter.

Duke’s duck.

My pineapple and lime desert.

Corias to Gijon

Thursday morning we drove into the town of Corias just south of our Parador. They have one very old bridge and one new pedestrian bridge that each caught our eyes for their beauty.

Then we drove to a bar/restaurant that we stopped at two years ago. It was such a friendly nice place that we wanted to stop again. It is in the little town of Oviñana.

After having coffee there we went out to the beach nearby.

Then out to the nearby Cabo Visio lighthouse.

We arrived in Gijon where we are staying at the Parador and went for a walk along the waterfront.

For dinner we went to the nearby restaurant, La Casa del Parque. We had a fabulous meal but I completely forget to take pictures of the food.

Vilalba to Ribadeo

This morning we drove straight from Vilalba to Ribadeo on the coast. We immediately went out for a walk and bought some bread to go with our lunch.

In the park people were playing bocce ball.

We walked along the shore and watched a ship come in.

This is the view from our room in the Parador. We have seen lots of Eucalyptus tree farms in Galacia. Apparently the fast growing trees are harvested for making paper.

While we had lunch on the balcony of one of our rooms we watched them load the ship.

Low tide today was at 8 pm. We planned our trip to Cathedral Rocks Beach for low tide so we could walk the beach among the giant rocks.

we had an excellent Parador dinner. My scallops starter was especially tasty.

For his main course Duke had salmon with an orange sauce.

For desert I had luscious pineapple cold cake.

Ferrol to Vilalba

Our first stop this morning was the grocery store because our picnic supplies were running low. We bought bread, meat, cheese and chocolate.

We did not buy this Special K but I’ve never seen it with chocolate before. I thought it was fun.

Not far down the road we went for a walk down the edge of a lagoon.

Then a bit farther along we stopped at an amazing white sand beach and it was deserted!

Roger went wading and said it was very cold.

One of the advantages of traveling with a marine biologist is that he can identify all the shells you find. From left to right – mussel, razor clam, cockle, limpet, limpet with a barnacle on it and a Venus clam.

At another beautiful beach we had a picnic lunch.

Finally we went to the lookout at the northernmost point in Spain. The wind was blowing hard. It felt like a gale.

Baiona to Ferrol

Today we moved from Baiona on the west coast of Spain just north of the Portugal border to Ferrol on the north coast.

Along our route we stopped at Santiago de Compostela to see the Cathedral and square at the end of the Camino de Santiago. On our travels we have seen lots of pilgrims with the iconic scallop shell on their packs.

The cathedral is undergoing renovations so the interior was pretty much covered up.

Our second stop was the Hercules Tower on the north coast in A Caruña. The Romans built several large lighthouses along the coasts of the Mediterranean and Atlantic. The Hercules Tower is the only one still in use. It was originally built in the first century. We climbed the narrow stone steps to the top to see the magnificent view.

Our destination today was Ferrol. Our Parader overlooks a Spanish Naval base. After we checked in we went to visit the Museum of Naval Construction.

This evening we played cards and then. wandered around the Parador gardens.

Monforte de Lemos to Baiona

The building on the hill is the Parador in Monforte de Lemos where we stayed Friday night.

Just down the road from Monforte we stopped to check out this pedestrian bridge over the Miño River in Ourense. It is s-shaped.

A bit down the road we saw this road bridge. The curving part is a pedestrian walkway. I think Ourense could be renamed the Bridge Town.

For a change today we didn’t drive backroads to get to our destination so we arrived in Baiona about one. It is a beautiful day so we walked around the fortress walls.

About half way through we went down into the town and had some lunch.

Duke and I shared some calamari and Gayle and Roger shared scrambled eggs with shrimp and baby eels. Both dishes were absolutely wonderful.

When we got back to the hotel we played cards overlooking the Atlantic.

Parador de Santo Estevo to Monforte de Lemos

I think the orange juice machines in Spain are cool. This is the one in our Parador this morning. There is nothing like fresh squeezed orange juice.

The Monastery of Santo Estevo Parador where we stayed Thursday night has numbered panels on the walls that allow you to take a self guided tour. So that is what we did after breakfast.

We also took a walk through the gardens behind the monastery.

Around noon we left the Santo Estevo Parador and took the back roads to our Friday night stop the Parador de Monforte de Lemos which is situated in the former Monastery of San Vicente del Pino. For much of the drive the views of the Sil River Canyon were expansive and beautiful.

We stopped at the ruin of the Monastery Santa Cristina.

We had a picnic lunch by the bridge where our route crossed the Sil River.

As we climbed out of the river canyon we passed terraced wine grape vines that seemed impossibly steep.

Of course we had to stop at the Duke lookout. Even though it was under construction the view was still good.

For dinner Duke had octopus I had chicken cannelloni.

Villafranca del Bierzo to Parador de Santo Estevo

Our first stop this morning was the lookout over Las Médulas. Las Médulas was the largest hydraulic gold mine in the Roman Empire. The miners dug extensive tunnels and long canals to funnel water into the tunnels and wash away the gold bearing ground. This hydraulic mining washed away a massive amount of the mountain. You can see what was left of the mountain they mined in the terrain we saw from the lookout.Above you can see the outlet of one of the tunnel complexes. This tunnel is now called Galerias de Orelián. We went down into it until we came to the outlet in the picture above.When we came out of the tunnel we drove down into the valley to the museum. They had an excellent video that helped me to appreciate how much earth was moved by this massive mining operation almost 2000 years ago. There was also a model that showed the terrain left by the mines.We took the back roads to where we are staying tonight. Along the way we stopped at a gas station and bought fresh bread for our picnic lunch.After the picnic it started raining. The route to the Parador was green and lush. .The Parador de Santo Estevo where we are staying is in an old monastery. The rooms are big and beautiful with great views. They are situated around the cloisters.

The dining room where we are dinner is in the old stables.