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Gallery 8: The Canaries, Spain 2016

Lambert the Black and White Cat

In 2016 Elizabeth and I were living in Madrid and made use of the wonderfully cheap flights to the Canary Islands on two occasions in the April and June. Despite not having visited there recently (a family holiday when I was a child), we had already decided we wanted to live there at some point in the future due to their ticking of so many boxes in yet another of our spreadsheets. (Spreadsheets for everything! We assume all the young and 'hip' kidz on the block also spend their free time Excelling.) So after deciding that, we thought, 'Might as well see where we are going to live...'

One of these ticked boxes is temperature - the Canaries are called the Land of Eternal Spring. The year-round temperatures range from 18C (65F) to 25C (76F) daily mean for most of these islands, which is almost perfect for us. Some people say that one can get bored of sun everyday but we don't think we fall in that category! After several months in India at 30C everyday, we are a long way off missing rain or cold. It's nice to not have to plan or consider the weather - it's just always 'nice out'. The Canaries are just 110km (70 miles) from Morocco (or Western Sahara depending on your political affiliations regarding post-colonial disputes).

Another thing going for Tenerife in particular (our favourite of the two islands we visited) are the dramatic changes in height and therefore climate throughout the island. They say it's a continent on an island with the volcano named Teide the ever-present and always visible central lighthouse, towering at 3700m (12000ft). At certain altitudes in the north this brings both cooler air and also rain due to its capturing of clouds that arrive from that direction. The south is very dry due to the subsequent rain shadow effect and so is the centre of tourism. This means there are parts of the north that are laurel forests, and so in a couple hours you can go from hot beach surrounded by literal desert to these subtropical sylvan oases of high humidity. The Canaries grow a lot of produce for the same reason: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cochineal (to make the dye Carmine), sugarcane, grapes, vines, dates, oranges, lemons, figs, wheat, barley, maize, apricots, peaches and almonds (thank you Wikipedia). And endless bananas.

Of course, there are the tourists - about 10 million of them each year just to these two islands! The local populations are not even 1 million on each island. Happily though, especially given how small these islands are, the majority of tourists keep to the south on both islands where is it hottest. Hopefully this will remain true when we move there. These areas are not as nice as the businesses there are making so much money without effort that they do not pay to keep up their appearances.

Our trips were not just to relax, the purpose was research: where would we move? So we circled both islands completely and visited most of the towns. It took a few hours due to the vermiculated nature of the roads passing through huge plantations of tobacco and banana and around hundreds of headlands of various heights. All in all, we found many peaceful slopes we'd be happy to live on including in the capital of Tenerife. Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a beautiful city that looks as if it's just been created with its wide tree-lined streets and fresh Vantablack-like tarmac. At Easter (tourist season) when we visited it was quiet and peaceful but we don't know if that is normal. Maybe it was Madrid vs Barcelona or something, we'd need to check with our football-mad nephews in New York.

The sun, sand, Spanish food, Spanish culture, relaxed pace of life, prices (compared to London anyway), and friendliness, all make this one of our absolute favourite places in the world. Madrid where we were before? Yes except for the weather - Madrid gets cold in the winter and not just 'our' cold, it actually gets as cold as London but just for less time. Plus there are all the other islands we have not yet visited.

Suffice to say, after these two visits we were convinced. What can go wrong with living on the third largest volcano in the world?

P.S. At least it's not La Palma, another one of the Canaries. As whenever this active volcano next erupts the western half of the mountian might fall off, sending 1.5 trillion tonnes of rock into the Atlantic creating a megatsunami 1000m (3300ft) high, so enormous it would still be at 50m high moving at 1050km/h (650mph) when it hits New York. So there's that.

To view the photographs, please click the photo, the title, here or visit the Galleries page at



P.S. For any photography enthusiasts or professionals reading: I use a Panasonic G5 (micro four-thirds), and mostly used a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens from 2013-2017 (full frame equivalent 28-84mm). In early 2017, I replaced it with the much faster 20mm f1.7 II prime allowing the capture of much more light, as well as an increase in saturation, a reduction in size and a significant boost in sharpness. This is the full-frame equivalent to a 40mm f1.7 so is a 'normal' lens in the traditional sense. I also use a telescopic 45-200mm f4-5.6, it has great reach given the full-frame equivalent of 90-400mm.

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